Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mr. Moto

As a kid, I somehow missed the Charlie Chan films although I remember them running every weekend just before the Bowery Boys (whom I loved!). What I DID catch, however, were the Peter Lorre Mr. Moto pictures. Once one gets past the odd casting of the middle-European actor as a Japanese detective, it's easy to see that these are some of Lorre's best and most fully realized performances.

According to reports, Lorre didn't care for the pictures and, in fact, was dealing with a particularly bad period in the history of his drug abuse while making them. It's a tribute to his professionalism that none only does none of that show but that he resonates so well in the role.

Below is a retitled version of the above.

The character was so popular that Peter Lorre played the role half a dozen times in radio parodies on various programs. He was NOT, however, heard on the actual MR. MOTO series that aired in the fifties.

In the 1960s, someone got the bright idea to bring back the great Japanese sleuth only now to make him more Bond-like (naturally). More odd casting has perennial tough guy Henry Silva in the title role in a surprisingly enjoyable film--more so when one watches it on DVD with Silva's self-deprecating commentary.


1 comment:

  1. I always enjoyed the Mr. Moto films, which seemed to show once a week on Channel 21. I have never heard of the Henry Silva version, which I have to seem now. Silva seemed to play a lot of "ethnic" roles, and played another Asian character in "The Manchurian Candidate," in which he had what was probably the first Hollywood karate fight with Frank Sinatra.