Friday 6 April 2007

Trapped By Boston Blackie (1948) Seymour Friedman

The Runt no longer has a moustache, thank goodness, but Boston Blackie's back in a turban. Private detective Joe Kenyon doesn't notice because the film starts with him and his car hurtling off a embankment to his death. Blackie was in the car at the time but survived with only scratches. They decide to help out Kenyon's wife Helen on Joe's open cases beginning with protecting a valuable pearl necklace at a party. Unfortunately they don't do much of a job given that the necklace gets stolen that very night and Inspector Farraday has Blackie at the top of his suspect list.

The more I see Blackie and the Runt in their various different disguises, the more I can't believe the blackface maid routine they got up to in Boston Blackie's Rendezvous. I don't know if the budgets were wildly different or it was something to do with the director, who changed with every single film, or what, but in some films the disguises are great and some they're terrible. Here Blackie is believable as an Indian mystic or an elderly gentleman and the Runt is even believable as his elderly wife, but the blackface thing was just embarrassing.

The embarrassing bit here was the Russian ballet maestro, Igor Borio, who dances about as well as I do, which is to say not at all. In fact he acts about well as I do too, which is hardly a recommendation for a lead suspect in a jewel robbery. It doesn't help that he walks around in a costume that looks like it got reused for the aliens in Plan 9 from Outer Space. Maybe Bunny Breckinridge would have danced better as Igor Borio.

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