10 May 2007 | bigkingtut2000
Mr. Moto is one bad hombre!
I have recently gotten into watching the Mr. Moto series and what a treat I have discovered. Peter Lorre's diminutive Mr. Moto was an exceptional series. The series was created by the studio to compete with the Charlie Chan series and compete it did even gaining as much popularity as Oland's Charlie Chan. Now, you can't really call Kenjaro Moto, a detective,because, he is an art collector, an archaeologist, an international police person, he is what ever the episode has him being. What he is is entertaining. The soft spoken Moto, has a mean streak in him a mile wide too. No shooting the gun out of the hand of the villain...he shoots to kill. If guy comes at him with a knife...they get it back..MULTIPLE times. Shocking, really, in his ruthlessness and overt violence when dealing with crooks. This particular film has him playing a Nippon Indiana Jones type on a dig. When a female aviator, an Amelia Earhart type, whose a spy, on an around the world trek, deliberately crashes her plane near Moto's Tell. A film crew captures the plane crash on film...while shooting crocodiles in the nearby river. Kind of an interesting scene, rather unique too, one of the characters falls out of the boat in the crocodile infested waters. Of course, they were alligators, but the stunt man was at one end of the canoe and two 'live' alligators were at the other, those bad boys can fly in the water and it took some brave stunt man to hop in there with them.
Anyway, the plot involves a revolution in a tiny Asian..Siamish type country that was French controlled. Moto disguises himself as a Tibetan monk guru...and when you see him...you will know, where they came up with the character...Yoda, in the Star Wars series. There was some similarities to the Indiana Jones..Temple of Doom too. Lucas and Spielberg HAD to be watching Mr. Moto sometime. Of course, Moto puts out the mini revolt before it starts, blows up the ammunition dump...after throwing the Rajah down into the powder room..head first. The good guy gets the girl. Moto diffuses a revolution and all live happily ever after. Good cast, crisp direction, back lot adventure of the highest quality. The Mr. Moto series was as popular as Charlie Chan back in the thirties and I can see why. I think Lorre's mean streak, flipping guys all over the place, then killing when he had to was more entertaining than the cerebral Charlie Chan, at times. There was also a nice added feature on the life of Peter Lorre. It also stated why he quit the series...to avoid type casting, to get more and better parts AND get more money. He only was paid $10,000 per episode and there were 8 in all. When he found out Warner Oland was making $40,000 per and they were on par, popularity wise...well...Mr. Moto left to all of our losses. Don't miss any of the Mr. Moto series they are fun viewing and Lorre is a real charmer!