Mr. Moto's Last Warning

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Mr. Moto’s Last Warning
Directed by Norman Foster
Produced by Sol M. Wurtzel
Written by John P. Marquand (character)
Philip MacDonald
Norman Foster
Starring Peter Lorre
Ricardo Cortez
Virginia Field
John Carradine
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • January 20, 1939 (1939-01-20)
[1]
Running time
71 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Mr. Moto’s Last Warning is the sixth in a series of eight films starring Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto. The film is an original story featuring the character created by John P. Marquand.[2]

Plot[edit]

The British Navy in Port Said is making plans for naval manoeuvres with the French fleet. Plans are delayed because the British Secret Service has been warned of possible sabotage.

On a ship docking in Port Said is Madame Delacour (Margaret Irving) wife of the French naval admiral. Delacour and her daughter Marie (Joan Carroll) are befriended by the charming Eric Norvel (George Sanders), the goofy Rollo Venables (Robert Coote), and someone posing as Mr. Moto (Teru Shimada). Norvel reveals his true nature when the ship docks and he lures Mr. Moto to his death. This “fake” Mr. Moto turns out to be a fellow agent of Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre) who is posing as a curio dealer Mr. Kuroki.

Norvel takes Delacour and Venables to a variety show featuring Fabian the Great (Ricardo Cortez), a ventriloquist. Fabian is the leader of the gang of saboteurs including Hakim (John Davidson), Captain Hawkins (Leyland Hodgson), Danforth (John Carradine), and Norvel. Danforth is actually a British Secret Service agent named Burke. Moto listens in on their conversation and is almost captured, but Burke helps him escape. Norvel is given the task of learning from Delacour when the French fleet is due at Port Said.

The suspicious Fabian thinks that Kuroki may actually be Mr. Moto. Fabian enlists his girlfriend Connie, who is not aware that he is an agent, to follow Mr. Moto the next day. She sees Moto visit the Port Commandant's office where he learns of the salvage ship "The Vulcan" captained by Hawkins.

Fabian also discovers that Danforth is the secret agent, Burke. Fabian lures Burke to "The Vulcan" and reveals his plan to blow up the French fleet and blame the British. He then kills Burke by trapping him in a diving bell. Norvel gets the information needed and tells Fabian at the theater. Connie overhears the conversation and threatens to call the Port Commandant, but Fabian convinces her to go along with him.

Hakim tries to kill Moto with a bomb, but Moto escapes the explosion and follows Hakim to a warehouse. Moto enlists Venables to help, but Venables is tricked by Norvel. After a fight, Moto and Venables are tied in sacks and thrown into the ocean, but not before Moto tricks Hawkins and grabs a piece of sharp metal. Connie can't bear to see this violence and goes to call the police. Fabian knocks her out and proceeds with his plans.

Moto escapes underwater and frees Venables, who goes to the police. Norvel dives down to await a signal from Fabian but Moto overpowers him and prematurely detonates the explosives meant to destroy the French fleet. Resurfacing, Moto fights with Fabian but Connie shows up and shoots Fabian. Moto discovers the saboteur's plans in Fabian's dummy but never reveals to the audience which country tried to engineer a war between France and England.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Mr. Moto's Last Warning is the only Peter Lorre Moto film in the public domain. It is available at the Internet Archive.[3]

The film was originally known as Winter Garden, meant to be the first title in the series lacking Moto's name.[4][5] The studio announced they were considering giving a lead role to Al Jolson, who was making Rose of Washington Square for the studio.[6]

The title was then changed to Mr. Moto in Egypt. Filming started in June 1938.[7]

Virginia Field also appeared in the first film of the series, Think Fast, Mr. Moto. John Carradine had previously appeared in Thank You, Mr. Moto. Carradine's part was to have been played by Miles Mander but he was delayed on Suez.[8]

When Ricardo Cortez made the film he announced he was retiring from acting and had signed to Fox as a director.[9]

Home Video Release[edit]

This film, along with Mr. Moto in Danger Island, Mr. Moto's Gamble, Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation and (as a DVD extra) The Return of Mr. Moto, was released on DVD in 2007 by 20th Century Fox as part of The Mr. Moto Collection, Volume Two.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ THE SCREEN IN REVIEW: Rudyard Kipling and RKO Bring a Spectacular Version of 'Gunga Din' Into the Music Hall--'Stand Up and Fight,' With Taylor and Beery, Arrives at Capitol At the Capitol At the Palace At the Polish Theatre New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 27 Jan 1939: 17.
  2. ^ THE SCREEN IN REVIEW: Rudyard Kipling and RKO Bring a Spectacular Version of 'Gunga Din' Into the Music Hall--'Stand Up and Fight,' With Taylor and Beery, Arrives at Capitol At the Capitol At the Palace At the Polish Theatre New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 27 Jan 1939: 17.
  3. ^ Internet Archive page for Mr. Moto's Last Warning
  4. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Luise Rainer Will Be Star of MCM's Dramatic School'--Mervyn Leroy to Produce OPENING AT ROXY TODAY Ritz Brothers Will Be Seen in 'Kentucky Moonshine' -- Hunted Men' at Criterion Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 May 1938: 17.
  5. ^ "Farewell to Arms" Re-Showing Proposed: Dietrich May Do Sand Fay Bainter Wins Plum Withers Feature Set Jottings and Castings Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 25 Apr 1938: 11.
  6. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Henry Fonda and Nancy Kelly Will Be Seen in 'Drums Along the Mohawk' TWO FILMS OPEN TODAY 'The Lady's From Kentucky' and 'Blondie Meets the Boss' to Have Local Premieres Chinese Flier Under Contract Of Local Origin By DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 26 Apr 1939: 26.
  7. ^ SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Paramount Plans to Expand British Activities--David E. Rose Production Chief ONE OPENING ON BROADWAY ' When Were You Born' Begins Engagement at Strand-Miss Lindsay Heads Cast Of Local Origin MUSIC NOTES Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 08 June 1938: 29.
  8. ^ 'It Can't Happen Here' May Be Muni Feature: Frances Mercer Placed Auer in "Sweethearts" Kortner Story Bought Allen Switches Roles Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 09 June 1938: 15.
  9. ^ Amateurs Crashing Film Ranks: Raw Recruits Rapidly Winning Laurels as Star Material Scott, John. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 17 July 1938: C1.

External links[edit]