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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Begun as a Charlie Chan film ("Charlie Chan at the Ringside"), but upon difficulties between 20th Century-Fox and Chan star Warner Oland, the script was hastily rewritten to accommodate Fox's other Asian sleuth, Mr. Moto. The presence of Chan's son Lee is evidence of the grafting of one movie onto another series. Though it has been reported that Oland's death was the cause for this change from Chan to Moto, it is not the case. This film was released theatrically on 3/25/38, and Oland did not die until August 6th of that same year. See more »
During the session in his criminal investigation class, Mr. Moto says that the colloidon in the small bottle has has all the poison removed from it. Not so: colloidon is itself a deadly poison. See more »
Putting aside the racist implications of Fox's assumption that one yellowface detective is as good as another, plugging Mr. Moto into a Charlie Chan film only points out that Peter Lorre's Moto is both a more adaptable and infinitely more complex character than the stolid Chan. On one hand, it's quite out of character for the quick-witted Moto to go around mouthing lame aphorisms a la Chan, and Moto would never be as discourteous to anyone in his other films as he is to Lee Chan and his punchy sidekick Maxie Rosenbloom in this one. On the other hand, "Mr. Moto's Gamble" features a nice snappy story with more shape and suspense to it than the usual Moto scenario, and it's fun to see Moto interacting with other characters like a regular guy rather than as the enigmatic will-o-the-wisp of the earlier films. Unfortunately, the later Moto films tried to imitate the formula by giving him dopey sidekicks, which only weighed him down.
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