Mr. Moto poses as both an innocuous archaeologist and aged Buddhist mystic in French-ruled Cambodia in order to foil two anti-government revolutionary plots, one by fanatical holy man Bokor, who wants to overthrow the local leader, the self-indulgent Rajah Ali, and Ali himself, who wants to lead an insurgency against French colonial rule. Moto is aided by Vicki Mason, a daring Amelia Earhart-type aviatrix, who doubles as an international agent, and manages to rescue two bumbling newsreel photographers, Chick Davis and Marty Weston, the latter of whom seems to be attracted to the stunningly beautiful Miss Mason.Written by
For the 4th Fox Moto the script took a nosedive and crashed like Rochell Hudson's plane did at the beginning. You could tell it was going to be a bumpy ride as she was flying over Angkor Wat and awe-struck by its beauty for a full half second. The overall intelligent production and sinister atmosphere generated by the sets more than make up for it though and keep me coming back.
"Grave-digger" Moto played beautifully superciliously by Peter Lorre is trying to discover and stop a plot to overthrow a Cambodian Rajah (?) played by mincing and wincing J. Edward Bromberg. Two grade A American newsreel cameramen get in the way, one falling for Hudson the other supplying the comedy. It takes a long time coming but the 2 Yanks escape an execution, Moto gets to show his incredible disguising (!) and energetic jujitsu skills off, and Hudson nearly got raped too (well, what was that about with the pervy High Priest if not?!) The High Priest/Temple scenes reminded me of George Zucco in The Mummy's Hand a few years later, another great film with a gossamer-like plot than smacked of Serial. Even so, there's a few surprises along the way, and the 61 minute running time simply flew by, because you see, I enjoy watching this type of movie: I can laugh at its many faults at the same time as revelling in its many good points.
I only wish they had made this as a 13 part serial, there'd be so much more to enjoy.
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