Movie Critique - Alias Boston Blackie

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: A very fast-paced and action packed 67 minutes of humor, mystery and the odd mood of holiday spirit thrown in there. 

Alias Boston Blackie is a 1942 American mystery comedy film, the third in the Boston Blackie movie series released by Columbia Pictures from 1941 to 1949. Chester Morris played the role of Boston Blackie in all the fourteen films that were made. This particular film was directed by Lew Landers and produced by Wallace MacDonald with screenplay provided by Paul Yawtz.

Typical to the series plot-line Boston Blackie gets into a situation where he is suspected of a crime and now has to work to prove it wrong. In this case, Blackie is entertaining his old mates at the prison he went to before he turned detective. But Joe Trilby (portrayed by Larry Parks) escapes from the prison. Now Inspector Farraday (portrayed by Richard Lane) and Detective Joe Matthews (portrayed by Walter Sande) suspect Blackie has a hand in it.

Boston Blackie is a fictional character created by author Jack Boyle introducing him to the readers in the first story The Price of Principle in 1914 in The American Magazine. Blackie, a jewel thief and safe cracker from Boyle's books turned into a detective in the several adaptations to film, radio and television; and wormed his way into all the viewers and listeners hearts.

He was introduced on radio as an "enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend." I have heard quite a few of the episodes from those radio shows on the old time radio podcasts. 

Chester Morris is supported by Adele Mara as Eve Sanders, the sister of escaped prisoner Joe Trilby; and his trusted side kick "the Runt" (portrayed by George E. Stone). Morris' Blackie takes their help to prove his innocence. 

Larry Parks playing the part of Joe Trilby was seen in the 1942 American comedy film Blondie Goes to College as Rusty Bryant, review of which I posted here.

The credits are shown over the shadow of prison bars being held by someone's hands. The cast are again listed as "The Players" as was common with films back then. Again this film is so very far off with regards to Christmas, except that it is set around Christmas time. 

A very fast-paced and action packed 67 minutes of humor, mystery and the odd mood of holiday spirit thrown in there. Easy watch, and perfect for those little gaps you might have in a day where you want to get away from your daily routine. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Movie Trivia:

a. Larry Parks who plays the part of Joe Trilby, wrongly accused character, also plays a similar role in the 1943 American crime film Power of the Press. 

b. Again, checkout a 1929 or 1930 stock footage of New York montage at the beginning of the film. It is clear because of a display of Jeanette MacDonald in the 1929 American pre-Code musical comedy film The Love Parade. This is the second movie I am seeing it in, first one was 1947 American film noir Kiss of Death. Looks like lots of movies in the 1940s have used this stock footage time and again.

c. The movie reaches its conclusion at the Jane Drake Theater where Jane Drake is appearing in a play called Bedtime Story. The entire setting, the theater, the characters and the play are all part of 1941 American comedy film Bedtime Story. 

d. Check out Lloyd Bridges in his earlier uncredited role of bus driver in the film. 


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