Sinister forces are behind the blowing up of oil wells in an attempt to gain control of key oil fields. Moto is assigned by British-based Beta Oil Corporation and the Foreign Office to discover who is conspiring to control the oil leases of the petroleum-rich emirate of Wadi Shammar. After an attempt on his life fails, Moto goes undercover disguised as a Japanese businessman and discovers a plot against the life of the Shahrdar of Wadi Shammar. Moto is aided in his efforts by beautiful Beta Oil secretary Maxine Powell and Police Inspector Jim Halliday. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'm not one of the reviewers who apparently lined up to bash this movie; I think that 20th Century-Fox guaranteed it a hostile reception by inviting comparison with the fondly-remembered Peter Lorre series of thirty years before. On its own it's a efficiently-produced crime thriller that moves along briskly and offers some genuine surprises and suspense to open-minded viewers. It's been suggested by some (including Henry Silva himself, in the DVD's audio commentary) that Silva is physically unsuited to play an oriental, but the same could be said of the Hungarian Peter Lorre in the earlier series, or the Swedish Warner Oland who became the definitive Charlie Chan. And it's worth mentioning that Henry Silva has convincingly played characters of various nationality over the years.
A beautiful letterboxed transfer of this film can be found as an extra on the final disc of the Peter Lorre/Moto DVD series; I found it well worth seeing for its entertainment value as well as Henry Silva's fascinating audio commentary.
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