ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (director: Lew Landers; screenwriter: Paul Yawitz/Jack Boyle; cinematographer: Philip Tannura; editor: Richard Fantl; music: ; cast: Chester Morris (Boston Blackie), Richard Lane (Inspector Farraday), George E. Stone (Runt), Larry Parks (Joe Trilby), Adele Mara (Eve Sanders), George McKay (Roggi McKay), Walter Sande (Detective Matthews), Lloyd Corrigan (Arthur Manleder), Paul Fix (Steve Caveroni), Cy Kendall (Jumbo Madigan), Ben Taggart (Warden); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Wallace MacDonald; Columbia; 1942)
“Muddled B film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Muddled B film about reformed safecracker Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) turned crimefighter doing a few good deeds on Christmas Eve, as he returns to the prison he did time in a long time ago to put on a variety show for the inmates. Prolific mediocre director Lew Landers(“The Boogie Man Will Get You”/”The Return of the Vampire”/”The Raven”)fumbles around with this weak entry in the series, the third, while handicapped with a rotten script by Paul Yawitz.
Eve Sanders (Adele Mara) is the star dancer of the troupe and her brother Joe Trilby (Larry Parks) is an inmate at the prison, where the show is being presented. Joe was sentenced to 15 years for a jewelry store stick-up and has served two years, but insists he was framed by two men. Feeling his appeals are going nowhere, Joe engineers an escape to get even with the men who framed him, as he overcomes the clown Roggi (George McKay) and leaves him bound in a prison room while he performs the clown’s part for the show. Joe then escapes dressed as the clown, as the troupe leaves the prison by bus and returns to NYC.
When Blackie and his reformed ex-con assistant Runt (George E. Stone) discover that morning that Joe escapes and plans to gun down the two wise guys who framed him, Blackie puts his rep on the line as he tracks Joe down trying to get him to return to jail and fight for his innocence through legal means. But it’s too late, as one of the men, Duke Blanton, was gunned down by the other double-crosser Steve Caveroni (Paul Fix). Eventually the truth of Joe’s innocence comes out, as Blackie leads Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) to the hotel where Steve killed Duke for also trying to double-cross him and is tricked by Blackie into confessing that Joe was framed for the heist.
REVIEWED ON 4/3/2012 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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