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Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation

USA 1939
produced by
Sol M. Wurtzel (executive) for 20th Century Fox
directed by Norman Foster
starring Peter Lorre, Joseph Schildkraut, Lionel Atwill, Virginia Field, John 'Dusty' King, Iva Stewart, G.P. Huntley, Victor Varconi, John Bleifer, Honorable Wu, Morgan Wallace, Anthgony Warde, Harry Strang, John Davidson, Willie Best
screenplay by Philip MacDonald, Norman Foster, based on a character created by John P.Marquand, music by Samuel Kaylin

Mr. Moto

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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At an excavation, archeologist Howard Stevens (John 'Dusty' King) finds the legendary crown of the Queen of Sheba, one of the most valuable items ever, so it's no wonder that criminals left and right want to get their hands on it, including the legendary Metaxa - whose identity is a mystery though. Fortunately though, supersleuth busybody Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre) is on board to grant it a safe passage to San Francisco at least - but once there, the crown is almost immediately stolen by a bunch of gangsters, and it falls not upon Mr Moto but incapable Scotland Yard detective Archie Featerhstone (G.P. Huntley) of all people that it's retrieved again and safely delivered to a high security museum.

After much two and fro, two parties after the crown are identified and subsequently arrested, on one hand there's gangster Joe Rubla (Anthony Warde), whose approach is rather crude though, on the other there's "insurance agent" Borodoff (Victor Varconi), whose accomplice Eleanor (Virginia Field) pretty much threw herself at Howard Stevens on the passage to San Francisco to divert his attention. Problem is, neither is Metaxa. In a rather surprise twist, Moto all of a sudden has the museum's curator (Lionel Atwill) arrested, claiming he is Metaxa - which causes his prime financier, limping and frail Manderson (Joseph Schildkraut) to sneak away and try to steal the crown ... but he only walks right into Moto's trap, who has long found out he is much younger than he looks (or is made up to appear), and after an extended fistfight during which Moto and Manderson/Metaxa trash half of the museum's items, Moto of course manages to apprehend him and hand him over to the police.

 

The less than special conclusion to the Mr. Moto-series (that has run out of steam long before this film) really hasn't that much to offer: While the plot is overly convoluted, it contains little actual mystery, the identity of Metaxa can easily be spotted thanks to a rather sloppy makeup job, G.P. Huntley makes a terrible and most annoying comic relief, and the big fistfight in the finale that at least features major destruction is not milked for nearly its full (comical) potential.

In all, not a total shipwreck (at least the cast is pretty good) but a series mystery that one could have easily done without.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD