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Boston Blackie, in the 11th film of the Columbia series, indulges in some wit-trading with a squirmy spiritualist who deals in blackmail, murder and the occult. "Blackie" out to help his pal, "Runt," recover some jewels, finds himself involved in the homicides, and also finds himself as the prime suspect, and now has to find the real culprit in order to clear himself. So "Blackie,", a man of many talents and already a proved magician from cases past, shows he knows a little bit about dancing skeletons, walking phantoms and spiritualism himself, and holds a séance to unmask the murderer. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Runt has a friend in a jamhe's stolen some "papers" that turn out to be hot jewels. Boston Blackie is, of course, drawn into the situation; the friend, of course, is murdered; and Inspector Farraday, of course, is right there to practically catch Blackie in the act. It all opens up a case of blackmail, another murder or so, a spiritualist and a couple of séancesand a fair amount of good-natured tough talk and silly banter.
By now, Inspector Farraday knows that when he shows up at a murder scene, Boston Blackie is going to be less than cooperative: "All I needed to hear from the men on the beat was that you had a perfect alibi and I took this call myself," he tells Blackie. "Now I'd like to hear some of your best double talk."
Blackie and Farraday operate at full speed in this well-written series entry. Their sidekicks, the Runt and Detective Matthews, are faithful but dumb as usual. The Runt's childish squeals do grow somewhat annoying, but I have to admit it's pretty funny watching him and Matthews cower and yelp together at the séance.
Two female characters play important roles. Jeff Donnell is Anne, a young woman who suffers from nervous troublesor is that diagnosis an invention of the sinister Dr. Nejino, the spiritualist? Less passivemore actively looking out for herselfand more interesting is Dusty Anderson as Sandra, the mystic's assistant, whose loyalties are frequently in question but are mainly to herself.
A pretty good plot and a handful of good gags keep this episode moving. (My favorite bit: Farraday barking into the phone that "We're getting closer to Boston Blackie every minute," unaware that Blackie is at that very momentwell, much closer than Farraday thinks.) A satisfying hour for Blackie admirers.
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