AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
Director: Norman Foster (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Jul 1939
Premiere Information:   New York opening: week of 19 Jun 1939
Production Date:   late Aug--late Sep 1938
Duration (in mins):   65
Duration (in feet):   5,632
Duration (in reels):   6
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Cast:   Peter Lorre (Mr. Moto)  
    Joseph Schildkraut (Hendrik Manderson)  
    Lionel Atwill (Professor Hildebrand)  
    Virginia Field (Eleanor Kirke)  
    John King (Howard Stevens)  
    Iva Stewart (Susan French)  
    George P. Huntley Jr. (Archie Featherstone)  
    Victor Varconi (Paul Borodoff)  
    John Bleifer (Wendling)  
    Honorable Wu (Wong)  
    Morgan Wallace (David Perez)  
    Anthony Warde (Joe Rubla)  
    Harry Strang (O'Hara)  
    John Davidson (Prince Suleid)  
    Willie Best (Driver)  
    Stanley Blystone (Ship's officer)  
    Robert Winckler (Boy)  
    Tom O'Grady (Husband)  
    Isabelle La Mal (Matronly woman)  
    Bobby Hale (Steward)  
    Leyland Hodgson (Waiter)  
    George Chandler (Cameraman)  
    Ralph Dunn (Policeman)  
    Lee Phelps (Policeman)  
    Pat O'Malley (Policeman)  
    William Gould (Police captain)  
    Chick Collins (Driver of armored car)  
    Lester Dorr (Reporter)  
    Jack Clifford (Sergeant on motorcycle)  
    Brooks Benedict (Gangster)  
    Jimmy Aubrey (Bum)  
    Victor Wong (Proprietor)  
    Chan Suey (Musician)  
    Mae Leung (Singer)  
    Jadine Wong (Dancer)  
    Iris Wong (Waitress)  
    Sam Hayes (Announcer)  
    Major Sam Harris (Professor)  
    Eddie Abdo (Arabian officer)  
    Hank Mann    

Summary: Hoping to unmask the psychotic jewel thief known as Metaxa, detective Mr. Moto follows archaeologist Howard Stevens, who has just discovered the crown of the Queen of Sheba, on his voyage home from Egypt to San Francisco. Moto's cover as a Japanese tourist is blown when he meets his old friend, amateur detective Archie Featherstone, whom he introduces to the Stevens and fellow passenger, Eleanor Kirke. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, jewel thieves Joe Rubla and David Perez make plans to steal the crown, but decide that they must also eliminate Moto. Upon docking in San Francisco, Stevens is met by Hendrik Manderson, the philanthropist who has financed the expedition, and Fremont museum curator Professor Hildebrand and his secretary, Susan French. As Wendling, a member of Perez' gang, follows Moto in a cab, Joe tries to steal the armored car in which the jewels are housed, but he is foiled by the police and Archie, then escapes. The next day, the crowd reconvenes at the museum for the unveiling of the crown. Archie, who has witnessed the armored car robbery, is trailed by Perez, who deliberately breaks Archie's camera in order to lure him into a death trap later that night. Back at his hotel, Moto receives an urgent call from Manderson's servant Wong, who asks the detective to meet him at a Chinatown restaurant called the Laughing Buddha. When Moto arrives at the restaurant, however, he discovers that Wong has been murdered. Archie, who is also in Chinatown, tells Moto of his plan to meet Perez later that night, but Moto, recognizing the meeting as a set-up, convinces him not to go. Instead, the pair drive to the museum, where they find Hildebrand and Manderson playing chess and the phone and alarm dead. Paul Borodoff, the insurance company investigator, then appears and tries to steal the crown for himself, but he is stopped by Mr. Moto who announces that Metaxa is in the room. Just after Moto accuses Hildebrand of being Metaxa, Rubla tries to steal the jewels, but he is arrested by the police. Moto then unmasks Manderson as the real Metaxa when he attempts to steal the crown. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Norman Foster (Dir)
  Jasper Blystone (Asst dir)
  David Hall (Asst dir)
Producer: Sol M. Wurtzel (Prod)
Writer: Philip MacDonald (Orig scr)
  Norman Foster (Orig scr)
Photography: Charles [G.] Clarke (Photog)
Art Direction: Bernard Herzbrun (Art dir)
  Haldane Douglas (Art dir)
Film Editor: Norman Colbert (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
Music: Samuel Kaylin (Mus dir)
Sound: Alfred Bruzlin (Sd)
  William H. Anderson (Sd)
Production Misc: V. L. McFadden (Prod mgr)
Country: United States
Series: Mr. Moto

Source Text: Based on the character created by John P. Marquand.
Authors: John P. Marquand

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 7/7/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP8966

PCA NO: 4649
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Detectives
  Impersonation and imposture
  Jewel thieves
  San Francisco (CA)--Chinatown
 
Subjects (Minor): Archaeologists
  Chess
  Expeditions
  Hotels
  Insurance--Investigators
  Japanese Americans
  Murder
  Museums
  Ocean liners
  Philanthropists
  Police
  Professors
  Secretaries
  Servants
  Tourists
  Traps

Note: DV credits David Hall as assistant director, but his name does not appear in other sources, and the onscreen credits list Jasper Blystone in that capacity. Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation was the last in the "Mr. Moto" series. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index and see entry below for Think Fast, Mr. Moto

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   11 Nov 38   p. 3.
Film Daily   25 Jul 39   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Aug 38   pp. 10-11.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Nov 38   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   18 Nov 38   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald   19 Nov 38   p. 44.
New York Times   19 Jun 39   p. 12.
Variety   16 Nov 38   p. 15.

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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.
 
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