Puerto Rico has become the back door by which a criminal syndicate smuggles inexpensive contraband diamonds from South America into the United States, dramatically driving down the price of legitimate gems. After they have ruthlessly murdered a special investigator, Moto is assigned to the case. While sailing to the island he impresses Twister McGurk, a slow-witted but amiable wrestler, with his martial arts abilities and gains a loyal friend and bodyguard. When an attempt on his life fails and another government official is murdered, Moto sends authorities a fake telegram identifying himself as a criminal named Shimura and making him and the Twister wanted fugitives. That ploy allows them to infiltrate the gang and expose the criminal mastermind behind it. Written by
Last of Fox's eight "Mr. Moto" features starring Peter Lorre, but actually the seventh to be released (though completed two months earlier, Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939) was issued last). This was also the second "Mr. Moto" entry (after Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938)) that was originally written as a "Charlie CHan" script (and both entries were the only ones not directed by Norman Foster). The character returned only once, in a low-budget, black-and-white second feature produced in England, The Return of Mr. Moto (1965), starring Henry Silva. See more »
Mr. Moto and Twister obtain a mud sample from the swamp and place it on a canvas bag laid out on the deck of the boat. But when they have to pull away in a hurry under gunfire, the canvas is there, but the mud is gone. See more »
[noticing the intercom is switched on]
Is this a private conversation or are we broadcasting?
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Peter Lorre's Mr Moto tackles a gang of diamond smugglers.
In the long line of 'politically incorrect' Hollywood racial casting, Hungarian born Peter Lorre's Mr Moto is probably the least in need of historical/cultural apologies to facilitate our enjoyment of the eight dandy pics he made as the polite, but not quite knowable Japanese detective. Most were smartly directed by ex-actor Norman Foster, but this late entry was helmed by 'routinier' Herbert Leeds who brings a good deal less to the party. Still, even when playing more closely within the conventions of drawing room detective yarns (and with too much forced dimwit comic relief), Lorre manages to elevate the slim story about diamond smuggling in the tropics into something entertaining and a bit perverse, with nice support from Jean Hersholt, Leon Ames, Paul Harvey & Douglas Dumbrille all in spiffy white suits.
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