KING OF GAMBLERS. Paramount Pictures, 1937. Claire Trevor, Lloyd Nolan, Akim Tamiroff, Larry Crabbe. Helen Burgess, Barlowe Borland. Based on an unknown story by Tiffany Thayer. Director: Robert Florey.

   You’d have to call this a gangster movie, but most of the overt gangster-like violence takes place in the first eight minutes, as bomb goes off in a barber shop whose owner is balking at stocking the latest model slot machines. Two young children are killed, and gambler, suave night club owner, and mob boss Steve Kalkas (Akim Tamiroff) is beginning to feel the heat.

   To which he has an immediate answer. He’s a hands-on sort of mob boss, and there is a reason he always keeps a gun in his office desk drawer.

   But no. What the movie really is is a three-way romance between Kalkos, a night club singer named Dixie Moore (Claire Trevor), and a newspaper reporter by the name of Jim Adams (Lloyd Nolan). Dixie is blissfully unaware of Kalkos’s true attentions to her, but Adams is not quite so slow in catching on.

   It’s too bad that Lloyd Nolan’s character is out of town for much of the middle part of the book, or their love affair might have been consummated a lot sooner, as well as Kalkos’s final fate.

   I’m in line second to none when it comes to watching a movie with either Claire Trevor or Lloyd Nolan in it, but in my opinion, Akim Tamiroff walks off with the high acting honors in his one. He’s both unctuously outgoing when he wants to be, but that’s on the outside. Inside, whenever he needs to be, he can also be as viciously cruel as any other crime boss in town.

   This seems to be a movie that’s until recently has been hard to find. [See Comment #1.] Luckily someone did, and someone, that person or someone else, has put it up on YouTube. Enjoy this one while you can.

PS.   Larry Crabbe is also in this one, without the Buster, and boy, in a tuxedo and sporting a nifty mustache, does he make a great right hand man for Mr. Tamiroff. Who would have thought?