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)
A tribute to Warner Oland appears in Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939), the next film in the Moto series. During the movie's production in August 1938, cast and crew learned of Oland's passing in his native Swedan (five months after the completion and release of "Mr. Moto's Gamble"). Over the title "Charlie Chan in Honolulu", on the bill of the Sultana Theatre of Variety, they placed the banner "Last Day". 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 »
Who pulled the strings to get this fight on tonight?
I plead guilty, Mr. Crowder. You see, some people save strings; I pull them.
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I'd consider this one of the better of Peter Lorre's eight Mr. Moto films, with a good story of ringside gambling and crooks. The mysterious Japanese investigator must unravel what happened when a boxer was killed during a match. This one's got a well rounded cast too, beginning with Keye Luke making an appearance as none other than Charlie Chan's son, who is enrolled in a class which Mr. Moto is teaching. Also featuring Lon Chaney Jr. as a thug, and John Hamilton (Perry White on TV's SUPERMAN), too. Former real-life boxer-turned-actor Maxie Roosenbloom is the dimwitted comic relief.
While watching and enjoying this entry I had the feeling that this was not in the same mold as previous Moto films I've seen. It was after the movie ended that I learned why via an informative bonus feature on the DVD -- MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE was originally scripted to be another Warner Oland Charlie Chan film for Fox, but Oland was having problems at the time, so the script was rebooted as a Mr. Moto film, with Peter Lorre practically doing Warner Oland.
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