Friday 22 March 2019

Mr. Moto - 8

Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937 - B/W) - First in the Fox (RIP) series based on a series of pulp novels as Peter Lorre makes his debut as the globe-trotting faux-Japanese spy who has the uncanny power to pass as white (funny, that). Has John Carradine and a rare Chinese artefact that must be destroyed. There's definitely a proto-Raiders thing going on with these films. Rote but Lorre is appealingly strange, as always.

Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937 - B/W) - Stage-Indians and yet more faux-Orientalist larks. At one point, Lorre dresses up as a Rubette. Has a telegram appear on screen for ten seconds, which proves that perhaps these films were made to be gobbled up.

Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938 - B/W) - Mainly pottering about in a pub.

Mr Moto Takes a Chance (1938 - B/W) - Serial style exotica.

Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938 - B/W) - A death in the family made this Charlie Chan film a crossover, with Lee Chan (a wasted Keye Luke) helping Peter Lorre's not-very-Japanese detective. I can stomach these more than the Charlie Chans, because Lorre is so odd and appealing, here playing with a cat, even when the mystery as here is stiff. The character isn't a ridiculous caricature.

Mr. Moto In Danger Island (1938 - B/W) - By now the formula was running a bit thin. Almost a recap of the previous films.

Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1938 - B/W) - Aptly named penultimate film. Has George Sanders and Robert Coote as a ventriloquist doing the water-drinking trick with his schoolboy dummy.  Something about a submersible gets lost in a showbi-related mire. Some nice underwater FX. But you can see that there's only so much you can do with Moto. Has Moto get possessed by Coote's dummy at Coote's suggestion, at the end.

Mr. Moto Takes A Vacation (1939 - B/W) - Has Lorre in yellowface and whiteface as Moto has to go undercover as a German. Again.

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