With this one Columbia closed down the Blackie series, the 14th in 8 years and a fairly satisfying conclusion. Times and tastes were changing and actors and technicians were spending more time working for TV, this type of b film series became popular TV series during the '50's. Chester Morris moved onto doing more TV and stage stuff - and Richard Lane already was a successful TV wrestling commentator! I can almost hear him now - his high speed buzz-saw of a voice must have been perfect for the job!
Blackie and Runt (Sid Tomack for the once) get accused of murdering Chinese laundry shop boss, tracking down the real killers with Inspector Farraday and Sgt. Matthews on their heels leads them into a web of ingenious diamond smugglers. This involves a diamond-cutting Nazi refugee held against his will but who seems to put up a good fight when confronted with Blackie, a night club owner who might be good or bad, a redhead who seems to walk all over Chinatown with hot diamonds in tow, and plenty of tea. As usual the 57 minutes are taken at warp speed, meaning that even though I've already seen it a couple of times I'll still have to see it again to finally settle who murdered who. Favourite bits: The "sleazy" tour of Chinatown that is by turns cringe-worthy and hilarious and Farraday's continuous witty estimations of Matthews' intelligence.
All in all I think the BB's are an enjoyable and unjustly overlooked series with some films of course better than others, but with the last being as good as the first makes me wish they'd gone on churning them out just a few more years!
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