Mysterious Mr. Moto

Mysterious Mr. Moto, produced in 1938 by Twentieth Century Fox, is the fifth in a series of eight films starring Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto.[1]

Mysterious Mr. Moto
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Foster
Produced bySol M. Wurtzel
Screenplay byPhilip MacDonald
Norman Foster
Based onMr. Moto
novel series
by John P. Marquand
StarringPeter Lorre
Mary Maguire
Henry Wilcoxon
Erik Rhodes
Music bySamuel Kaylin
CinematographyVirgil Miller
Edited byNorman Colbert
Distributed byTwentieth Century-Fox
Release date
September 1938
Running time
63 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film is based on the character of Mr. Moto created by John P. Marquand, from an original screenplay by Philip MacDonald and Norman Foster.

It was originally known as Mysterious Mr. Moto of Devil's Island.


The film opens with a daring escape from the French penal colony on Devil’s Island. Mr. Moto, pretending to be Ito Matsuka, a Japanese murderer, is in the company of Paul Brissac, who belongs to a group of assassins. Brissac changes his name to Romero when they arrive in London and Moto stays on as his houseboy.

Moto then uncovers a plot to assassinate pacifist industrialist Anton Darvak.



Henry Wilcoxon replaced Michael Whalen in the cast.[2] It was an early Hollywood role for Australian actor Mary Maguire.[3]

Filming took place in March and April 1938, shortly after completion of Mr Moto's Gamble.[4]

During filming Peter Lorre, as Moto, impersonated a seventy-year-old German painter.[5]


The film was released in May 1938. The Los Angeles Times praised the "exciting action".[6] It arrived in New York in September.[7]

Home media

This film, along with Think Fast, Mr. Moto, Thank You, Mr. Moto and Mr. Moto Takes a Chance, was released on DVD in 2006 by 20th Century Fox as part of The Mr. Moto Collection, Volume One.

See also


  1. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: George Arliss Will Appear in 'Suez' at 20th CenturyFox-Donald O'Connor Gets Role in Crosby Film Other Items at Fox Coast Scripts Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times 12 Mar 1938: 13.
  2. RICHARD DIX CAST FOR 'GROUND CREW': To Star in Picture Which RKO Will Make One of Its More Impressive Productions DICK POWELL GETS ROLE Will Appear in 'The Hottentot'-'Start Cheering' Opens at Rialto Here This Morning Frances Farmer Replaced Coast Scripts Of Local Origin New York Times 16 Mar 1938: 21.
  3. In Hollywood With HEDDA HOPPER. The Washington Post 7 Apr 1938: X26.
  4. Nationalities Vary On 'Mr. Moto' Set The Washington Post 19 Apr 1938: X10.
  5. Age Moto 40 Years In 20 Minutes The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 08 May 1938: TT4.
  6. "CHAPERONED BY THREE" NOVEL, INTERESTING PLAY von Blon, Katherine T. Los Angeles Times 28 May 1938: A7.
  7. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOODNew York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]17 Sep 1938: 20.
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