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Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938)

Passed | | Crime, Mystery | 7 April 1938 (USA)
When the #1 heavyweight contender is mysteriously poisoned during a bout, Moto knows that identifying the gambler who placed large bets against him is the key to solving the murder.


James Tinling


Charles Belden (original screenplay), Jerome Cady (original screenplay) (as Jerry Cady) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Lorre ... Mr. Moto
Keye Luke ... Lee Chan
Dick Baldwin ... Bill Steele
Lynn Bari ... Penny Kendall
Douglas Fowley ... Nick Crowder
Jayne Regan ... Linda Benton
Harold Huber ... Lt. Riggs
Maxie Rosenbloom ... Wellington
John Hamilton ... Philip Benton
George E. Stone ... Connors
Bernard Nedell ... Clipper McCoy
Charles Williams Charles Williams ... Gabby Marden
Ward Bond ... Biff Moran
Cliff Clark Cliff Clark ... McGuire
Eddie Marr ... Sammy (as Edward Marr)


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 (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TRAGEDY STRIKES THE ARENA AS FISTIC CHAMPIONS FALL BEFORE UNSEEN GLOVES! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Lindsey Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - April 21, 1938 - all caps)


Crime | Mystery


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The fourth Moto to be produced (Jan-Feb 1938). See more »


While the minimum weight now for a heavyweight is 200lbs, at the time of the film it was 175lbs. Thus when the boxers are announced as 179lbs and 194lbs they are actually over the required minimum weight for their category. See more »


Lee Chan: [arriving late and in a hurry] We want two good seats down front!
Ticket Seller: Sorry, we're sold out.
Horce 'Knock-Out' Wellington: He's sold out?
[to the ticket taker]
Horce 'Knock-Out' Wellington: Do you know who we are?
Ticket Seller: [laconically, as he closes down the ticket window] Sure, a couple of guys that ain't gonna see the fight.
See more »


Follows Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937) See more »

User Reviews

can't help it - I love Peter Lorre
3 December 2012 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Asian detectives, as far as 20th Century Fox was concerned, are interchangeable, so producers had no trouble turning this Charlie Chan film into a Mr. Moto one. Apparently there was some sort of problem between Fox and the current Chan, Warner Oland, so they did a switch. I know some people state the film was switched because Warner Oland died, but he didn't die until five months after this film was released.

Anyway, Mr. Moto is teaching a class in the science of investigation and who should one of his students be but Lee Chan (Keye Luke). And it's quite a cast: Lynn Bari, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, John Hamilton (Perry White from the TV Superman), Ward Bond, and Lon Chaney Jr.

Moto becomes involved in the death of a prize fighter after he's knocked out in the ring, but it turns out the man was murdered with poison on the opponent's glove.

Peter Lorre is just terrific, and while this isn't the greatest Mr. Moto film ever made, he's wonderful. Unfortunately, after Pearl Harbor, Mr. M kind of disappeared.

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Release Date:

7 April 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Moto's Diary See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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