BOSTON BLACKIE AND THE LAW (director: D. Ross Lederman; screenwriters: Malcolm Stuart Boylan/Jack Boyle/Harry Essex; cinematographer: George Meehan; editor: James Sweeney; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff/Saul Chaplin/Hans Sommer; cast: Chester Morris (Horatio ‘Boston Blackie’ Black), Richard Lane (Insp. John Farraday), Trudy Marshall (Irene), Constance Dowling (Dinah Moran), George E. Stone (The Runt), Frank Sully (Sergeant Matthews), Warren Ashe (John Lampau/John Jani), Ted Hecht (Harry Burton); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ted Richmond; Columbia Pictures; 1946)
“The inferior 12th entry in the entertaining lightweight Boston Blackie formulaic crime drama series.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The inferior 12th entry in the entertaining lightweight Boston Blackie formulaic crime drama series is a remake of 1942’s Alias Boston Blackie. D. Ross Lederman (“Two-Fisted Law”/”Texas Cyclone”/”Tarzan’s Revenge”)directs by going through the motions in this unexciting and totally unbelievable scripted crime story, by Harry Essex, that offers more dumb comedy than suspense.
Reformed thief Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) performs a Thanksgiving magic show at the local prison for only female prisoners and convicted murderer and thief Dinah Moran (Constance Dowling), serving a three-year stretch and about to be paroled in six months, escapes while Blackie makes her disappear in a magic box as part of the act. Blackie escapes through his magic box to avoid arrest as an accomplice from Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) and his assistant Sergeant Matthews (Frank Sully), in order to clear his name.
From the newspaper files in the library Blackie learns that Dinah was once married to a magician named John Lampau (Warren Ashe) and worked as his assistant. The couple was implicated in a $100,000 robbery, and the money was never recovered. Lampau was exonerated, while Dinah took the rap. Lampau has changed his stage name to John Jani and works with Irene (Trudy Marshall) as his replacement assistant. Irene will soon be Jani’s bride, but when Dinah escapes and comes armed with a rod looking for Lampau to get her share of the stolen loot the action picks up.
Blackie uses disguises and his real-life experience as a magician to keep this lame story line going, but it’s to no avail–this sucker just doesn’t fly.
REVIEWED ON 5/1/2012 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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