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Wednesday, 4 April 2007

After Midnight with Boston Blackie (1943) Lew Landers

It's been a while since I saw the first our Boston Blackie movies about Horatio Black, ex-jewellery thief and now circumstance driven detective making fools out of the police on a regular basis. Here he's brought into prominence because of a friend of his, Diamond Ed Barnaby, has been released from prison and is now being chased for three diamonds that are apparently rightfully his but very much wanted by the underworld. As Blackie was the one person he could trust she tracks him down when he mysteriously disappears. Blackie is busy delivering the Runt to Arthur Manleder's house to get married to a burlesque dancer called Dixie Rose Blossom, but can't resist the opportunity to help out and get arrested for murder in the meantime.

There's plenty of fun here, with Blackie playing with Inspector Farraday and Detective Mathews incessantly and enthusiastically. Matthews gets to be a little too stupid on occasion but he's getting better. Cy Kendall is a great villain, playing the large and dangerous Joe Herschel; Jan Buckingham looks scarily real as Dixie Rose Blossom, who has a memorable wedding day for sure; and the leading lady is Ann Savage, a couple of years before Detour and not many before she'd retire from acting for over thirty years. She gets to do almost nothing here except look good but then she's hardly the point of the film.

The story is solid and all the regular hands were getting really used to their roles by now: not just Chester Morris as Blackie, but also George E Stone as the Runt, Richard Lane as Farraday, Walter Sande as Mathews and Lloyd Corrigan as Arthur Manleder. When the only real downside to this one is the lack of believable backdrops because the budget wouldn't allow for them, we're definitely on a winning entry in the series.

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