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Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Alias Boston Blackie (1942) Lew Landers

It's Christmas and Boston Blackie is taking the troupe from the Castle Theater to prison to put on a show for the boys inside. However he unwittingly provides the means for an escape: Roggi the clown goes in and Joe the innocent convict comes out. He's not trying to get away, merely aiming for revenge on the two guys who sent him up. Blackie has to help him out without helping him out, so as to get him back into prison without getting locked up himself.

I already know that Chester Morris is Boston Blackie all the way to film fourteen and George E Stone is the Runt for the rest of the series too, but now I realise that Lloyd Corrigan is a recurring character too. He's Arthur Manleder, a rich friend of Blackie's who spends lots of money and caused plenty of plot twists in the last movie by buying a fake statue. He's here too and a quick check shows me that he's in five of them, all told. He's only in this one briefly, but he gets about as much screen time as an uncredited Lloyd Bridges as a bus driver.

The script here isn't bad and the actors don't disappoint, but the film has none of the zip, humour or finesse of the previous entry in the series. Confessions of Boston Blackie rose above its station to be an excellent little pulp mystery, deserving of far more credit than most entries in detective series of the forties. This one is merely an OK story that can't help but be a pale shadow. The Boston Blackie films were promising: I hope they don't lapse into mediocrity.

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