Friday 6 April 2007

Boston Blackie and the Law (1946) D Ross Lederman

It's the Annual Thanksgiving Party at the Women's State Penitentiary, so generic that it doesn't have a name, and Boston Blackie is on stage showing off his magic skills. Unfortunately he makes a beautiful but scary prisoner disappear a little too well and she takes the opportunity to break out, leading him straight back to Inspector Farraday's office. What follows is a scene with a disappearing cabinet that has been done so many times that I'm amazed I enjoyed it. I doubt this was the original but it was done with the professionality that was missing in the last couple of movies. It also gives Frank Sully the opportunity to stamp his name onto the part of Mathews and it's the first time he's impressed me at all.

Other than that, you can imagine the rest of the plot. Dinah Moran, the disappearing prisoner, turns out to be a former magician's assistant, and Blackie needs to find her to clear his name. What's new is that the Runt has grown a moustache which makes him look a lot older. Maybe it's because Chester Morris had started to get noticeably older over the last couple of films and the Runt looking older makes Blackie look younger again.

Morris does appear much better in this one, both as Blackie and under various disguises. He certainly makes a much better John Jani, turbanned magician, than the blackface cleaning woman from the last film! Unfortunately it's all mostly just a recycled version of Alias Boston Blackie with different character names. There's not enough complexity to really keep interest and only the banter of the regulars keeps it worthwhile. They are much better here than they have been for a while but that's really not much to hang an entire film on.

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