Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938)

57 or 63 mins | Drama | 24 June 1938

Director:

Norman Foster

Cinematographer:

Virgil E. Miller

Editor:

Nick DeMaggio

Production Designer:

Albert Hogsett

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Look Out, Mr. Moto . Although this was the second film to be produced in the "Mr. Moto" series and was reviewed in Oct 1937 under the early title, it was not released until Jun 1938, when it was the fourth in the series. A 5 Aug 1937 HR news item, during the shooting of this film, indicated that the next Mr. Moto picture, which was then ready for production, would be held up temporarily while the studio watches the developments of the Sino-Japanese War. The news item noted that because the "leading character is a Japanese...the script may have to be overhauled to avoid injured feelings." While this news item pertains to the next film in the series, presumably Thank You, Mr. Moto , which went into production in Oct 1937 (see below), it is possible that the release of Mr. Moto Takes a Chance was held up because of the war. According to the pressbook for the film, director Norman Foster insisted that the characters speak real Cambodian, and to insure accuracy in the language, the studio hired Louis Vincenot, who was born in Cambodia, to teach the language to the extras. The pressbook also indicates that Rochelle Hudson wore Cambodian gowns and jewelry in the film, that the temple set was designed using Khymer architecture and that Peter Lorre studied jiu-jitsu, which he used in the film. For more information about the Mr. Moto series, please see the entry above for Think Fast, Mr. Moto and consult the Series ... More Less

The working title of this film was Look Out, Mr. Moto . Although this was the second film to be produced in the "Mr. Moto" series and was reviewed in Oct 1937 under the early title, it was not released until Jun 1938, when it was the fourth in the series. A 5 Aug 1937 HR news item, during the shooting of this film, indicated that the next Mr. Moto picture, which was then ready for production, would be held up temporarily while the studio watches the developments of the Sino-Japanese War. The news item noted that because the "leading character is a Japanese...the script may have to be overhauled to avoid injured feelings." While this news item pertains to the next film in the series, presumably Thank You, Mr. Moto , which went into production in Oct 1937 (see below), it is possible that the release of Mr. Moto Takes a Chance was held up because of the war. According to the pressbook for the film, director Norman Foster insisted that the characters speak real Cambodian, and to insure accuracy in the language, the studio hired Louis Vincenot, who was born in Cambodia, to teach the language to the extras. The pressbook also indicates that Rochelle Hudson wore Cambodian gowns and jewelry in the film, that the temple set was designed using Khymer architecture and that Peter Lorre studied jiu-jitsu, which he used in the film. For more information about the Mr. Moto series, please see the entry above for Think Fast, Mr. Moto and consult the Series Index. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Nov 1937.
---
Daily Variety
23 Oct 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Jun 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 37
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 37
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 37
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 37
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
26 Oct 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
11 Sep 37
p. 34.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Oct 37
p. 50.
New York Times
13 Jun 38
p. 15.
Variety
15 Jun 38
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost
Ward man
Ward girl
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Asst sd
Boom man
Cableman
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr clerk
Props
Asst prop
Asst prop
Best boy
Best boy
Still photog
STAND INS
Stand in
Stand in
Stand in
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the character created by John P. Marquand.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Look Out, Mr. Moto
Release Date:
24 June 1938
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 June 1938
Production Date:
19 July--mid August 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 June 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8380
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
57 or 63
Length(in feet):
5,736
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3642
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When aviatrix Victoria Mason, who is flying around the world, reaches the small kingdom of Tong Moi, above Siam, she throws a flare into the rear of her plane and parachutes to safety before the plane crashes in flames. The crash is seen by Mr. Moto, leading an archaeological dig, and by American newsreel cameramen Marty Weston and Chick Davis. After Moto helps Vicky, he sends a note about her arrival via carrier pigeon. Vicky is presented to ruler Rajah Ali, who insists above the objections of his high priest Bokor that she stay as his guest. As Marty and Chick shoot footage of them, Bokor objects that this displeases the gods. However, the ruler states that the cinema is not dangerous, and filming proceeds until Keema, his favorite wife, falls dead. While Marty and Chick are taken by Bokor to a hidden temple for a trial before the gods, Moto discovers that a poison dart from a blowgun killed Keema. Deemed guilty, Marty and Chick are about to be thrown into a well, when a fire erupts and an old guru, on a pilgrimage from the Himalayas, emerges from the temple. After he proves his powers to Bokor, he orders the men freed. The next day, in the cave of the temple, the guru discovers cans of explosives in a secret room below. After he subdues one of Bokor's men, the guru removes his mask and reveals himself to be Moto. He then sends a message by pigeon, stating that he has located the munitions base and that Bokor is the leader of the revolt. However, Rajah Ali shoots down ... +


When aviatrix Victoria Mason, who is flying around the world, reaches the small kingdom of Tong Moi, above Siam, she throws a flare into the rear of her plane and parachutes to safety before the plane crashes in flames. The crash is seen by Mr. Moto, leading an archaeological dig, and by American newsreel cameramen Marty Weston and Chick Davis. After Moto helps Vicky, he sends a note about her arrival via carrier pigeon. Vicky is presented to ruler Rajah Ali, who insists above the objections of his high priest Bokor that she stay as his guest. As Marty and Chick shoot footage of them, Bokor objects that this displeases the gods. However, the ruler states that the cinema is not dangerous, and filming proceeds until Keema, his favorite wife, falls dead. While Marty and Chick are taken by Bokor to a hidden temple for a trial before the gods, Moto discovers that a poison dart from a blowgun killed Keema. Deemed guilty, Marty and Chick are about to be thrown into a well, when a fire erupts and an old guru, on a pilgrimage from the Himalayas, emerges from the temple. After he proves his powers to Bokor, he orders the men freed. The next day, in the cave of the temple, the guru discovers cans of explosives in a secret room below. After he subdues one of Bokor's men, the guru removes his mask and reveals himself to be Moto. He then sends a message by pigeon, stating that he has located the munitions base and that Bokor is the leader of the revolt. However, Rajah Ali shoots down the pigeon and, at a celebration that night, serves it to Moto. When Vicky graciously agrees to become the rajah's next wife in his harem, Marty, who is attracted to her, prepares to leave. After Vicky finds information that Moto is a spy and locates his map of the temple, she heads there followed by Bokor. Convinced by Chick that she is in danger, Marty hastens there also, but he is captured along with Vicky. After Zimmerman, the munitions dealer, arrives and captures Chick, Bokor has Zimmerman killed. He then proclaims that his revolt has begun and will not end until every foreigner is driven from Asia. Moto, who has emerged again as the guru, attempts to deflect Bokor's bloodlust, but when Chick is about to be executed, Vicky reveals Moto's identity and, in the confusion that follows, a fight breaks out. With the munitions, Moto and Vicky, who is working for British Intelligence, fight alongside Marty and Chick to stave off Bokor's men. As they run out of ammunition, Rajah Ali arrives with troops and captures Bokor and his followers. When he says that he will execute Moto, Vicky, Marty and Chick, Moto threatens to blow them all up by dropping a torch into the room with the explosives. Marty throws a gun at Rajah Ali, who falls into the room. Moto then lights a fuse of film that he rigged up leading to the explosives, and after they escape, the temple explodes. On a sailboat, Vicky and Marty banter affectionately, as Moto scares Chick with tales of their next adventure together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.