Bad blood exists between Bill Steele and Frankie Stanton, the leading contenders for the heavyweight title, and a grudge match is scheduled. Steele's knockout victory is tainted by his opponent's untimely death, ostensibly from a concussion caused by hitting the canvas. A post-mortem reveals that poison was somehow introduced into a cut above Stanton's eye although it is unclear how and why. Gambling might seem to be the motive as several of the principle suspects, gamblers Clipper McCoy and Nick Crowder, Stanton's shady manager Jerry Connors, and fight promoter Philip Benton, all seemed to have made wagers on the fight. Benton's spoiled daughter and female reporter Penny Kendall are vying for the affections of Steele, who is now slated to fight for the championship against pugnacious Biff Moran. Lt. Riggs of New York Homicide and Moto, who were spectators at the fight, go on the trail of the murderer following the autopsy results. Moto's prime suspect is a shadowy character named ... Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
Favorite movie-quote - "Who ever heard of a crooked cop?"
To be perfectly honest, Peter Lorre is one of those actors who has always given me the creeps, big-time. To me, Lorre has the sort of "limited" screen persona that's clearly best suited for roles where the character is either seriously unhinged and/or operating from the wrong side of the law.
In his Mr. Moto role, Lorre was neither unhinged nor of a criminal mind. On the contrary, Mr. Moto was an exceptionally brilliant professor of criminology whose deductions and quick-mindedness were positively uncanny.
In fact, Mr. Moto's cool, collected and matter-of-fact demeanour was, at times, really too much to be believed (but, after all, this was just a movie), especially since it was Lorre who played the part.
Had the story-line of this lighthearted, 1938, Whodunnit not been about the world of professional boxing (and the criminal element that gets involved when big bucks are at stake), then I doubt that it would have held my interest as much as it inevitably did.
When it comes to the likes of pugs and palookas & chumps and champs, I really enjoy early-Hollywood boxing pictures where double-crosses, treachery and taking a dive are the name of the game.
Mind you, with that said, I think this film would've faired a helluva lot better had another actor, other than Lorre, been cast in the Mr. Moto role.
Anyways - I sure did like real-life professional boxer, Max Rosenbloom, in the part of the pickpocket, "Knockout" Wellington. And at a 72-minute running time, this strictly formulaic, little Murder/Mystery certainly did move along at a nice, brisk clip.
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