Mr Moto competes with a gang of ruthless treasure-hunters for possession of seven scrolls which, when brought together, form a map which reveals the location of the tomb of Genghis Khan, reputed to contain fabulous treasure. Moto already has one scroll, but the rest are owned by Prince Chung and his mother, who consider it a sacred duty to their ancestors to protect the scrolls and the secret of the Khan's tomb.Written by
Daniel Frankham <danielf@my-Deja.com>
The McGuffin in John Marquand's original novel was stolen Chinese art treasures, but that was changed in the film adaptation to seven scrolls which, when combined, would lead to the location of Genghis Khan's hidden tomb and treasure. See more »
Treasure maps have always intrigued viewers. I remember seeing a lot of television shows when I was a kid where a hidden treasure was buried somewhere and people fought for the maps to find the treasure. The stories have run the gamut from Superman episodes to the big screen with "Long John Silver" and "Indiana Jones." Usually the stories are fun, and suspenseful.
In this second-of-eight "Mr. Moto" movies, the treasure lies in the tomb of Madeline....er, Ghengis Kahn. I won't divulge too much of the story because what happens right at the beginning isn't fully revealed until the end but it ties the whole thing together.
This is my second look at this series and one thing I really get a kick out of is the vocabulary of Mr. Moto, played by the great Peter Lorre. He has a great way with the English language and he's fun to hear. He doesn't crack jokes like Charlie Chan, but he's very well-spoken and very polite like his counterpart. He's also very physical when he needs to be. Unlike Charlie, Mr. Moto will stab you to death if need be, as he does several times in this film! Shocking! He also likes to literally jump through the air and attack his adversaries. Cool! This guy would be embraced by the WWF, if that wrestling federation had been around in the 1930s.
There are plenty of surprises, so I'll leave it just at that. Fans of the series should enjoy the "Oriental intrigue" in here. I only wish - not for PC reasons but for credibility - they had Asian actors playing the roles. I actually laughed when I saw John Carradine playing an Asian! There is one "real one" in here: Philip Ahn as 'Prince Chung." Actually, he was Korean-American. Speaking of roles, Jayne Regan as "Eleanor Joyce" was a bit intriguing in the female. She had a nice wholesome, pretty look to her and
Another interesting real-life story is Pauline Frederick who played "Madame Chung." A proper Bostonian, she looked anything but Asian but the sad story with this actress is that this was her last movie. She died at the young age of 55 the following year, of asthma.
These Mr. Moto movies always have a lot of interesting facets to them, and have a good combination of intelligent and sometimes witty dialog (i.e. "Well, there's nothing like a murder to ruin a perfectly good evening,") along with an ample supply of action and intrigue.
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