Mr. Moto in Danger Island

Mr. Moto in Danger Island is a 1939 American mystery film directed by Herbert I. Leeds and starring Peter Lorre, Jean Hersholt and Amanda Duff. It is part of the Mr. Moto series of films.[1][2]

Mr. Moto in Danger Island
Directed byHerbert I. Leeds
Produced byJohn Stone
Written byPeter Milne
John Reinhardt
George Bricker
Jack Jungmeyer
Edith Skouras
Based onMurder in Trinidad
1933 novel
by John W. Vandercook
characters by John P. Marquand
StarringPeter Lorre
Jean Hersholt
Amanda Duff
Warren Hymer
Music bySamuel Kaylin
CinematographyLucien N. Andriot
Edited byHarry Reynolds
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
April 7, 1939
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film was based on the novel Murder in Trinidad, but the setting was moved to Puerto Rico.[3]


Mr Moto arrives in Puerto Rico to investigate the murder of an American agent and uncovers a smuggling ring.

Main cast


The novel Murder in Trinidad has been filmed in 1934 starring Nigel Bruce.

It was originally going to be a Charlie Chan picture with a treatment written by John Reinhardt in 1938 called Chan in Trinidad. In September 1938, George Bricker wrote another treatment called Mr. Moto in Trinidad. [4]

It was also known as Mr Moto in Trinidad, Mr Moto in Puerto Rico, and Mr Moto in Terror Island.[5]

Filming started 25 November 1938 under the title, "Mr Moto in Puerto Rico". It was one of the few films not to be directed by Norman Foster' in this was Herbert Leeds did the job.[6]

Antonio Moreno was originally to have played the role of "La Costa." [4][7]


The film came out in March 1939. The new York Times said the film has "some humour... a bit of action, but little suspense."[8]

Fox later filmed the novel a third time, as The Caribbean Mystery (1945).[4]

End of Series

In December 1938 Fox announced they would not give Lorre a new contract but that he still had four Moto films to make.[9] In January 1939 the series was put on hold. In April 1939 Fox announced they would make four more Motos over the next 12 months.[10] However Lorre left the studio in July 1939, effectively ending the series.[11]

Home media

This film, along with Mr. Moto's Gamble, Mr. Moto's Last Warning, Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation and (as a DVD extra) The Return of Mr. Moto, was released on DVD in 2007 by 20th Century Fox as part of The Mr. Moto Collection, Volume Two.

See also


  1. Backer p.295
  2. Mr. Moto on Danger Island Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 6, Iss. 61, (Jan 1, 1939): 47.
  3. Backer p.297
  4. "Mr Moto in Danger Island notes". Turner Classic Movies.
  5. 'Under Pup' by Wylie Planned as Picture: Connolly in 'Huck Finn' Busy Weaver Season New Oberon Subject M.G.M. Signs Dancer Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 19 Nov 1938: A7.
  6. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: RKO and United Artists Seek Anna Neagle--Metro Plans Remake of 'Desert Song' NEW ROLE FOR MISS FAYE Slated for 'Life of William Tell'--Goldwyn Prepares to Film 'Beach Boy' Plans for Alice Faye Coast Scripts Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 22 Nov 1938: 26
  7. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Paramount Plans to Remake 'The Cat and the Canary'--Martha Raye in Lead ELLISON REPLACES GRANT Gets Lead in 'Little Mother' With Ginger Rogers--Work to Begin on 'Guerrillas' Ellison in Rogers Film Coast Scripts Of Local Origin New York Times 29 Nov 1938: 27.
  8. THE SCREEN: 'Concentration Camp' Opens at Waldorf Theatre-- 'Mr. Moto in Danger Island' at the Central At the Teatro Hispano At the Central New York Times 20 Mar 1939: 18.
  9. Teaming of Lombard and Grant Projected: 'Mr. Moto' Re-Signed Dix Will Play Houston Spy Story Scheduled Wally Vernon Assignec Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 2 Dec 1938: A18.
  10. FILM STUDIO TO OFFSET EUROPEAN MARKET LOSS: Program of 52 Pictures for Year Announced by 20th Century-Fox Los Angeles Times 1 Apr 1939: A16.
  11. DRAMA: MacDonald-Eddy Reunion Romantic Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times19 July 1939: 13.


  • Backer, Ron. Mystery Movie Series of 1930s Hollywood. McFarland, 2012.
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