THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME is an average entry in the long-running Boston Blackie series, notable as the feature film debut of future horror master William Castle.
The sixth Boston Blackie film finds Blackie sponsoring a group of parolees. The men have been let out of prison early in a pilot program giving ex-cons factory work to support the war effort.
Blackie gets involved in clearing one of the men (Erik Rolf) who kills a former associate in self-defense hours after being released from prison.
During the course of the film Blackie and his sidekick Runt (George E. Stone) masquerade as both cops and cleaning ladies, and in a particularly amusing sequence they attempt to escape from Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) and Sergeant Matthews (Walter Sande) in a dumbwaiter.
WHEN STRANGERS MARRY (1944), with quite a bit more flair than is seen here.
The supporting cast includes Lloyd Corrigan as Blackie's friend Arthur, plus Ray Teal, Jeanne Bates, Maude Eburne, Arthur Hunnicutt, and Cy Kendall.
This film isn't out on DVD or VHS, but it can be seen on Turner Classic Movies.
The TCM website, incidentally, indicates this film has also been shown under the title THE GAMBLE OF BOSTON BLACKIE.
Earlier this year Ivan wrote about THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear as part of a William Castle blogathon. Ivan points out how many good directors did early career work on films in the Boston Blackie series, including not only Castle but Budd Boetticher and Edward Dmytryk.
Previous BOSTON BLACKIE reviews: MEET BOSTON BLACKIE (1941), CONFESSIONS OF BOSTON BLACKIE (1941), ALIAS BOSTON BLACKIE (1942), BOSTON BLACKIE GOES HOLLYWOOD (1942), and AFTER MIDNIGHT WITH BOSTON BLACKIE (1943).