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 <email@example.com>
In "The Phantom Thief," Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) is as usual blamed for anything that goes wrong on Inspector Farraday's (Richard Lane) watch. This time, as he attempts to help a friend of the Runt's (George E. Stone) return some jewels he didn't mean to steal, Blackie finds himself involved with a phony medium (Marvin Miller), blackmail, and murder, all the while trying to hide from Farraday, sometimes in plain sight.
Not a bad entry into the series, with Jeff Donnell, who was actually a character actress, playing a duped, wealthy woman with rotten taste in men. She handles her part well, considering she usually played a bubbly, wisecracking friend. Marvin Miller, with dark makeup and that sonorous voice, is effective as the medium. Boomers may remember him as John Beresford Tipton's go-to Mr. Anthony on "The Millionaire." Unfortunately he never made it to my house.
Chester Morris is charming and funny as Blackie, but this time he's not particularly ably assisted by The Runt, who is terrified of all those disembodied hands and skeletons at the séance.
Fast-moving and entertaining.
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