Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's about time, Mr. Moto!

Peter Lorre was the quintessential slimebag, whether playing the hideous child murderer in M (his first movie role) or Sidney Greenstreet’s highly perfumed partner in The Maltese Falcon. But I’ve always loved him just the same. So I’m delighted that his Mr. Moto movies from the late 1930s are finally coming to DVD. Only Mr. Moto’s Last Warning, late in the series of eight films, has ever been offered as any kind of video release until now. But come August 1, four others will be available in a boxed DVD set: Mr. Moto Takes a Chance; Mysterious Mr. Moto; Thank You, Mr. Moto; and Think Fast, Mr. Moto.

Believe it or not, Lorre’s Mr. Moto, based of a character created by John P. Marquand, was a good guy, but a very strange one. He was a charming but shadowy and ruthless spy, a master of disguise and a violent cold-blooded killer. Each film was set in an exotic location, and the movies make up, in my opinion, the most surreal, oddball “detective” series ever made. None of the Mr. Moto movies get much play on TV these days, but that won’t matter come August. It’ll be great to add this set to my DVD shelf.


At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Wally!

Thanks for mentioning the upcoming Mr. Moto films. I'm excited about the eight films (remastered prints, by the way) coming out in two box-sets this year.

Fans of Peter Lorre might be interested in the recently-published biography, "The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre" by Stephen Youngkin (University of Kentucky Press; Sept. 2005). The book contains an excellent section of the Moto films.

You can find more information here on the book's official website: -- and you can purchase the book here, as well as the Mr. Moto Collection.


At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like I'll also have to add a boxed set to my collection. Man! I grew up watching Mr. Moto, the Thin Man and Charlie Chan movies on the weekends. I've been waiting for this for years! Now if they'll just put out the Prince of Sarawak movies life would be really good!


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