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A Close Call for Boston Blackie
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In another of his unusual and fascinating capers, Boston Blackie (Chester Morris, Alibi, Blind Alley, and Meet Boston Blackie) gets entangled with a former girlfriend, the murder of her husband, and a possible kidnap-extortion plot! His sidekick, The Runt (George E. Stone, The Face Behind the Mask, One Mysterious Night), is there when Gerry Peyton (Lynn Merrick, The Blonde from Brooklyn), Blackie's former flame, shows up with her baby, asking the two to protect the baby from her recently paroled husband. The Runt takes the baby, Blackie takes on the husband, and the chase is on, with Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) and Sergeant Matthews (Frank Sully) at their heels. This fast-paced, surprising mystery wraps up in a tidy 60 minutes, but don't feel cheated - they just don't make 'em this way anymore! Newly remastered.
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This is a memorable detective series. Sony has missed the boat in packaging the Blackie movies individually, at up to 20 simoleons a pop. That's a lot of mazumas for any B picture. Not one of the Boston Blackie pictures was a cinematic classic, but take as a series they offered a lot of entertainment value from characters that we returned to time and again as old friends. Sony really should consider packing this series the way they did the Bad Girls of Film Noir, 2 movies per disc, 2 discs to a package. (TCM does its Greatest Classic Film Collection the same way.) The same goes for the Warren William / Lone Wolf movies and for the Crime Doctor and The Whistler, whenever they get around to release those vintage series. Right now, Warner Archive clearly has the advantage in detective series reissues because of smarter packaging. If the folks at Sony can get wise to themselves, they can realize a greater sales volume in the detective classics market and serve the public better.
A police car returns Blackie to his home. He sees men attacking a woman, then drive off. She is rescued. A young child was left in his rooms. Jerry explains the problem. Then her husband John shows up with a revolver! Blackie disarms him, then a man shows up to shoot John! Faraday arrives to question them. He hears a baby, then finds John Payton’s body! Blackie is in trouble again. Can he escape custody? The attendants take the covered body away. Jerry visits her friends, we learn about the plot! This is a scheme to defraud Mr. Payton Sr. [Note the icebox.] Can Runt get milk for the child? Yes, in a disguise. Mamie calls Faraday about the child. Blackie offers a deal to Detective Matthews, then he leaves.
Runt returns with a glass bottle of milk, Mamie tells what she did. Blackie returns, Detective Matthews follows them. There is a double surprise here. Mr. Payton’s lawyer shows up, Inspector Faraday talks to Jerry. Some of the truth comes out. Faraday and Jerry visit Blackie. A pack of dogs arrives to create confusion, so Blackie escapes. Blackie figures out the deal (there was no Payton baby born in the last three years). Blackie disguises himself to investigate the scheme. But things go awry. Inspector Faraday arrives. Will he make a mistake? There is a surprise at the end, but the problem is solved. Inspector Faraday explains his actions.
Boston Blackie was a reformed safecracker who solved crimes. Milkmen delivered glass bottles of milk each morning (this service died out in the 1950s). Electric refrigerators kept food fresher than iceboxes. Icemen delivered blocks of ice on schedule. Old movies contain information about life in olden days. Note how all the men wore hats then.