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Boston Blackie and his pal, The Runt, are ready to board a train for Florida when Blackie gets a telegram from his friend Arthur Manleder asking Blackie to go to Manleder's New York ... See full summary »
When Boston Blackie's private detective friend Joe Kenyon is killed in an auto crash under suspicious circumstances, Blackie makes an offer to Mrs. Kenyon to take his place as a guard at a party given by the wealthy Mrs. Carter, who owns one of the world's most expensive pearl necklaces. His friend Runt goes along also. The necklace disappears while Mrs. Carter, accompanied by her dancing instructor Igor Borio, entertains her guests. Inspector Farraday is called in and finds (not to his great surprise as Blackie is always his first suspect) the pearls in Blackie's pocket. Blackie and the Runt make a hasty exit. Searching the apartment of Mrs. Carter's niece Doris Bradley, Blackie finds the pearls again, hidden in the lining of a coat belonging to Doris' friend Joan Howell who had been at the party and is in love with Borio. Investigating Borio, Blackie learns that the dancer's secretary, Sandra Doray, was connected with a jewel robbery in the south. He sets a trap for them, only to ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Blackie and Runt scramble after a jewel theft makes them suspects
Although I recorded the Boston Blackie movies from TCM many moons ago, I've never watched them. For no reason, I selected "Trapped by Boston Blackie" (1948). I expected a standard detective tale or series. Maybe I was remembering Kent Taylor's version or mis-remembering that one that goes back to the 1950s. What the movie actually delivers is its own brand of comedy, plot developments and mystery, all wrapped up in an entertaining package.
I didn't realize that Boston Blackie and his associate, Runt, were seen by police as thieves or somewhat rehabilitated thieves, when actually they seem to be detectives who make use of their image as thieves. They can more easily frequent with the underworld. They are something like the Saint in this respect. This plot element allows for novel scripting.
I didn't realize that Blackie and Runt were into disguises. This is another good plot element that allows for both detecting and comedy, sometimes both in one. Chester Morris and George E. Stone are very good indeed in disguises. There is one routine where Morris goes to get dancing lessons that's really written well, the way he uses interjections is fresh. Blackie's part is intelligent. So is Runt's. Between them issue a good number of barbs and clever turns. Blackie bluffs at times.
The weaker part of all this is the story itself, and that's why I rate this as 5, not 6. As a mystery, things go a little too easily in their favor in finding clues or a path through the unknown. The movie uses the comic and frustrated cop routine, which is stereotypical. The cop is Richard Lane, fairly easy to take. June Vincent perks up the movie a bit as does Edward Norris, but these secondary roles are not done with the same verve is is Blackie's. Morris is looking heavy and seems to be limping. He makes up for it with an excellent delivery of his lines.
The movie is squarely in the comedy-mystery genre. It's not a noir.
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