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Boxer Frankie Stanton (Ross Clark) is killed in the ring during a
fight, and it soon turns out that he didn't die because his opponent Bill
Steele (Dick Baldwin) was hitting that hard but because his glove carried
some sort of poison. Steele is arrested on the spot for murder, but
Japanese super-detective Mr Moto (Peter Lorre) is in the audience, and he
soon comes to the conclusion that the poison was shot onto the glove by a
spectator via a spraygun ... the question remains, by whom?
Crowler (Douglas Fowley), an underworld figure who has won a heap of money
betting on the fight, bookie Clipper (Bernard Nedell), who has lost a lot
of money because of Stanton's death, but might have been re-insured,
reigning champion Biff Moran (Ward Bond), who might have been wanting to
get rid of the competition, and who knows who else.
Together with police
Lt Riggs (Harold Huber), Moto does some investigating, and they find out
that a certain man has placed quite a number of out-of-town bets on
Steele, and now must have won a fortune, but once they have tracked down
the man, they find him dead - and thus come to the conclusion that he must
have been the front for someone else.
Moto figures it might be the best
idea to set up a fight between Steele and Biff Moran - and the killer,
whoever he is, sets up a deathtrap that is supposed to kiill Moto right
during the fight, a gun placed under the boxing ring that aims at Moto's
head to go off at a pre-set time. Then though, Moto offers his seat to
Linda (Jayne Regan), daughter of the fight's promoter Benton (John
Hamilton) ... and eventually, Benton gets so worked up by this that he
turns of the timer and this way gives himself away - and it turns out that
Moto knew it was him all along but he needed him giving himself away to
prove his guilt. The gun was long unloaded by the way.
Chan's Number One Son Keye Luke and former championship boxer
Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom provide the comic relief.
murder mystery of the Oriental supersleuth variety that is much more
interesting for its origins than its actual qualities: You see, Mr. Moto's
Gamble actually started life as a Charlie
Chan-flick, but when Charlie Chan-actor Warner Oland fell ill
prior to making this, it was hastily rewritten as a Mr. Moto-movie,
even leaving Chan's Number One Son in the story even though his narrative
necessity is questionable at best. This all proves above everything else
how interchangeable Oriental detectives have become in the late 1930's
(only on film, of course), and how serialized B-murder mysteries have
And what's all of this saying about the film at hand?
much, but probably as much: If you like 1930's murder mysteries, this is
your typical, average effort, nothing great, but no worse than any number
of similar films.