Movies: 19854 | TV Series: 3309 | Added today: 0 | Storage: 74791 GB
|George E. Stone|
|IMDB Rating:||6.7 out of 10 (254 votes)|
|Mr. Moto's Gamble (iPod)||Resolution: 480x368 px||Total Size: 268 Mb||
|Mr. Moto's Gamble (DivX)||Resolution: 640x480 px||Total Size: 759 Mb|
Mr. Moto must discover who poisoned a fighter in the boxing ring. This movie began as Charlie Chan at the Ringside, but Warner Oland abruptly quit during filming, so it was rewritten as a Mr. Moto film.
Pretty interesting meeting of icons, as it were, I kinda liked this oneactually. Keye Luke was always a fave of mine, and putting Moto into thePalooka Joe milieu actually added something to the series mix I think. It'snot as good's the first two in the run, but not bad-and you do get to seeWard Bond doing his Tough Guy thing early on too.**1/2 outta ****
If you like Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto, you should like this movie.Unless, that is, you feel the need to get your critic's knife out andcompare it to Citizen Kane. It's a B movie, folks - there are going tobe wacky sidekicks and awkward plot twists. What you get is the usualmade-in-four-weeks murder mystery in glorious black and white, with theusual Fox suspects as actors. Yes, Slapsie is an annoying character tome, sitting here in 2009. So are many of the son characters in CharlieChan movies, but I can deal with them. At the time, B movies carried aformula, and the goofy sidekick was used as comic relief. At least theydon't' break out in song, like they did in Marx Bros. movies. If youlike this genre, you should like this movie.
Big problems here. As others have pointed out, this film started out asa Charlie Chan film, but he proved unavailable, so the studio rewroteit as a Mr. Moto caper; it even has Chan's "No. 1 Son" in a supportingrole. Watching the picture, it's very easy to imagine Charlie Chandoing and saying everything that Mr. Moto says. This film lacks themartial arts and international intrigue of the better Mr. Moto titles,thus it is not a Mr. Moto film. If you are looking for a real Mr. Motofilm, get a different movie. This one is a Charlie Chan movie, starringMr. Moto. Most unfortunate. Charlie Chan is Charlie Chan and Mr. Motois Mr. Moto; this film blurs the distinctions and should be shunned byall lovers of either detective.
Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938) *** (out of 4) Third in the Fox series has a boxer getting killed inside the ring.What first appears to be a simple accident turns out to be poison andsoon Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre) is on the case. This film in the seriesreally doesn't play out like the previous two and that's because thiswas originally intended to be a Charlie Chan movie but Oland was tooill at the time so the studio simply changed the script to Moto. Thechange really isn't too bad and this turns out to be another winner nomatter who it was originally intended for. The movie contains a nicemystery to work with and there are plenty of possible suspects that popup throughout the 72-minute running time. The gangsters and gamblersaspect was a nice one and they made for some good villains. Lorre isonce again at his very best and we also get some nice supportingperformances as well as brief appearances by George E. Stone and LonChaney, Jr.. Keye Luke, Chan's son, appears here as a student inLorre's detective class and delivers a few nice smiles. MaxieRosenbloom nearly steals the show as another student who can't help butsteal things. The movie contains a lot of fun within its short runningtime so fans of the series will find plenty to enjoy and with the mixof boxing and gambling, those not familiar with the series should enjoyit as well.
Mr. Moto's Gamble has a fairly straight forward plot - when a boxer ismurdered in the ring with a mysterious poison, it's up to the even moremysterious Mr. Moto to solve the case.I'm shocked at the number of positive reviews for Mr. Moto's Gamble onIMDb. Because to me...well, I found it extremely disappointing. I enjoyMr. Moto and I enjoy Charlie Chan, but I can't say I cared for thismish-mash of the two. For those unfamiliar with the story behind Mr.Moto's Gamble, it was originally intended to be a Charlie Chan film.But when Warner Oland backed-out, some of the scenes and action wererewritten for Peter Lorre and Mr. Moto. As I indicated, the end resultleft me underwhelmed. Mr. Moto is not Chan. He's more mysterious, he'smore athletic, and he's more exotic. So trying to put Moto in a Chanfilm is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole - it doesn'twork. And listening to Lorre/Moto try to deliver one of Chan'strademark euphemisms just ends up sounding silly. Add to that the factthat almost 10 minutes of the already brief 72 minute runtime is madeup of boxing scenes (something that I never seem to enjoy) and you endup with a movie that I couldn't help but dislike. If I have to saysomething positive I would point to the performance of Keye Luke. Buteven he's not near enough to save Mr. Moto's Gamble in my eyes.Sorry, but a 4/10 is about the best I can give this one.
Peter Lorre's Mr Moto meet Lee Chan in a mystery that has to do withthe death of a prizefighter in the ring.As everyone knows this was intended to be a Charlie Chan film but wasretooled as a Moto film when Warner Oland died and the studio wasn'tsure where to go with the series. The film as it stands is much lighterthan either of the rest of the Chan and Moto series. To me the Moto'swere never as heavy as the some of the Chan mysteries. Perhaps itsbecause the Moto series was a different sort of series, more anadventure story with a mystery Grafted on to it. Here the inclusion ofLee Chan and Maxie Rosenbloom make the film, for all it action anddanger, almost a send up. Its not a bad thing, its just somethingdifferent. And if the sense that there is any real danger is removed,its replaced by enough good hearted humor that the trade off is worthit.Is this the best of the Moto's probably not. While extremely enjoyableits not what I would call a great film. Still its worth a look foranyone who is a fan of either series.
Warner Oland made a reputation playing orientals which is what got himthe role of Erle Derr Biggers Honolulu detective in the first place.Not bad for a Swedish American actor. Unfortunately, he lost the rolein a very unexpected way. He died. Now, before you go and try to figureout who done it, don't bother. These things happen and not alwaysthrough foul play. Now, Peter Lorre had made his name playing a child murderer in a littleGerman film called "M" and that eventually brought him to the U.S. andthis Hungarian Jew was suddenly thrust into the role intended forcharacter actor J. Edward Bromberg (who coincidentally played a raja ina Moto film.) Amazingly, Loree, being the terrific actor he was becamevery believable as a Japanese detective well practiced in the art ofjiu jitsu and karate. Now I have said all that to say that Lorre's Moto was thrust into thisfilm when Olaand died and the Chan script was completed. With a littlerewrite, it became the picture I am reviewing here, and it is a doozy.It even has the wonderful character actor John Hamilton (later to befamous as Perry White of the Daily Planet on the "Superman" TV series)as one of his many mayor/D.A./warden/person in authority role/ With theable comic relief of Keye Luke's number one son and over-sized,cauliflower pug 'Slapsy' Maxie Rosenbloom, and a dandy mystery.Now, I won't give you a spoiler here, but I will tell you that if youhave watched enough whodunits as I have, you will see the same mysterykickers replayed dozens of times, or at least a couple. This particularmurder puzzle I saw no less than three times counting this one. Once ina syndicated "The New Adventures of Charlie Chan" series starring J.Carroll Naish (another character actor who played all sorts of ethnicsother than his own ethnic background) another TV show called "Burke'sLaw," and still another TV show featuring detective "Ellery Queen"played by the always talented late, great Jim Hutton.And it all happens in a boxing ring. Just watch the film and have funwith it. After all, we're not talking Shakespeare here. Just good, funbloodless murder and fun characters you'll enjoy for company. I give ita 7 out of ten stars for that.
Although originally intended as a Chan film maybe not surprisingly it'seasy to switch to Moto Mode and enjoy what we've got. Not being aboxing fan is much harder to overcome!A boxer is murdered mid-fight, under the eyes of the multitude andespecially Moto's pair of roving eyes, the job is on to find whodunitand how. Peter Lorre was excellent as usual, even hampered with comedyduo no.2 Chan son Lee and kleptomaniac Knockout Wellington. Favouritebit : where someone shouts "Whoever heard of a crooked cop?" andeveryone laughs uproariously - in disbelief! The best thing about thisMoto though is the never ending stream of then current Fox backgroundactors appearing, from Doug Fowley, chunky Cliff Clark, George E. StoneÂ even Lon Chaney Jr down to Paul Fix, Ward Bond, Fred Kelsey Â why,everyone at the studio was here except Warner Oland!A nice series entry [3/8], all well worth watching if you're a fan ofthe genre like me.
Asian detectives, as far as 20th Century Fox was concerned, areinterchangeable, so producers had no trouble turning this Charlie Chanfilm into a Mr. Moto one. Apparently there was some sort of problembetween Fox and the current Chan, Warner Oland, so they did a switch. Iknow 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 investigationand who should one of his students be but Lee Chan (Keye Luke). Andit'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'sknocked out in the ring, but it turns out the man was murdered withpoison 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.
I'd consider this one of the better of Peter Lorre's eight Mr. Motofilms, with a good story of ringside gambling and crooks. Themysterious Japanese investigator must unravel what happened when aboxer was killed during a match. This one's got a well rounded casttoo, beginning with Keye Luke making an appearance as none other thanCharlie Chan's son, who is enrolled in a class which Mr. Moto isteaching. Also featuring Lon Chaney Jr. as a thug, and John Hamilton(Perry White on TV's SUPERMAN), too. Former real-lifeboxer-turned-actor Maxie Roosenbloom is the dimwitted comic relief.While watching and enjoying this entry I had the feeling that this wasnot in the same mold as previous Moto films I've seen. It was after themovie ended that I learned why via an informative bonus feature on theDVD -- MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE was originally scripted to be another WarnerOland Charlie Chan film for Fox, but Oland was having problems at thetime, so the script was rebooted as a Mr. Moto film, with Peter Lorrepractically doing Warner Oland.
Those familiar with the background of this movie know that it startedout as "Charlie Chan at Ringside", and was hastily re-cast when WarnerOland died. Keye Luke maintained his role as Number #1 Son Lee Chan,and Harold Huber appeared as head of the homicide department, similarto the roles he played in a pair of Chan films just prior to "Mr.Moto's Gamble". They included a New York City police inspector (CharlieChan on Broadway), and a French police officer (Charlie Chan at MonteCarlo). In this outing he plays it just a bit straighter, though hischaracter gets a little erratic as the film progresses.What was interesting to me was how the film makers managed to get in areference to Charlie Chan, as son Lee extends his regards to Mr. Motofrom his 'pop', and Moto graciously praises the masterful work of thesenior detective. All the while I was trying to catch a hint ofrecognition in Keye Luke's facial manner for a reaction to Oland'spassing, but that did not materialize.Also interesting, and maybe more so, was the way this film maintainedthe continuity of the early Twentieth Century Fox series of CharlieChan films. The movie completed by Warner Oland and Keye Luke justprior to this one was "Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo", and in that story,Lee Chan had a painting on exhibition in Paris. In 'Gamble', Lee is anaspiring detective taking one of Mr. Moto's classes, however officiallyhe's enrolled as a university art student. I always found those subtleand clever inserts into the pictures to heighten my enjoyment of thefilms.As for the story itself, Mr. Moto becomes involved in the 'poisonglove' killing at the request of Lieutenant Riggs (Huber), and is onlytoo happy to oblige. He solves the crime in a more linear fashion thanCharlie Chan would have, with enough clues along the way to help theviewer hone in on the killer - "To reveal a snake one must overturn arock". Along the way, 'Slapsie' Maxie Rosenbloom provides some comicrelief as a scatterbrained kleptomaniac, and it was cool to see WardBond as boxing champ Biff Moran.There was one element though that just didn't make sense. When it wasagreed to lift boxer Steele's (Dick Baldwin) suspension so he couldfight for the world title, THAT VERY SAME NIGHT!!!, newspaper headlinesaround the country carried the story! Just how fast could news possiblytravel back in the 1930's? Hey, when was the last time you could get ringside seats to a mainevent for $4.40? Obviously 1938, but you'd pay more for a hot dog atthe matches today."Mr. Moto's Gamble" was the third installment in the Moto series atFox, and once again, Peter Lorre blends his insightful analysis andmartial arts skill into an effective effort. You might feel at timeshe's putting up with the clunkiness of Lee Chan and detective Riggs,which is what Charlie Chan would have had to do, but in the end youhave a satisfying story that paces solid detective work in a sportssetting.
Putting aside the racist implications of Fox's assumption that oneyellowface detective is as good as another, plugging Mr. Moto into a CharlieChan film only points out that Peter Lorre's Moto is both a more adaptableand 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 mouthinglame aphorisms a la Chan, and Moto would never be as discourteous to anyonein his other films as he is to Lee Chan and his punchy sidekick MaxieRosenbloom in this one. On the other hand, "Mr. Moto's Gamble" features anice snappy story with more shape and suspense to it than the usual Motoscenario, and it's fun to see Moto interacting with other characters like aregular guy rather than as the enigmatic will-o-the-wisp of the earlierfilms. Unfortunately, the later Moto films tried to imitate the formula bygiving him dopey sidekicks, which only weighed him down.
In the first two Mr. Moto films, Moto was a complex and rather amoralman. If someone tried to kill him, often Moto killed that personinstead. Additionally, you weren't always sure who Moto worked for orhis motivations. I liked this, as it made his character a bitmysterious and quite a bit unlike the studio's other Asian crimefighter, Charlie Chan. However, with MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE the transitionto a Charlie Chan clone has occurred. Why? Well the answer is that thisfilm originally WAS a Charlie Chan film and shortly into shooting itwas obvious that Warner Oland (Chan) was not emotionally fit enough tofinish the film. So, instead of scrapping the film, they just alteredit slightly to make it a Moto film.So was this a successful move by the studio? Well, in some waysdefinitely not. The comic relief for the film was provided by Max'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom--playing a guy even more annoying andunrealistic than Mantan Moreland would play in the later Charlie Chanfilms. Frankly, I hated Rosenbloom in the film because he detractedfrom the mystery with his antics. Additionally, it seemed very strangefor the Japanese detective to be teamed with Charlie's #1 Son, Lee Chan(Keye Luke). In fact, you will probably notice that Moto treats Leepretty much the way Charlie did and it just feels odd. And, since Motowas essentially playing Chan, he had much less to do in this film thanin previous ones. Like Chan, he was NOT the focal point of the film andaside from a couple judo flips, you'd barely notice him in the film. Inessence, Mr. Moto was dead.Despite this obviously being a Chan film (and second-rate due to thedominant presence of Rosenbloom), the film is still prettygood--provided you don't mind that it's not a Moto movie. The mysteryitself isn't bad (though the squirt gun angle was pretty dumb) and thefilm worked pretty well. While the mechanical gun at the end was overlycomplex, how Moto used this was pretty neat. Overall, I give it a 6.It's interesting and fun but suffers a severe case of too muchRosenbloom and multiple personality disorder! By the way, there are some famous faces buried within the film. WardBond (famous for his many appearances in support of John Wayne) playsthe Champion, George E. Stone ('Runt' from the Boston Blackie films)and a young Lon Chaney, Jr. is in a bit role.For more on how this film came to be, watch the DVD extra includedalong with MR. MOTO'S GAMBLE. MR. MOTO MEETS MR. CHAN is indispensablefor die-hard fans like myself to understand the very troubled processthrough which this film was made.
Interesting back story. This third installment of the Mr. Moto serieswas originally to be a Charlie Chan movie; but many circumstancesinvolving Warner Oland caused the Chan feature to be scrapped. Mr.Moto(Peter Lorre)is conducting a criminology class and one of hisstudents happens to be Lee Chan(Keye Luke). The young Chan and anotherstudent, 'Knock-Out Wellington'(Maxie Rosenbloom),help the Japanesesleuth Moto investigate the murder of a prizefighter. The victim ispoisoned during a boxing match; local investigator Lt. Riggs(HaroldHuber)needs all the help he can get to solve this mystery. Newspaperwriter Penny Kendall(Lynn Bari)starts a campaign to clear championshipcontender Bill Steele(Dick Baldwin)from the murder charges. It issuspected the real killer will strike again during the championshipbout between Steele and the current champ Biff Moran(Ward Bond). Mototakes on some of the characteristics of Charlie Chan since the originalscript wasn't changed that much. It is a bit different seeing Moto withhis physical antics toned down. But gumshoe Kentaro Moto will get tocontinue solving mysteries. Other players: Jayne Regan, John Hamilton,George E. Stone and Lon Chaney Jr. It should be noted this film isdirected by familiar Chan series director James Tinling.