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
Peter Lorre stars in "Mr. Moto Takes a Chance," in this 1938 entry into the series. Lorre, of course, as Moto is the main reason for watching this film, but the rest of the cast here is very good: Rochelle Hudson, J. Edward Bromberg, Robert Kent, and Chick Chandler.
Working for the government, Moto is on assignment in French Cambodia to defuse two antigovernment plots, one lead by a holy man, Bokor against the local leader, Rajah Ali, and the other plot, led by Rajah Ali, who wants to start war against French rule. Parachuting into all this is Victoria Mason, aviatrix, an Amelia Earhart type but awfully pretty, flirtatious, and glamorous for someone whose plane just caught on fire. There are also two goofy newsreel photographers who keep getting into trouble.
Moto plays a double role here, that of Moto and an elderly mystic who looks like he could be over 150. Lorre gives that role just the right touch - he's not fooling the audience and he knows it. Petite Rochelle Hudson is very pretty and vivacious.
This film was the second Moto film but held back because it was thought to be not as strong as Thank You, Mr. Moto, to follow the first film. Like another poster, I'm not buying it, so the holdup remains a mystery. It's highly unlikely that Darryl Zanuck wasted five minutes thinking about the Mr. Moto series, except, of course, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Then he thought about the series long enough to pull it.
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