Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939)

63 mins | Drama | 7 April 1939

Director:

Herbert I. Leeds

Writer:

Peter Milne

Cinematographer:

Lucien Andriot

Editor:

Harry Reynolds

Production Designers:

Richard Day, Chester Gore

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Mr. Moto in Puerto Rico and Mr. Moto in Trinidad. It was also reviewed as Danger Island. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the film was originally to have been a Charlie Chan picture. The first treatment written by John Reinhardt in 1938 was entitled Chan in Trinidad. In Sep 1938, George Bricker wrote another treatment titled Mr. Moto in Trinidad. According materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Antonio Moreno was originally to have played the role of "La Costa." Fox produced a film in 1934 based on the same source entitled Murder in Trinidad (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2997). Twentieth Century-Fox produced The Caribbean Mystery in 1945 based on the same source which starred James Dunn and was directed by Robert Webb. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index and see entry for Think Fast Mr. Moto (1937). ...

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The working titles of this film were Mr. Moto in Puerto Rico and Mr. Moto in Trinidad. It was also reviewed as Danger Island. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the film was originally to have been a Charlie Chan picture. The first treatment written by John Reinhardt in 1938 was entitled Chan in Trinidad. In Sep 1938, George Bricker wrote another treatment titled Mr. Moto in Trinidad. According materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Antonio Moreno was originally to have played the role of "La Costa." Fox produced a film in 1934 based on the same source entitled Murder in Trinidad (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2997). Twentieth Century-Fox produced The Caribbean Mystery in 1945 based on the same source which starred James Dunn and was directed by Robert Webb. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index and see entry for Think Fast Mr. Moto (1937).

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Mar 1939
p. 3
Film Daily
29 Mar 1939
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1939
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
17 Mar 1939
p. 9
Motion Picture Herald
4 Mar 1939
p. 53
Motion Picture Herald
18 Mar 1939
p. 49
New York Times
20 Mar 1939
p. 13
Variety
22 Mar 1939
p. 20
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Bill Forsyth
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Based on story ideas by
Based on story ideas by
Additional scenes
Additional scenes
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Eddie Fitzgerald
Cam op
Asst cam
Dan Clark
Head of camera dept.
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Walter [M.] Scott
Set dresser
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Cost
Ward man
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Recorder
Jim Burnett
Boom man
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Wm. Koenig
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
Gaffer
Ken McDonald
Best boy
Casting
Cableman
Still photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the character created by John P. Marquand and the novel Murder in Trinidad by John W. Vandercook (New York, 1933).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Danger Island
Mr. Moto in Puerto Rico
Mr. Moto in Trinidad
Release Date:
7 April 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 20 Mar 1939
Production Date:
late Nov--late Dec 1938
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
7 April 1939
LP9023
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63
Length(in feet):
6,230
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4939
SYNOPSIS

Mr. Moto, accompanied by Twister McGuirk, a wrestler who has apprenticed himself to the famous detective in order to learn his jiu jitsu tricks, arrives in Puerto Rico on the trail of a diamond smuggling ring. After the murder of a secret agent, Moto follows a trail of clues that leads him to a sinister swamp, a reputed haunting grounds for ghosts. When the governor of the island is slain in the same manner as the agent, Moto and Twister return to the swamp, where they are captured by the smugglers, who have appropriated the pond as their hideout. While a prisoner, Moto discovers that the diamonds are being smuggled inside of coconuts, and after accumulating enough evidence to indict the smugglers, the detective and his apprentice escape to the mainland. Moto returns to the smugglers' hideout, accompanied by the police and Sutter, the head of the diamond dealers, but they arrive just in time to see the head of the ring speed away in his boat. Sutter takes aim and shoots the criminal, and the wounded man is taken to the hospital. That night, an attempt is made on the man's life, but Moto emerges from the shadows just in time to unmask the murderer as Sutter, the real head of the smugglers. After explaining that Sutter had planned to prevent the wounded man from exposing the diamond dealer as the real criminal, Moto reveals that Sutter's bullet had really killed the smuggler in his attempted escape from the swamp, and that the sly detective had used the dead man's corpse to bait a trap for the real crime ...

More Less

Mr. Moto, accompanied by Twister McGuirk, a wrestler who has apprenticed himself to the famous detective in order to learn his jiu jitsu tricks, arrives in Puerto Rico on the trail of a diamond smuggling ring. After the murder of a secret agent, Moto follows a trail of clues that leads him to a sinister swamp, a reputed haunting grounds for ghosts. When the governor of the island is slain in the same manner as the agent, Moto and Twister return to the swamp, where they are captured by the smugglers, who have appropriated the pond as their hideout. While a prisoner, Moto discovers that the diamonds are being smuggled inside of coconuts, and after accumulating enough evidence to indict the smugglers, the detective and his apprentice escape to the mainland. Moto returns to the smugglers' hideout, accompanied by the police and Sutter, the head of the diamond dealers, but they arrive just in time to see the head of the ring speed away in his boat. Sutter takes aim and shoots the criminal, and the wounded man is taken to the hospital. That night, an attempt is made on the man's life, but Moto emerges from the shadows just in time to unmask the murderer as Sutter, the real head of the smugglers. After explaining that Sutter had planned to prevent the wounded man from exposing the diamond dealer as the real criminal, Moto reveals that Sutter's bullet had really killed the smuggler in his attempted escape from the swamp, and that the sly detective had used the dead man's corpse to bait a trap for the real crime boss.

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

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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.