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PHOTOGRAPHY

MR. MOTO Collection Volume 2

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 72 minutes/ 80 minutes/ 71 minutes/ 63 minutes/ 5 featuttes, six trailers/ Return Of Mr. Moto film with audio commentary

VIDEO: 1.33:1 (Full Frame)/ Anamorphic Widescreen for Return of Mr. Moto and featurettes

AUDIO: English Stereo, English Mono

Subtitles: English, Spanish

The MR. MOTO series would run it's course after four more films. Oddly enough, the third entry MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE is on volume 2 and it started life as CHARLIE CHAN AT THE RINGSIDE (before Warner Oland being difficult killed the film (and then he died months later). MR. MOTO IN DANGER ISLAND is the longest of the films while MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING is my favorite of the four films. MR. MOTO TAKES A VACATION was the swansong for the series before Japan's increasing hostility against the USA killed the series after 1939. It gave Peter Lorre the perfect excuse to quit play Mr. Mto and go on to star in many films including several with Humphrey Bogart. Actors to appear in the series include George Sanders and John Carradine (MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING), Virginia Fields (MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING and MR. MOTO TAKES A VACATION), and Keye Luke (MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE). Like many Moto films, Moto fades into the background at times to allow focus on other characters. MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING breathes lifes into the bad guys as they plot to blow up the french navy when it comes to Egypt. The other films are the same as they reworked Charlie Chan's number one son into MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE to explain why Lee Chan was in the film. Their complexity also gives insight into the 1930s period. The Mr. Moto films are classic mysteries that should be seen by old mystery film fans everywhere.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The Restoration Comparison featurette shows how many hours went into restoring each film and samples of what they looked like before and after. Six trailers are for three films from the first volume, RETURN OF MR. MOTO, MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE, and MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING).

four featurettes are spread among the four discs-

MR. MOTO MEETS MR. CHAN- THE MAKING OF MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE chronicles how a scrubbed Charlie Chan picture was turned into a Mr. Moto film and the last days of Warner Oland.

MEET MR. MOTO (MR. MOTO IN DANGER ISLAND) is a discussion of who Mr. Moto is (in the films) and the history of the Mr. Moto character in books and movies (how Lorre was sick during that time).

MR. MOTO'S CREATOR: THE LATE JON P. MARQUAND features interviews with Marquand's son and grandson and Marquand scholars. You get to know about the life of John P. Marquand from childhood, his two wives, the Mr. Moto series, and the novels he wrote after that.

MR. MOTO IS MISSING shows how the rising fear of Japan shaped the Mr. Moto series and killed it. Then it goes on to show how Japan was affected by USA forcing it open to Western trade and what happened to Japan after World War Two. Brief talk is focused on STOPOVER TOKYO (the only film not on either volume), and RETURN OF MR. MOTO.

Also the film RETURN OF MR. MOTO is included on the MR. MOTO TAKES A VACATION disc. An audio commentary by actor Henry Silva is included as an option. The film has Mr. Moto in name only as it turns more into a James Bond type thriller.

The eight page booklet gives insights ino the production of each film in this set (except RETURN OF MR. MOTO).

FINAL ANALYSIS: Fox does another great job with MR. MOTO Volume 2. The featurettes are fantastic. Too bad they couldn't include STOPOVER TOKYO (the only film not to feature Moto that is based on a Mr. Moto novel). The films show Peter Lorre as a great actor before he would become more famous in his films with Bogart.

RELATED DVD Reviews:

Mr. Moto Volume1-

http://enterline2.tripod.com/mr_moto__vol1.html

Charlie Chan Volume 1-

http://enterline2.tripod.com/charliechan_vol1.html

Charlie Chan Volume 2-

http://enterline2.tripod.com/charliechan_vol2.html

this review is (c)2-24-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com