Thursday 5 April 2007

Boston Blackie's Rendezvous (1945) Arthur Dreifuss

Millionaire friend Arthur Manleder rushes to see Boston Blackie because his nephew Jimmy Cook has escaped from a mental institution. Apparently they've decided that he can't be cured of his nervous condition, but he got wind of it and ran, to find dance hall hostess Sally Brown. He finds Blackie first for some bizarre reason and knocks him out but then it's off to the dance hall where he ends up killing one of the girls. He accidentally leaves behind his diary which details his unhealthy obsession with Sally.

This one's a little more flaky than many of the series, partly because the regulars are starting to change and that's never a good thing for a long running series. Walter Sande and Lloyd Corrigan were fine as Detective Mathews and Arthur Manleder but Sande was replaced by the last film by Frank Sully and Arthur was about to disappear entirely. Harrison Greene and Harry Hayden, who takes the role here, can't compare to Corrigan. However this is not the only problem. I usually enjoy the Runt but he's just annoying in this one, and much of the psychological angle doesn't make the remotest sense, from the bizarre examination scene to the whole reason for Farraday chasing Blackie. Normally that's understandable if a little over zealous but here it's just pointless. Even the disguises and banter aren't up to scratch and the blackface maid routine is just terrible.

At least the women in the film help to bring it up a little in quality. Sally Brown is played by the wonderful Dutch actress Nina Foch, who was the only decent thing to my mind about Gene Kelly's An American in Paris and is still putting in superb turns to this day, such as one as Ducky's senile mother in the series NCIS in 2006. This isn't a great part for her but she still manages to find opportunities in it. Iris Adrian warrants her decent amount of screen time as the fussbudget dance hall ticket clerk and even Adele Roberts is fine as the first victim. It's just a shame the guys couldn't keep up with them.

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