Mr. Moto's Last Warning
Hello, 'Mister Danforth' (John Carradine). Or should I say, double-agent, Richard Burke? It's me, remember? You do remember me, don't you?
Why, yes. That is correct, my friend. We worked together quite sometime ago, didn't we? Although let's not forget I'm also the international agent your 'colleague' Norvel (George Sanders) thought he killed after he stepped off of the boat in Cairo.
Yes. I'm none other than Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre) himself.
Well, as you can clearly see I'm not dead at all. In fact I'm very much alive and well. And just like you, I've been trying to figure out what Novel and his accomplice Fabian (Ricardo Cortez) are doing over here in
So far all I've gathered is that they're attempting to instigate a war between
using some sort of nautical apparatus. Yet I'm sure with your noticed
assistance I'll be able to find out some more information, without being killed
like my double did who ran into Novel earlier.
Then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all takes a nose dive when you get sent swimming with the sharks. As Connie Porter (Virginia Field) has something to say - a brawl in the street sends the bad guys my way - an English fop strangely pitches in - and at the end of the day, a master plan is ultimately thrown in the bin.
Now I was first made aware of the 1930's Mister Moto film franchise by a friend of mine on facebook. One day he came to the realization that I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and Asian cinema, and he was wondering if I'd enjoy watching an oriental version of Sherlock in action.
Essentially there were two aspects about this adventure that I myself wasn't too keen on. Firstly, as I just mentioned, the tale in itself was one of those 'smoke and mirror' type scenarios. Most of the characters in it appeared to be someone else further down the line. Plus it also took quite some time to figure who was who, as well as what the basic story-line was all about. And secondly, I didn't like the obvious manner in which Peter was doubled during the fight scenes. As a matter of fact this was so apparent on screen that it actually took me out of the movie completely.
On the flip side of things, however, I'd say the production values were fairly well polished in execution, plus Peter Lorre didn't do a bad job at playing an Asian detective despite being of Hungarian decent. What's more, on occasion there was a very dark and sinister edge to this film that made it very suspenseful and thrilling by default.
For instance, one of my most favorite scenes in this entire movie was the one where the British agent was sent down into the sea in some sort of nautical container. Now from my point of view this scene was fairly enjoyable to watch because we -- the audience -- secretary knew that the villain who sent him down recognized who he really was. And this in turn gave this sequence a titivating factor in which we try to second guess what he'll be doing next. Would he kill him? Would he force his hand? Or would he play him for a patsy and let him go free?
Overall I'd say 'Mr Moto's Last Warning' was a pretty ying yang film. Even though I wasn't too happy about the story plus the two dimension aspects of some of the characters, in the same breath, I would like to see some more of these films just to confirm if Moto is in fact an oriental Sherlock in disguise.
Stay tuned. Nuff said.
THE RATING: B-