Retrospektive 2018

Mr. Moto's Last Warning

Norman Foster
USA 1939
71min
V'18

The Mr. Moto series at 20th Century-Fox (1937—1939) has qualities that lift it above all other B detective series. The exotic settings of the plots allow the Fox art department to show off their imagination and resourcefulness (LAST WARNING takes place in a chiaroscuro Port Said as it might have been imagined by Josef von Sternberg). In most of his other films, Peter Lorre steals scenes from the lead actors; starring as an international secret agent of Japanese origins, Lorre steals scenes from himself, appearing in various disguises and cheerfully throwing away his lines. An expert in martial arts, Moto takes part in fights-to-the-death whose brutality anticipates the postwar boom in espionage cinema. The Moto films have excellent supporting casts; LAST WARNING boasts the formidable trio of Ricardo Cortez, John Carradine, and George Sanders (cast, perhaps in punishment for some transgression against the studio, as a subordinate villain under Cortez). Norman Foster, who directed most of the Motos, was responsible for assembling all these elements harmoniously. Foster’s work attracted notice from Orson Welles, who chose him to direct a section of IT’S ALL TRUE and the quasi-totality of JOURNEY INTO FEAR under his supervision and, years later, used him as an actor in THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND. (Chris Fujiwara)

With THE STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR

Credits
  • Peter Lorre - Roderick Raskolnikov
  • John Carradine - Hatfield
  • George Sanders - Lord James Ashwood
  • Ricardo Cortez
  • Virginia Field
  • Joan Carroll
  • Robert Coote
  • Philip McDonald
  • Norman Foster
  • John P. Marquand
  • Virgil Miller
  • David Raksin
20th Century Fox
35 mm
bw
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