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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 <email@example.com>
Post-War Blackie film, a little harder edged than before, but still with an over-abundance of verbal witticisms and slapstick. The Runt tries to help a pal accused of stealing a diamond necklace, Blackie gets involved but can't prevent the pal on the lam getting stabbed in the back while watching all of the suspects perform at a rather feeble séance. Huh? It makes sense while you're watching it anyhow, except maybe who the murderer turned out to be - it must have been Real Dark!
Chester Morris as Blackie seemed a bit more relaxed in here than previously, maybe the absence of a black-face routine helped?! Jeff Donnell as Anne was decorative, even if she did stretch credulity with her credulousness! Marvin Miller as Dr. Nejino was Deeply sinister - thanks mainly to his fruity and succinct baritone voice, Dusty Anderson's only problem as his cohort(?) was to be too tall for everybody else in the film. George E. Stone as Runt was starting to bug me in this one - his whining almost-effeminacy made me wish Blackie would bitch-slap him and stand him in a corner as a naughty little boy and spare us his company for the last 30 minutes or so. Inspector Farraday and Sgt. Matthews played the usual good double act, and even old Jumbo got an airing in a good scene.
All told, nice entry in the series.
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