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 »
Keep an eye on the scenes involving Moto's second trip into the swamp in the latter half of the film. The lower half of Mr. Moto's pants are alternately muddy and clean in scenes that take place at the villains' camp. See more »
You can obtain the confidence of criminals when one is branded a criminal.
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This is a murder mystery, with Mr. Moto, for those of you who don't know, as the crafty man investigating the case. Like Charlie Chan, he's a private investigator.
Peter Lorre had a "cool" charisma about him, much like Basil Rathbone, Humphrey Bogart, and others who played such roles.
Films like this either take one or a combination of two of the following: 1. Mystery with clues that the audience can use. 2. Mystery with atmosphere and humor 3. Mystery with a twist.
Just about none have all three. One may cite "Chinatown" as a possibility, but the atmosphere isn't what I would call strong in that one. Atmosphere and humor come either without twists or without clues.
This film uses the first two elements. It would be far fetched to say there is a twist. There is an abundance of atmosphere and humor, and many clues.
We know very soon who the killer is. At first it isn't easy, because all of the suspects look alike, middle aged white men with mustaches, but once we tell them apart, and once the atmosphere is established, we do know which one it is.
That doesn't take away from the adventure, though. Lots of good elements make this an enjoyable film.
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