Thank You, Mr. Moto (film)

Thank You, Mr. Moto is a 1937 film directed by Norman Foster. It is the second in a series of eight films starring Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto. It was based on the novel of the same name by the detective's creator, John P. Marquand. Mr. Moto battles murderous treasure hunters for priceless ancient scrolls which reveal the location of the long-lost tomb of Genghis Khan.[1]

Thank You, Mr. Moto
Directed byNorman Foster
Produced bySol M. Wurtzel
Written byWyllis Cooper
Norman Foster
Based onThank You, Mr. Moto
1936 novel
by John P. Marquand
StarringPeter Lorre
Thomas Beck
Pauline Frederick
Jayne Regan
Music bySamuel Kaylin
CinematographyVirgil Miller
Edited byIrene Morra
Bernard Herzbrun
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 24, 1937 (1937-12-24)
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States


A caravan settles for the night in the Gobi Desert. A man sneaks into a tent to steal a scroll, but adventurer and soldier of fortune Kentaro Moto (Peter Lorre) is only pretending to be asleep and kills him. When the caravan reaches Peiping, Moto is searched by the police. The scroll is found, but Moto grabs it and escapes.

He changes clothes and accepts an invitation to a party hosted by Colonel Tchernov (Sig Rumann) in honor of American Eleanor Joyce (Jayne Regan). At the soirée, Moto observes a guest, Chinese Prince Chung (Philip Ahn) leaving his mother to speak privately with Tchernov in another room. Tchernov offers to buy certain family heirloom scrolls from Chung. When Chung refuses to part with them, Tchernov draws a pistol, then is killed (off-screen) by Moto. Joyce stumbles upon the scene and watches in disbelief as Moto calmly stages it to look like a suicide. Moto politely advises her to say nothing to avoid an international incident.

Later, as a favor to his rescuer, Chung grants Moto's request to see the scrolls. Chung informs him that the seven scrolls give directions to the lost grave of Genghis Khan. The Chungs are determined to see that it and its fabulous treasures remain undisturbed. However, one scroll was lent to an exhibition and was stolen.

A dealer in antiquities, Pereira (John Carradine), shows Joyce some wares. She is interested in a (fake) scroll, but the price is too high. While shopping the next day with smitten diplomat Tom Nelson (Thomas Beck), they see Moto entering Pereira's shop. Moto gets Pereira to confess that he stole the authentic scroll, but before he can obtain more information, Pereira is shot and killed by a gunman in a car which speeds away.

Moto returns to his apartment to find it ransacked. Sensing that the would-be thief is present, Moto leaves his gun lying around. Schneider (Wilhelm von Brincken) holds him at gunpoint and forces Moto to give him the scroll. When Moto tries to flee, Schneider shoots several times with Moto's gun. However, the gun was filled with blanks; Moto trails Schneider to Madame Tchernov (Nedda Harrigan). When they leave to rendezvous with their gang, Moto starts to follow, but is knocked out by the butler, Ivan (John Bleifer), another crook. Joyce, who had been comforting the widow, is taken hostage.

The arch-villain (and Madame Tchernov's lover), Herr Koerger (Sidney Blackmer), forces Prince Chung to reveal the location of the scrolls by striking his mother. As they are leaving, Madame Chung attacks Koerger with a knife and is killed. Meanwhile, Nelson finds and revives Moto. They rush to the Chungs, but arrive too late. The dishonored prince commits suicide after they untie him; Moto comforts him before he dies by promising to avenge the Chung family and safeguard the tomb.

The two men track the criminals to a junk. After another attempt to kill him, Moto informs Koerger that the scroll he gave Schneider is a fake. He offers to split Genghis Khan's treasure. Then he sows dissent by telling Madame Tchernov that Koerger is dumping her for Joyce, which the quick-thinking American "confirms". This provides a distraction for Moto to kill Koerger. Later, to the dismay of Joyce and Nelson, Mr. Moto burns the scrolls to fulfill his promise to Chung.



Thank You, Mr Moto was the second Mr Moto novel following No Exit and was published in 1936 after having been serialised first. The New York Times praised the book's "vitality and vividness".[2]

In June 1937 Fox said the first three movies in the series would be Think Fast, Mr Moto, Thank You Mr Moto and Mr Moto's Gamble.[3] Think Fast had been filmed in February. The second Moto film actually shot was Look Out Mr Moto (which became Mr. Moto Takes a Chance) filmed in July but it would not come out until after the other three films.

Jayne Regan was given her first lead when cast in the film.[4]


Filming started October 1937 and went through to November.[5][6]

The film marked the last screen appearance of Pauline Frederick.[7]

By now the films were so popular that in December 1937 Fox refused Lorre a leave of absence to appear on Broadway in Wine of Choice with Miriam Hopkins.[8]

In December 1937 the Alfred Cohn story Death at the Artist's Ball was purchased by Fox as a Moto story.[9]


The film was released in December 1937. The Christian Science Monitor called it "well made and fairly exciting."[10]

Home media

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

See also


  1. Thank You, Mr. Moto Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 5, Iss. 49, (Jan 1, 1938): 19.
  2. Plotters in Peking: THANK YOU, MR. MOTO. By John P. Marquand. 278 pp. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. $2. E.C.B.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 17 May 1936: BR22.
  3. FOX LISTS FILMS FOR NEXT SEASON New York Times 2 June 1937: 20.
  4. HOLLYWOOD ENGINEERS COLOR INVASION OF LONDON AND PARIS: Charles Coburn, Art Theater Apostle, Signed Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 11 Oct 1937: A10
  5. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Three Stunt Fliers Signed for Parts in Paramount's 'Men With Wings'--New Films Open Here Today New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 12 Oct 1937: 31.
  6. Many Types of Sleuths on Screen: Heavy Mustaches, Derby, Hatted Class, However, Are No More Kingsley, Grace. Los Angeles Times7 Nov 1937: C4.
  7. A GREAT FILM ACTRESS: PAULINE FREDERICK The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 25 Sep 1938: 12.
  8. ELIZABETH ALLEN FOR 'THE CITADEL': Metro to Make Cronin Play in London--Power Named for 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' LORRE REMAINS IN WEST Fails to Get Leave for Stage Appearance Here--'Dinner at Eight' to Open Today Miss Merman in Cast Coast Scripts Of Local Origin New York Times 3 Dec 1937: 29.
  9. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Warners, With Aid of Medical Association, Will Produce Picture Exposing Quack Doctors Changes at Paramount Of Local Origin New York Times 8 Dec 1937: 31.
  10. Monitor Movie Guide: Nothing Sacred in 'Nothing Sacred' The Christian Science Monitor 22 Jan 1938: 17.
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