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Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 386 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 2 critic

Mr. Moto has himself imprisoned on Devil's Island so he can help his cellmate (Ames) escape and thereby get the goods on a gang of international killers.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)

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Complete credited cast:
Mary Maguire ...
Ann Richman
Anton Darvak
Erik Rhodes ...
David Scott-Frensham
Harold Huber ...
Ernst Litmar
Paul Brissac
Forrester Harvey ...
George Higgins
Frederick Vogeding ...
Gottfried Brujo (as Fredrik Vogeding)
Lester Matthews ...
Sir Charles Murchison
John Rogers ...
Lotus Long ...
Lotus Liu (as Karen Sorrell)
Mitchell Lewis ...


Mr. Moto has himself imprisoned on Devil's Island so he can help his cellmate (Ames) escape and thereby get the goods on a gang of international killers. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Peter Lorre gives you your greatest thrill


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 October 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mysterious Mr. Moto  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Fifth of Fox's 8 MOTO features that starred Peter Lorre. See more »


Spoofed in Porky's Movie Mystery (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Quite enjoyable, and far less offensive than one might expect
7 July 2013 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Of all the yellowface performances I've ever seen from classic Hollywood, Peter Lorre's Mr. Moto strikes me as the least offensive. The only times the character comes off as too stereotypical are when Mr. Moto is trying to trick dumb white people into thinking he's an ignorant heathen. Most of the time he's exceedingly intelligent, a Japanese Sherlock Holmes. He even has a couple of action sequences (apparently the audiences at the time ate up the Judo stuff). Lorre's just great in the role. The rest of the cast here is fine, too (the most recognizable actors are Henry Wilcoxon and Erik Rhodes). The Asian detective character was extremely popular at the time, the most famous of them being Charlie Chan (there's also Boris Karloff's Mr. Wong). I'm planning to take in a Charlie Chan and Mr. Wong film (n.b. I did end up watching Mr. Wong, Detective afterward, and it was pretty good, too) just for comparison. I also plan on watching all the other Mr. Moto films available to me. I love Lorre and very much enjoyed this film.

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