Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Overlooked Films: ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942)

When I posted a trio of Boston Blackie posters a couple of weeks back (HERE), Shay tipped me off that some of the films were on YouTube. That was good news to me, so I watched one. This one. 

Alias Boston Blackie was the third in this series with Chester Morris. I suppose I should have started with the first, Meet Boston Blackie, but I thought this was a pretty cool poster, and I'm a sucker for the power of advertising. 

Blackie was born, I have since learned, in a series of short stories by Jack Boyle, jumped to silent movies in 1918 and eventually had his own radio and television series. But this 1942 film was my introduction to the character, and it sucked me right in.

Blackie is a former thief who served his time in the big house and is now a sort of freelance do-gooder, aided by his former prison pal, The Runt. In this movie he takes a troupe of performers to his old alma mater to entertain the prisoners, and promptly gets into a mess.

I can't call this a great film, but it's seems to be everything it should be. It has mystery, humor and intrigue in the proper amounts. The dialogue is fine. Chester Morris seems just right as Blackie, and Richard Lane is good as the laconic cop Blackie must outwit to solve the story problems. But hey, you don't have to take my word for it. Watch it yourself.

More Overlooked Films at Sweet Freedom.

Blackie does whatever it takes, including impersonating an officer.


Todd Mason said...

The radio series was middlin' fair, maybe a little better...yet, for some reason, the way everyone always calls him Boston Blackie always pulls me just a little out of the given drama...

Evan Lewis said...

I'm sure there are radio episodes I can download free online. Reckon I should try one. I'm pretty sure everyone calls him just "Blackie" in the movie.

Rittster said...

I've always liked Chester Morris. There's just something different about him. I really like his transformation from a detective into a maniacal killer at the end of The Bat Whispers.

Unknown said...

There are radio programs over at archive.org and are a lot of fun. Chester Morris was Blackie for about a year then Richard Kollmar took over for him.

Kent Taylor played Blackie in the TV show starting in 1951. They have some on YouTube - they're fun but pretty cheaply made.