When the S.S. Himalaya docks at Port Said, Egypt Madame Delacour (Margaret Irving) receives a cablegram from her husband telling her that he will be late meeting them. Her husband is Admiral Delacour (Georges Renavent), in charge of the French naval fleet that is scheduled to participate in maneuvers in the Red Sea. This means that the scheduled naval maneuvers will be postponed. Standing beside her at the railing are Norvel (George Sanders) and Rollo Venables (Robert Coote).
Venables is a harmless nerdy British tourist who fancies himself as a writer. Norvel is a Frenchman and a secret enemy agent working for a foreign faction. He is assigned to Madame Delacour to find out information concerning the navy maneuvers. Also aboard is a man posing as Mr. Moto (Teru Shimada). He is actually an agent working with the real Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre). Both Mr. Motos are agents for the International Police.
After they leave the ship, the fake Mr. Moto is kidnapped by Novel and some henchmen and killed. At dinner Norvel receives a message to meet at the Sultana Theatre. The theatre is producing a variety show. One of the attractions in the show is ventriloquist, Fabian the Great (Ricardo Cortez). Fabian is Norvel’s contact and the leader of a gang of saboteurs.
Also in the meeting with Fabian are Hakim (John Davidson) and Danforth (John Carradine). Danforth is actually a British Secret Service agent named Burke who has infiltrated the gang. They have been hired by an enemy faction to blow up the French fleet when it tries to enter the Suez Canal and blame the bombing on the British. Their ultimate goal is to start a world war. When Fabian discovers that Danforth is actually a secret agent he is killed.
The real Mr. Moto is posing as a merchant named Mr. Kuroki. Finding out that Burke has been killed leaves Moto without his contact inside the gang. Fabian begins to get suspicious of Mr. Kuroki. He tries to have Moto blown up, but he manages to escape the explosion. Moto is then captured but manages to get away. When Moto tries to stop the saboteurs, he gets help from some unexpected sources.
“Mr. Moto’s Last Warning” was released in 1939 and was directed by Norman Foster. It is the sixth of eight Mr. Moto movies starring Peter Lorre that were produced by 20th Century Fox.
It is a decent addition to the Mr. Moto series and has an interesting plot with some decent actors. Like all the Moto films the pace is quick. The film is also noted as having some nice production values although the sets don’t look all that much like Egypt. Still, it is a fund watch with some decent intrigue considering these “B” films were cranked out like rabbits have babies.
The film was shot in 1938 but not released until January 1939. What I found interesting about this movie is that, in January 1939, the plot revolves around World War II starting because of a feud between England and France when, less than nine months later, in September, it started when Germany invaded Poland. Great Britain and France responded to the invasion by declaring war on Germany two days later. In the movie the faction attempting to start a war is never named but I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to come up with Germany as the offending nation, especially since tensions had already been building since the close of the First World War.
George Sanders was born in St. Petersburg, Russia of English parents. His brother is actor Tom Conway. He was married at one time or another to both Magda Gabor and her sister Zsa Zsa Gabor. Sanders committed suicide in 1972 by an overdose of barbiturates.