|Mr. Moto's Gamble|
|Directed by||James Tinling|
Sol M. Wurtzel (uncred)
|Based on||characters created by John P. Marquand|
|Edited by||Nick DeMaggio|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Mr. Moto's Gamble is the third film in the Mr. Moto series starring Peter Lorre as the title character. It is best remembered for originating as a movie in the Charlie Chan series and being changed to a Mr Moto entry at the last minute.
In San Francisco, policeman Lieutenant Riggs (Harold Huber) takes Mr. Moto, a detective and Lee Chan (Keye Luke), a student, to a prizefight between Bill Steele (Dick Baldwin) and Frank Stanton (Russ Clark), where the winner will take on the champion, Biff Moran (Ward Bond). However, the fight is fixed and gangster Nick Crowder (Douglas Fowley) bets big money that Stanton won't make it to the fifth round. He goes down in the fourth and dies shortly afterward.
Bookie Clipper McCoy (Bernard Nedell) loses a fortune. Moto proves that it was murder and it is revealed that $100,000 was won in bets around the country against Stanton. Moto works with Lt. Riggs to solve the murder as the championship fight looms.
Comedy is provided by Wellington (Maxie Rosenbloom), a kleptomaniac, and Lee Chan. Moto promised to reveal the murderer's identity on the night of the big fight, but the murderer has plans, too, with a concealed gun, to kill Moto.
When 20th Century Fox announced the Mr Moto series, the third one was always going to be called Mr Moto's Gamble. At the same time, the studio announced three Charlie Chan movies starring Warner Oland, Charlie Chan on Broadway, Charlie Chan at College and Charlie Chan in Radio City. It was announced the studio wanted Rochelle Hudson for Mr Moto's Gamble.
Fox commenced production on a Charlie Chan film called Charlie Chan at Ringside. However Oland left the film due to illness and the production was suspended in January 1938. (In March 1938, Fox announced Oland would return to the role and appear in Charlie Chan on the Clipper Ship. However he never recovered from his illness and was unable to resume working. He died in August 1938. Sidney Toler took over the role of Charlie Chan.)
Fox had spent an estimated $100,000 on the film already when shooting had to be called off. Wanting to salvage something of the situation, Sol Wurtzel, head of Fox's B movie unit, had the script rewritten as a Mr. Moto movie. Two Charlie Chan regulars appeared in the film - Keye Luke, who plays Charlie Chan's son Lee, and Harold Huber, who plays Lt Riggs. Lee Chan is Moto's student in his criminology class at San Francisco University. Moto mentions that he has heard from Charlie Chan in Honolulu. Moto says he and the head of the homicide squad are mere amateurs compared to Charlie Chan.
This film, along with Mr. Moto in Danger Island, Mr. Moto's Last Warning, Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation and (as a DVD extra) The Return of Mr. Moto, was released on DVD in 2007 by 20th Century Fox as part of The Mr. Moto Collection, Volume Two.
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