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
The original script was a Charlie Chan murder mystery titled "Charlie Chan at Trinidad" to star Warner Oland. However, due to Oland's untimely death, the entire script was re-written in only a few weeks to star Peter Lorre as his Mr. Moto character. See more »
At 28.35 a valet enters Moto and McGurk's room asking if McGurk wants his bath run. He replies he had just had a shower. Moto says he can run his bath. Seconds later the valet is killed when he touches the tub which has been wired to electrocute anyone who touches the pipes. See more »
[as Moto lays in pain on a gurney]
Well, Mr. Moto, you picked a bad time to get afflicted.
[Marr sadistically presses his foot on Moto's appendix]
Unfortunately we cannot select a time for our afflictions.
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Calling this a typical Moto film is not a bad thing. After all, this series from Twentieth-Century Fox was about the equal in quality to their other series, Charlie Chan. The big difference being that Moto is more a "gun for hire"--a man who would play private detective or even mercenary in his films. Unlike the squeaky clean and rather sedate Chan, Moto is more physical and not above twisting the law or even killing someone. Sadly, he didn't kill anyone in this film--always a trademark of a great Moto film!
Moto is on his way to Puerto Rico to investigate a diamond smuggling ring. However, on the way, he is laid out due to an appendicitis and it looks like Moto might have to drop the case. However, being a very sneaky character, there's a lot more to the story than this.
Along for the ride is Warren Hymer, who plays Moto's new friend who tags along during the investigation. Having Hymer in the film makes sense, however, as the film was originally planned another Chan film. But, since Warner Oland had recently died, the script was adapted for Peter Lorre's series. In the usual role of Number One or Number Two son is Hymer--who gets into trouble and makes a nuisance of himself just like he was an honorary Chan himself!
Overall, well written, exciting and up to the usual high standards of the series. The only serious knock I have against this film is that although it's set in Puerto Rico, there's no one who remotely looks or sounds Hispanic in the film. Of course, considering they have a German guy playing Moto, I guess this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
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