Saturday, June 08, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood (1942)

BOSTON BLACKIE GOES HOLLYWOOD is a strong entry in the long-running series of films starring Chester Morris. The movie has some very funny dialogue and well-staged action sequences.

Blackie (Morris) is called upon to help out his friend wealthy Arthur (series regular Lloyd Corrigan) who is being swindled by jewel thieves for $60,000. As usual, Police Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane) thinks reformed safecracker Blackie is up to no good, going so far as to follow Blackie cross-country to Hollywood, where Blackie plans to meet Arthur.

There aren't many names in the cast, other than a young Forrest Tucker, nor is there any Hollywood atmosphere to speak of, but the film succeeds thanks to a very good script (by Paul Yawitz) and a nimble performance by Morris, who seems to be having a grand time.

By now those who are familiar with the series can really appreciate some of the jokes, such as Farraday not even bothering to put handcuffs on Blackie, as he can get out of any pair ever invented! Morris as Blackie has a great way with comedy, and he also has some very smooth moves in the nicely done climactic action sequences. It's easy to see why this series continued for so long, as Morris is terrific in the title role.

One of my favorite bits has Blackie and other characters involved in a chase entering a befuddled older couple's apartment as they are listening to a radio show. It's a cute moment which is a good example of the movie's sense of humor.

This was the first movie directed by Michael Gordon, who would later direct films such as THE SECRET OF CONVICT LAKE (1951), PILLOW TALK (1959), and BOYS' NIGHT OUT (1962).

This 68-minute film also features Constance Worth, William Wright, and Shirley Patterson, with George E. Stone returning as the Runt and Walter Sande again playing Detective Sgt. Mathews. Lloyd Bridges has a bit role.

BOSTON BLACKIE GOES HOLLYWOOD has not had a release on DVD or video. It can be seen on Turner Classic Movies.



Blogger Ken Zimmerman Jr. said...

This series was one of my favorite "B" movie franchises. Chester Morris is excellent as the smooth talking Blackie. I watch the movies every time a chance presents itself.

You can also find the radio series from the mid-1940s on-line on several of the free sites.

11:08 AM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Clearly some lobbying must be done to have DVD copies of Chester Morris and the Blackie gang.

11:16 AM  
Blogger grandoldmovies said...

this is such a fun series, surprised it hasn't had a home video release. my fave parts were when chester morris assumed a disguise, usually as an old man; and george stone was his best sidekick.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Great to know Boston Blackie and the super-smooth Chester Morris has so many fans! He's so winning in this role, it's a shame that it didn't also translate into the same kind of "A" level success in the '40s that he had had a decade earlier. Fortunately Blackie kept him very busy for a number of years!

Best wishes,

11:02 PM  
Blogger Kevin Deany said...

This is probably my least favorite Boston Blackie movie, because the title is such a misnomer. There's nothing Hollywood about this story. It could have been titled "Boston Blackie in Cleveland" for all that it mattered. At least when you watch "The Falcon in Hollywood" the mystery takes place in a movie studio.

Perhaps the next time I see it, and no that there's no Hollywood in it, I can be more objective about it. I just remember how disappointed I was the first time I saw it.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

Are these airing currently on TCM or are you watching them from previous DVR tapings? I'm curious about them now after your posts!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Kevin, I can understand what you mean -- THE FALCON IN HOLLYWOOD made great use of the Hollywood setting, shooting all over the RKO lot, but BOSTON BLACKIE GOES HOLLYWOOD has nothing to do with Hollywood! Made sure to mention the lack of Hollywood atmosphere in the film due to that. It's a good movie, though, so I hope you'll enjoy it if you try it again sometime! :)

Raquel, these are previous recordings I made, including a couple from a "Boston Blackie" night with intros by Robert Osborne. A couple of the films have come out on MOD DVD-Rs, but that's it. I hope you'll have the chance to try them before too long!

Best wishes,

10:35 AM  

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