Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  7 July 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 398 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 5 critic

Disguised as a German archaeologist, Moto helps unearth the priceless crown of the legendary Queen of Sheba and sans disguise defends it from a variety of thugs and criminals.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Hendrik Manderson
Professor Roger Chauncey Hildebrand
Virginia Field ...
Eleanore Kirke
Howard Stevens (as John King)
Iva Stewart ...
Susan French
G.P. Huntley ...
Archie Featherstone (as George P. Huntley Jr.)
Victor Varconi ...
Paul Borodoff
John Bleifer ...
Honorable Wu ...
Morgan Wallace ...
David Perez
Joe Rubla
Harry Strang ...
O'Hara, Museum Guard
John Davidson ...
Prince Suleid


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 July 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Férias de Mr. Moto  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Previewed in Hollywood on 10 November 1938, to negative reviews, and not released until July 1939. See more »


When Moto and Featherstone return to the jeweler's and notice the bullet hole from earlier, the size of the hole has trebled in diameter. See more »


Archibald Featherstone: [after blowing Moto's cover] I'm frightfully sorry. Say, I did let the cat out of the bag, didn't I?
Mr. Moto: Yes, even the poor animal's tail.
See more »


Follows Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

If Archibald Featherstone had been killed in the first five minutes, this could have been a good film
23 April 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Between 1937 and 1939, Twentieth Century-Fox made a ton of Mr. Moto films. However, towards the end of the series, it was obvious that the studio had "jumped the shark", so to speak. This phrase indicates that a TV show has passed its prime and the executives in charge decided to invigorate the show by fundamentally changing the formula. For example, with "The Brady Bunch" they introduced the annoying 'Cousin Oliver' and with "Family Ties" they introduced a freak baby who grew up six years in only one season! With the Moto films, they'd jumped the shark by introducing comic relief because they thought that these intelligent films needed to be re-tooled. In the previous film, Warren Hymer played an annoying wrestler. And, in this film the character Archibald Featherstone appears. Featherstone might just be one of the most annoying examples of comic relief ever, as you kept hoping someone (preferably Moto) would kill him just to shut him up!! Although he's supposed to work for the famed Scotland Yard, he shows all the intelligence and acumen of a brain damaged turnip. Again and again, his scenes were boorish and unnecessary and Peter Lorre just looks pained as he stands there and watches this buffoon "act". It's so bad that it truly destroys what COULD have been one of the better Moto films due to its clever plot.

As for the plot, the crown of the Queen of Sheba is discovered in the opening scene. Moto, now more of an international policeman than the amoral character he originally was, is on hand to protect the precious item from being stolen. In a great twist, several thieves all try to steal the crown independently of each other.

Overall, the film is watchable but is also ample evidence that the Moto series should have ended here. With WWII approaching, the films couldn't have survived much longer anyway, as having a sympathetic Japanese leading character simply wouldn't have been accepted in the US or in allied countries.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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