(director: William Castle; screenwriter: Paul Yawitz/characters by Jack Boyle; cinematographer: Ernie Miller; editor: Jerome Thoms; music: M. W. Stoloff; cast: Chester Morris (Boston Blackie), (Nails Blanton), (Red Taggart), George E Stone (The Runt), Arthur Manleder (Lloyd Corrigan), Erik Rolf(Dooley Watson), Jeanne Bates (Mary Watson), Larry Joe Olsen (Johnny Watson), Cy Kendall (Jumbo Madigan), Richard Lane (Inspector Farraday), Walter Sande (Sgt. Matthews), Pierre Watkin (Governor Rutledge); Runtime: 66; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Wallace MacDonald; Columbia; 1943-B/W)

A second-rate programmer on the Boston Blackie serial.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A second-rate programmer on the Boston Blackie series. This was one of 14 made by Columbia Pictures. Though its story sucks, the plot is not believable and the acting is leaden, at least it’s lively. It’s written by Paul Yawitz and directed by the future horror film maven in his directorial debut, William Castle (“The Old Dark House”/”The Whistler”), as a wartime tale that is absolutely crackers and full of patriotic flag waiving. Reformed safecracker and Good Samaritan Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) talks the governor (Pierre Watkin) into putting 12 convicts in his custody so they can catch a break and the country will get some hardworking defense plant workers for the war effort. In this experimental prison release program, the convict workers will live with Blackie and work as welders at Blackie’s wealthy friend Arthur Manleder’s (Lloyd Corrigan) tool and dye factory. On the first day of work, one of the convicts Dooley Watkins (Erik Rolf) is a no show. When this is discovered by Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane), Blackie rushes back to his apartment to bring Dooley to work. He finds Dooley huddled together with his wife (Jeanne Bates) and son (Larry Joe Olsen), as he tells his pal that that his two never arrested heist partners, Red Taggart (John Harmon) and Nails Blanton (Douglas Fowley), came for their cut of the $60,000 stolen payroll money. It seems Dooley located the stashed stolen loot while on parole and wanted to run away with it but was dissuaded by his wife. The two partner thugs try to get the money from Dooley and pull guns on him. In the fracas, Red gets killed by Dooley in self-defense and Nails flees. Blackie, with the help of his aid, The Runt (George E Stone), despite falsely confessing he murdered Red and after returning to the cop the stolen money, escapes and goes on the hunt to catch Nails to make him confess how he threatened Dooley and family to get the money that Dooley was set to return.