Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
An Entertaining Entry In The Popular Series
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As originally created by author John P. Marquand, Moto was an icy and distinctly lethal Japanese agent; 20th Century Fox, which had earlier created the extremely popular Charlie Chan series, toned down his more deadly qualities, cast German actor Peter Lorre in the role, and between 1937 and 1939 made eight films featuring the character. Although they did not really challenge the Chan films, they were popular in their own right, and it was not until American sentiment began to turn against the Japanese that 20th Century Fox dropped the character.
Made in 1939, MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING is the sixth film in the series, and it finds Moto (Lorre) working to foil an attempt to set the English and French against each other by blowing up the French fleet as it enters an English-controlled canal in the middle east. Although the film has a slow start, it is graced with a gifted cast that includes George Sanders, John Carradine, and Ricardo Cortez, and it soon comes up a snappy pace and proves unexpectedly watchable.
Over the years the Chan films have drawn considerable condemnation from Chinese Americans due to the fact that Chan was never played by an Asian actor; somewhat curiously, the Moto films have escaped the same degree of politically-correct derrision. This is all the more odd because Lorre is even less of Japanse than Oland and Toler were Chinese. Even so, Lorre is always interesting to watch, and his unexpected physicality (Moto is a master of judo) drives the film remarkably well.
MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING is the only film in the series presently in public domain, a circumstance that seems more accidental than intentional. The Alpha release is very much in line with that: the picture is shaky, particularly in the opening segments, and the sound is quite weak. Fans of the series would do better to go with the series editions now in release through 20th Century Fox--but no matter which copy you lay hands on, you'll find the film an enjoyable bit of flyweight fun. Recommended to fans of 1930s mysteries, thrillers, and espionage movies.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
Dedicated to the negative voter, who can hardly wait for me to put another review so he can give it an unhelpful vote."
Good film, but buy the box sets :-)
Eric Pregosin | New Carrollton, Maryland United States | 05/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very enjoyable mystery with Peter Lorre in a Charlie Chan like role. However, this film has been availale by itself for ages on both DVD and VHS. You are better off buying the 2 Fox box sets, because it's the only way to get all 8 (including this one) films that Lorre did with the character, not to mention as a bonus on set 2, a rare chance to see what Henry Silva did with it 30 years later.:-)"
Mr. Moto is still fun, but the movies are starting to be lit
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 03/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By now the Mr. Moto series was becoming no more than the Saturday matinee filler Peter Lorre knew it would be. The greatest interest in Mr. Moto's Last Warning lies in keeping track of how many deaths Mr. Moto will cause in the pursuit of his kind of justice. By my count it was a draw with the bad guys, with one ringer thrown in. Please note that elements of the plot are discussed.
We're in Egypt and an unknown country is plotting to create an incident involving the Suez Canal that will have France and Britain at each other's throats. A master criminal and his gang, taking orders from this nameless country, will set mines at the entrance of the Canal. When the French fleet starts to pass though...kablooie! False evidence will point to Britain. However, Kentaro Moto of the International Police has been working to expose this plot for weeks. He knows the master criminal is in fact Fabian the Great (Ricardo Cortez), a smooth, quick-thinking and ruthless individual posing as a ventriloquist at a seedy Egyptian music hall. It would be hard to decide which is worse, Fabian's utter lack of scruple or George Sanders' awful German accent. (He plays Eric Novel, who tends to show up too often at places he shouldn't be.) Moto quickly finds he is alone. Every time he thinks he can call for assistance, death gets in the way. Finally, with only a foolish Englishman, played to perfection by Robert Coote, to help, Moto prevails and world peace is insured for a few more weeks. (The movie was made in 1939)
Peter Lorre continues to do a fine job as Kentaro Moto. He gives Moto an interesting blend of innocence, shrewdness and ruthlessness. Ricardo Cortez, a great success as a leading man in the silent movies, was by now doing movies like this. He may be a stolid actor, but he still is interesting enough to carry the role without breaking a sweat. Unfortunately, George Sanders is just about as bad as his accent. My heart, however, was captured by Virginia Field as Connie, proprietor of Connie's Place, a seedy dive. Connie loves Fabian too much but at least she can tell the difference between right (smuggling) and wrong (blowing up the French fleet). Field plays Connie as a kind of dime-store version of Joan Blondell...blond, plump, good-hearted and luscious.
For those who also like to keep score, here's what I came up with. Caused by the bad guys: Death by knifing; death by diving bell. Caused by Kentaro Moto: Death by judo chop; death by too much Suez water. Caused by the ringer: Death by bullet into the chest.
Mr. Moto's Last Warning is one of the four movies in The Mr. Moto Collection - Volume Two releaased by Twentieth Century Fox. It looks and sounds fine. Other editions are available because the movie fell into the public domain. They all are supposed to have poor DVD transfers. If you're a Moto person, I'd advise just buying the collection."