July 6, 2013

Summer Film Series Includes Mr. Moto

For the 16th annual University of the Pacific Summer Film Series, organizer Tom Connor includes Peter Lorre as the Japanese detective Mr. Moto in Mr. Moto’s Last Warning (1938), the only one of the eight Moto films in the public domain.

The film will be shown on Saturday, July 6, in the Janet Leigh Theater at the University of the Pacific. The doors open at 6:30 pm. The program begins at 7 pm, and includes newsreels, trailers, and cartoons – the features moviegoers in 1938 would have enjoyed when Mr. Moto’s Last Warning was originally shown in cinemas.

Students, faculty, and staff of the University of the Pacific may attend for free. Admission is $3 for University alumni. General admission for adults and children is $5.

The University of the Pacific is located at 3601 Pacific Avenue, in Stockton, California. The Janet Leigh Theater in located in the McCaffrey Center complex in the center of the Stockton campus.

Parking lots 31 and 32 are located closest to the Janet Leigh Theatre. A campus map is available on the University website.

The Summer Film Series runs until August 17, 2013. The full schedule may be found on the University website.

In The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre (2005), Stephen D. Youngkin details the making of the Mr. Moto series of movies at 20th Century-Fox from 1937 to 1939, including interviews with Norman Foster, who directed six of the eight films, co-stars Leon Ames and Chick Chandler, and stuntman Harvey Parry, who doubled Peter in all the judo and fight sequences.

Considering Moto a welcome change from the villain roles he was usually assigned, Peter initially loved playing the diminutive hero – but his interest disappeared as the series wore on, and he found himself appearing as Moto and no one else, including Moto sketches on several radio shows of the period.

All eight of the Mr. Moto movies have been remastered and released in two box-sets, which include several documentaries on the series, the Moto character, and Peter Lorre. More information about ordering the Moto films may be found in the DVD-VHS section of The Lost One website.

The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre is available through University Press of Kentucky in both hard-bound and soft-bound, as well as the Kindle and Nook.


Fredrik said...

Cool that you should write about Mr. Moto's Last Warning at this specific time. I just today published a post about that same movie at my own blog, Silver in a Haystack. Except for Lorre himself, the main reason why I like the Mr. Moto films is the connection with jiujitsu (which I practice). Some day, I should like to write more on the subject, but my blog post is a modest beginning.

Cheryl Morris said...

Thank you for your comment, Fredrik. I read your blog entry. I'm a big Mr. Moto fan myself. My favorite Moto film is Thank You, Mr. Moto. I also have the two box-sets I mentioned of all the remastered Moto films. Really worth having -- especially since the public domain print of Mr. Moto's Last Warning is very poor.