|ONE MYSTERIOUS NIGHT
Boetticher; screenwriters: Paul Yannitz/based
on the novel "Boston
Blackie's Mary" by Jack Boyle;
O'Connell; editor: Al Clark; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff;
Morris (Boston Blackie), Richard Lane (Inspector
Farraday), Janis Carter (Dorothy Anderson), William
Wright (Paul Martens), Robert Williams (Matt Healy),
George E. Stone (The Runt), Dorothy Malone (Eileen
Daley), Robert E. Scott (George Daley),
(Jumbo Madigan), Harrison Greene (Arthur Manleder),
Lyle Latell (Sgt. Matthews);
Runtime: 61; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ted Richmond;
Columbia Pictures; 1944)
"Breezy, jejune and low-brow comedy/crime drama programmer."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Breezy, jejune and low-brow
comedy/crime drama programmer. It's the 7th in a total
of 14 in the
that's energetically directed in his directorial debut
by Budd Boetticher ("Ride Lonesome"/"The Tall
T"/"Arruza"). It's based on the 1919 novel
Blackie's Mary" by Jack Boyle and is
carelessly written by Paul Yannitz with
credibility issues as tall as the Empire State
Building appearing over its story line.
Affable ex-thief Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) and his pint-sized reformed thief valet Runt (George E. Stone) are secretly employed in a tool trade business enterprise by eccentric millionaire Arthur Manleder (Harrison Greene), when Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) accuses Blackie in the newspapers of stealing the valuable Blue Star of the Nile diamond while it was under heavy guard on exhibit in NYC's Carleton Plaza Hotel. But it's only a ploy used by Farraday to get the hard to find Blackie to come to his office and help him solve the theft.
Blackie gets deputized as a
cop, gets a badge and goes under disguise as an old
professor to search the office of the Carlton's young
assistant general manager, George Daley (Robert E. Scott), his numbrtr one suspect,
to discover the insider indeed robbed the diamond and
secretly hid it in his hotel switchboard operator
sister Eileen's (Dorothy Malone) handbag while he
naively awaits contact from two ruthless small-time
mugs, Matt Healy (Robert Williams) and Paul Martens
(William Wright), to
fence the hot rock.
Sharp-eyed sexy reporter for the NY Bulletin,
recognizes Blackie in his disguise and becomes
involved with the investigation by mysteriously
popping up whenever the last thing wanted by Blackie
was to be in the presence of a nosy reporter .
The film's most crass and
funny sight gag has the two diamond thieves standing like
manikins in Jumbo
Crehan) pawnshop, with the owner
lying on the floor after being critically wounded from
Martens' gunshot, while the two policemen ordered to
remain with the vic until the ambulance comes are
casually playing gin rummy near where the body lies.
For that scene alone, the film is worth seeing.
It exactly follows the
Blackie formulaic blueprint and gives the viewer
uncritical escapist entertainment and not much to
think about, as the pace is racetrack quick which
makes the absurd story go by like a blur.
REVIEWED ON 4/30/2012 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ