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Alias Boston Blackie

Alias Boston Blackie(1942)

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Alias Boston Blackie (1942)

As created by author Jack Boyle, crime-solver Boston Blackie began in 1914 as a safecracker who uses opium, but by his first silent film adventure in 1918 he had become an ex-criminal who solves crimes. Detective comedy-mysteries were so popular in 1940 that Columbia revived the franchise, with Chester Morris taking on the role, aided by scripts that gave him a constant supply of wisecracks. Morris's third adventure Alias Boston Blackie (1942) teams our hero with his usual cohorts. Trusted sidekick 'The Runt' (George E. Stone) always complains that he can't get enough sleep. Blackie's carefree wealthy pal Arthur Manleder (Lloyd Corrigan) provides assists as well. Blackie's comic nemesis is Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane), the cop who never believes Blackie has reformed, and whose signature line is, 'Whoa, Nellie!' This time out Blackie accompanies a show troupe on a special Christmas performance at his former residence, the State Pen. When convict Joe Trilby (Larry Parks) escapes by changing identities with a clown, Blackie is falsely implicated as well. As is the formula, Blackie maintains a lighthearted attitude while evading Farraday's cops and trying to prevent Joe from being killed by the crooks that framed him. Adele Mara plays a dancer who helps Blackie zero in on the real villain. Critics were unimpressed with the mystery but enjoyed the snappy jokes in Paul Yawitz's script and praised Lew Landers' speedy direction. The series would continue for seven more years and eleven feature films before eventually moving to radio, and then becoming a TV show starring Kent Taylor.

By Glenn Erickson

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