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Meet Boston Blackie (1941)

When a murder occurs on an ocean liner docked in New York, the trail leads to Coney Island and a spy ring.


Robert Florey


Jay Dratler (story), Jay Dratler (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Blackie is accused of murdering a man at an art auction, which leads to the uncovering of an art racket.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Chester Morris, Harriet Nelson, Richard Lane
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Blackie tracks down a wrongly convicted prisoner who escapes during a Christmas magic show.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Chester Morris, Adele Mara, Richard Lane
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

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 »

Director: Michael Gordon
Stars: Chester Morris, William Wright, Constance Worth
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Shady stockbroker and abusive husband Gerald Parker is found dead in the penguin pool of a NYC aquarium after being knocked cold by his wife's boyfriend.

Director: George Archainbaud
Stars: Edna May Oliver, Robert Armstrong, James Gleason
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Blackie is arrested when retrieving stolen gems from a safety deposit box for a friend.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Chester Morris, Ann Savage, George E. Stone
Comedy | Mystery | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A respected investment advisor has a double life as a mystery writer and becomes involved in the real murder of a shady client.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Ralph Bellamy
The Detective (1954)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Works of art are disappearing, stolen by a master thief, a master of disguise. Father Brown has two goals: to catch the thief and to save his soul.

Director: Robert Hamer
Stars: Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Peter Finch
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Lord Peter Wimsey is an amateur detective. He is to be married to Harriet Vane, who writes crime novels, at a big Society wedding. Harriet has little charms made so that they both promise ... See full summary »

Directors: Arthur B. Woods, Richard Thorpe
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Constance Cummings, Leslie Banks
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Blackie is implicated in a murder when he accidently sells a phony Charles Dickens first edition at an auction.

Director: Arthur Dreifuss
Stars: Chester Morris, Lynn Merrick, Richard Lane
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Stan and Ollie take a trip into the mountains ('the high multitude') so that Ollie can recover from gout. Bootleggers have dumped their moonshine in the well from which the boys sample ... See full summary »

Director: Charley Rogers
Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Whitney Cameron suspects his sister-in-law has poisoned his brother and niece, but without proof how does he prevent the murder of his nephew?

Director: Andrew L. Stone
Stars: Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Gary Merrill
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A plane has engine trouble while flying over a jungle inhabited by cannibals.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie


Complete credited cast:
Chester Morris ... Boston Blackie
Rochelle Hudson ... Cecelia Bradley
Richard Lane ... Inspector Faraday
Charles Wagenheim Charles Wagenheim ... The Runt
Constance Worth ... Marilyn Howard
Jack O'Malley Jack O'Malley ... Monk
George Magrill ... Georgie
James Seay ... Mechanical Man (as Michael Rand)


When a murder occurs on an ocean liner docked in New York, the trail leads to Coney Island and a spy ring.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SPIES IN A FREAK SHOW! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 February 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rastro en las tinieblas See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The character, "Boston Blackie," was first used in a story, "Boston Blackie's Mary," by Jack Boyle, in Red Book Magazine, published November 1917. See more »


Blackie knocks the head off the real mechanical man with a pitched ball; in the subsequent long shot, the head is intact. See more »


Insp. Farraday: I couldn't find your name on the passenger list.
Horatio 'Boston Blackie' Black: No, no, I'm using my maiden name.
See more »


Followed by Boston Blackie and the Law (1946) See more »


Wiener Blut (Viennese Blood), Op.354
(1873) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
Played as backround music at the amusement park
See more »

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User Reviews

Wit to spare
22 August 2011 | by csteidlerSee all my reviews

When Boston Blackie leaves a room, he likes to leave a witty note for Inspector Faraday—written in soap in large letters across a mirror. I have to admit—ever since seeing this movie, I've been looking for an opportunity to leave somebody a soap-on-mirror note. That Blackie is indeed an irresistible character, a sharp wit who leaves a clean but clever mark.

Chester Morris is excellent in that title role—fast moving, confident, a magician and a sleuth. And possibly a jewel thief…though in this film we never really know that for sure.

Richard Lane is also strong as the police inspector who is Blackie's dedicated stalker, friendly rival or both. Blackie always outwits the inspector but never makes him look stupid; Inspector Faraday vows to catch Blackie and lock him up but never resorts to dirty tricks and is not grudging in his respect for Blackie's nerve, expertise and luck.

Rochelle Hudson is very good as Cecilia Bradley, properly impressed by this man Boston Blackie who essentially hijacks her car but does it in a very dashing manner. Hudson is just right, actually—romantically interested, yes, but still plenty sharp enough to follow events and lend assistance as needed. Her smart and attractive performance hits just the right notes.

Good script, excellent pace, just the right amount of humor…oh, and all the standard amusement park elements, including a Mechanical Man who figures snugly into the plot. A top notch series opener all the way!

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