As originally created by author John P. Marquand, the character of International Police Agent Mr. Moto was an icy and distinctly lethal Japanese agent; 20th Century-Fox, which had earlier created the extremely popular Charlie Chan series, toned down his more deadly qualities, cast German actor Peter Lorre in the role, and between 1937 and 1939 made eight films featuring him. It was not until American sentiment began to turn against the Japanese that 20th Century-Fox dropped the character.
Made in 1939, MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING is the sixth film in the series, and it finds Moto (Lorre) foiling an attempt to blow up the French fleet as it enters an English-controlled canal in the Middle East. Considered one of the best of the Moto series, it is graced with a gifted cast that includes George Sanders, John Carradine, and Ricardo Cortez. The plot bristles with bad hats rubbing shoulders with innocent Westerners in a strange land. High production values compliment an interesting if far-fetched storyline.
The film is a studio's back-lot dream with terrific sets mimicing all sorts of exotic locales from sleazy back streets to steam ships to vaudeville theatres and dockside hideouts. There's even an amazing underwater sequence with John Carradine being sent to his death via a vintage diving bell.