A young and handsome archaeologist discovers the crown of the Queen of Sheba, and returns with it to a San Francisco museum where it is put on display. Its safety is in doubt as many criminals want the crown -- an international pair of criminals, a San Francisco gangster and his cohorts, and a super criminal known as Metaxa. Mr. Moto is forced to postpone his vacation while he deals with the threat. Written by
It's hard to dislike a Mr Moto film, not only because of the stylishness with which they were all made but because, of course, Peter Lorre is so ingratiating in a role tailor-made for him. He is just excellent in the part and it is a pity there were only eight entries in this charming series. As for MR MOTO TAKES A VACATION, I can recommend it quite highly.
Like others I will offer the one caveat: the rather irritating "comic relief" character. Hollywood had such marvelous actors available to play the typical "silly-ass" Englishman that it is a wonder why they allowed this gentleman to take the role and to overplay it so gratingly. The writing here could have been tightened up a bit, and the reliable Norman Foster could have toned him down a few pegs.
But much of this is balanced by other delights in the film, starting with dear, old Willie Best in a wonderfully funny (and beautifully directed) cameo. Bob Hope called Best one of the best actors he'd ever worked with. It's easy to see why here. He is as lovable as everyone's favorite bumbling Uncle, a sort of compendium of both Laurel and Hardy. Also distinguishing its interesting cast is the great Joesph Schildkraut, an actor incapable of giving a bad performance. He was one of the masters of his profession.
Charming, fun, and magnificently photographed in rich, lustrous black and white, I really don't think you could go wrong with this one.
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