AFTER MIDNIGHT WITH BOSTON BLACKIE
(director: Lew Landers; screenwriters: Jack Boyle/Howard J. Green/story by Aubrey Wisberg; cinematographer: L. William O’Connell; editor: Richard Fantl; music: Herb Magidson; cast: Chester Morris (Horatio ‘Boston Blackie’ Black), Richard Lane (Insp. John Farraday), Walter Sande (Sergeant Mathews), Ann Savage (Betty Barnaby), George E. Stone (The Runt), Lloyd Corrigan (Arthur Manleder), Cy Kendall (Joe Herschel), Al Hill (Sammy Walsh), George McKay (Marty Beck), Walter Baldwin (Diamond Ed Barnaby), Jan Buckingham (Dixie Rose Blossom), Dick Elliott (Justice of Peace Potts); Runtime: 64; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sam White; Columbia Pictures; 1943)
“One of the better in the Boston Blackie series of minor comical crime dramas.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
One of the better in the Boston Blackie series of minor comical crime dramas, that’s cast with a bunch of colorful Runyonesque characters. Veteran B film director Lew Landers (“The Raven”/”The Boogie Man Will Get You”/”The Return of the Vampire”)keeps it snappy and moving as fast as a pickpocket working the crowd at Belmont Park.
After serving a long stretch for a diamond heist, safecracker Diamond Ed Barnaby (Walter Baldwin) is paroled from prison and contacts his pretty grown daughter Betty (Ann Savage) to meet him in the city. Dad tells her that he’s in danger from his old gang–Joe Herschel, Sammy Walsh and Marty Beck (Cy Kendall, Al Hill and George McKay)–and must leave town, but wants her to meet him in a few days at the Arcade Building, where he placed the stolen diamonds in a safe deposit box. Diamond Ed plans to give his daughter the not recovered diamonds from the heist, but fails to show when his old gang kidnaps him and forces him to spill the beans where he hid the gems. Gang leader Herschel, the owner of the Flamingo Club, discovers that Diamond Ed, despite being tied up phoned the police, and thereby kills him.
When dad fails to show, a worried Betty contacts dad’s trusted friend Boston Blackie (Chester Morris), a reformed ex-con now working as a private detective, to help locate him. Keeping tabs on Boston Blackie and his loyal partner Runt (George E. Stone) are the dim-witted Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) and his even dumber assistant Sergeant Mathews (Walter Sande). The cops believe Boston Blackie might have bumped off Diamond Ed and hidden the body, and he might be in possession of the stolen diamonds.
For comic relief, Runt is set to marry fast-talking showgal Dixie Rose Blossom (Jan Buckingham) in the penthouse apartment of eccentric millionaire Arthur Manleder (Lloyd Corrigan), but the wedding keeps getting pushed back as Runt bolts from the ceremony each time he’s called upon to help his boss locate the missing safecracker.
True to the formulaic presentation of the series, Boston Blackie neatly wraps up things in just over an hour.
REVIEWED ON 4/23/2012 GRADE: B