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TRAPPED BY BOSTON BLACKIE(director: Seymour Friedman; screenwriters: Edward Bock/Jack Boyle/Charles R. Marion/Maurice Tombragel; cinematographer: Philip Tannura; editor: Dwight Caldwell; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Chester Morris (Horatio ‘Boston Blackie’ Black), June Vincent (Doris Bradley), Richard Lane (Inspector Farraday), Frank Sully (Sgt. Matthews), Patricia Barry (Joan Howell), Edward Norris (Igor Borio), George E. Stone (The Runt), Sarah Selby (Claire Carter), William Forrest (Mason Carter), Fay Baker (Sandra Doray), Mary Currier (Helen Kenyon), Ben Welden (Lou Gehrig, the fence); Runtime: 67; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Rudolph C. Flothow; Columbia Pictures; 1948)
“For a film that’s not a gem it manages to sparkle in spots.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A lively one in the Boston Blackie series. The twelfth and penultimate Blackie is nicely scripted by Edward Bock, Jack Boyle, Charles R. Marion and Maurice Tombragel. Veteran B film director Seymour Friedman (“African Manhunt”/”Secret of Treasure Mountain”/”Loan Shark”) keeps it crisp by abiding to the formulaic guidelines that mixes comedy in with sleuthing.

Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) is a reformed jewel thief turned private eye, who is shaken that his private detective friend Joe Kenyon died last night in a car accident when he lost control of the vehicle for no apparent reason. Blackie and his sidekick the Runt (George E. Stone) offer to help the widow Helen Kenyon run the agency, and are assigned to one of Joe’s ongoing cases; it’s a case he had a hot lead on before his sudden and suspicious demise. They attend a costume party given by wealthy socialite Mrs. Claire Carter (Sarah Selby), the owner of the priceless pearl necklace, and are disguised as Indian mystics to do undercover security guard work. Mrs. Carter wants only her trusted niece Doris Bradley (June Vincent) to know they are dicks. At the party the private eyes meet the smoothie hubby, Mason Carter (William Forrest), Mrs. Carter’s silky ballet dancing teacher Igor Borio (Edward Norris), Igor’s unfriendly business assistant Sandra Doray (Fay Baker) and the lovesick Joan Howell, a dancing pupil who has an on-and-off affair with her instructor Igor. After Mrs. Carter performs her ballet debut with her instructor, she’s shocked to find that someone switched her real pearls for phonies. Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) is called to investigate and sees through Blackie’s disguise and suspects him of being in on the theft with Helen Kenyon. Blackie flees the police and spends the rest of the film trying to prove his innocence and to catch the real crooks with the help of Runt.

It’s not even a one carat crime drama, but for a film that’s not a gem it manages to sparkle in spots.

REVIEWED ON 10/10/2007 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”