Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939)
On April 7, 1939, Twentieth Century-Fox released the seventh of eight Mr. Moto “B” movies. Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939) begins with Mr. Moto on a ship headed to Puerto Rico. Mr. Moto, played by Peter Lorre, and several passengers are watching a wrestling match.
Twister McGurk, played by Warren Hymer, is wrestling Sailor Sam, played by Ward Bond. Mr. Moto tells Joan Castle, played by Amanda Duff, not to be frightened by the match as it is mostly theatrics. Sailor Sam takes offense at the remarks, is distracted and pinned by Twister McGurk.
Sailor Sam drags Mr. Moto into the ring. However, Mr. Moto deftly dispatches Sailor Sam with Japanese Jujitsu. It was watching this film as a kid, which made me aware of the Japanese form of the art. Mr. Moto’s exhibition impresses Twister McGurk, who asks Mr. Moto to teach him. However, Mr. Moto faints from what seems to be appendicitis.
Once the ship arrives in Puerto Rico, Mr. Moto’s ambulance is hijacked by criminals intending to dispose of Mr. Moto. Fortunately, Mr. Moto anticipated this situation. Island authorities arrived as Mr. Moto and Twister, who refused to be separated from Mr. Moto, fight off the criminals.
Mr. Moto soon discovers that diamond smugglers are responsible for the crime spree on the island. He and Twister must discover their leader before more people are killed.
Warren Hymer generally played sidekicks and henchman, most of whom weren’t known for their intelligence, during his film career. Hymer was born on February 25, 1906 in New York City, New York. He was not destined to live long as he died on March 25, 1948 of a stomach ailment at only 42 years of age. In his short career, he played roles in 128 films.
While this film was seventh in a series of eight films, Mr. Moto in Danger Island is perhaps the best film. Running a brisk 70 minutes, it is an easy to watch and entertaining film.