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Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 385 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)

Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938) on IMDb 7/10

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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 »


Followed by Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Mr. Moto: Another Likable Asian Crime Hero
11 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was my first look ever at Peter Lorre's "Mr. Moto" character, and I couldn't help but compare and contrast him to the famous "Charlie Chan" of a similar period. "Mr. Moto" is charming but isn't the comedian or the proverb-quoting Chan. I would have to watch a few more Moto movies before I could really compare the two fairly, as for quality and entertainment value, but what I saw in this film impressed me. My guess is that both of them are winners. I'm anxious to watch another Mr. Motor adventure, after seeing this.

I think both characters did a lot - or at least I hope they did - to put Asians in a favorable light. Hey, Chan and Moto are the heroes in their movies, and the smart and courageous guys who solve the murders. These series had to be a boost to the Asian-American community.

In this story, Moto pretends to be a fugitive from Devil's Island, one of two escapees who wind up in London. That was the idea all along for Our Man as he hoped his fellow man-of- flight, "Paul Brissac" would lead to him to bigger fish in the criminal world, specifically "The League of Assassins."

Just when I thought this film was starting to get a tiny bit slow, it picked up nicely and had very good last 20-some minutes with a suspenseful ending. The actions were hokey but so what? The film is 70 years old so I don't expect state-of-the-art special-effects. In spots, it was so corny it made it fun. I was shocked how physical little Mr. Moto was, throwing bodies around like a WWF bruiser!

Two quality actors, in addition to Lorre, had key roles in here: Leon Ames ("Brissac") and Henry Wilcoxon ("Darvak"). There's some good direction in here, too, by Norman Foster, who not only directed some Mr. Moto films, but a few Charlie Chan movies, too. He also married Claudette Colbert.

In addition, the restoration job on the DVD transfer makes this a good-looking film.

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