The Japanese character, Mr. Moto, disguises himself as a German as part of the plot when in fact a Germanic (actually Austro-Hungarian) actor, Peter Lorre, is portraying a Japanese detective. See more »
This series was a competitor to the more long-running Charlie Chan stories. The differences are striking.
Chan seems to never know what is going on until the end, when he has sussed out an amazingly complex set of circumstances. Our job during the movie is simply to collect facts that will only mean something when the final story is told. During this task we are given a few jokes. Chan's job is precisely the same as ours and we are always with him when he discovers something. He's just smarter, the product of a more clever race.
Moto knows ahead of time much of what's going on. The stories aren't detective stories; they're adventure stories. Moto isn't a passive, simple observer on the viewer's side of the stage, but a participant, an actor who plays a role in disguise. He fights. He thwarts the bad guys. In his normal persona, he's much more poised, more genteel. More schooled. Its the superiority of the man, not the race.
These each are sides of Sherlock Holmes in the two variants of stories. Interesting to see how they were bifurcated during this period. They'd stay separated until now, each developing into its own genre.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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