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  • 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!
  • As usual, Blackie and Runt (oddly, NOT played by George E. Stone in this film) are at the wrong place at the wrong time and are accused of murder. However, as the film progressed, it was obvious that some deeper conspiracy was afoot. Stupidly, this conspiracy became unbelievably complicated--far more than common sense would dictate and you're left wondering why the thieves went to so much trouble. After all, after stealing diamonds and re-cutting them, why have all the complicated business involving the tour guide, the theater and the lady?! Also, the stunt doubles towards the end for the fight scene were just awful--making it pretty obvious that they were NOT the star fighting with a criminal.

    While this movie is far from great, considering that it is much more original than many of the previous films in the series, it's a pretty good movie. Up until then, Chester Morris had played the title character in more than a dozen films in less than a decade and the scripts had become very repetitive and formulaic. Unfortunately, it still has Inspector Farraday AGAIN blaming Blackie for a crime--even though Blackie ALWAYS finds the real criminals by the end of EVERY film. But, apart from that, the film's change in locale (to Chinatown) is a welcome relief--thank goodness for SOME originality! What you think about this and other Blackie films probably does depend on how many you've seen. If you've only seen a few, this one is probably one of the lesser efforts but after seeing more than a couple, this is quite different.

    By the way, in a very small scene you have a police lab scientist talking to Farraday about an analysis he did on a package of tea leaves. This lab man was very funny--too bad he was only briefly in the film, as he was sarcastic and offered a nice respite from the usual material.
  • The final chapter in the Boston Blackie saga starts off briskly and without surprises: Blackie drops off his laundry just moments before the laundry proprietor is discovered murdered; Inspector Farraday arrives on the scene to investigate and quickly deduces that Blackie is involved; Blackie chuckles along with Farraday but realizes he is going to have to find the real killer to clear himself. –That's all in the first five minutes, of course. The rest of the action includes stolen jewels, phony Chinatown underworld tours, and a couple of large piles of tea. It's all quite enjoyable…not the best in the series, but an adequate if unspectacular finale.

    Chester Morris is as steady as ever as Blackie--smart, smooth and snappy. Richard Lane's Inspector Farraday is still (Wile E. Coyote-like) confident in the face of all previous experience that he will sooner or later make something stick to Blackie. The only real sign that the series was ending was the absence of George E. Stone as the Runt; Sid Tomack is passable in the role but not really a replacement.

    The film's most shocking moment comes when Frank Sully's Detective Matthews has perhaps his first bright idea in fourteen films—noting that the gunshots just heard from inside the movie theater could not have been part of the movie playing, because it's a movie about Robin Hood! (And here he points out the movie poster for The Prince of Thieves; also coming soon to that theater, I noticed, was The Mating of Millie—nice advertising for a couple of 1949 Columbia features that I suppose I will have to put on my long list….)

    One great moment: The Chinese "gamblers" dropping their act and resuming their real game when the door closes on the peeking tourists—"All right, fellas," one says, "let's pick up the bridge game where we left off."

    It would have been a huge surprise if Blackie and the Runt had not disguised themselves as Chinese in at least one scene….Overall, it's a fair mystery with a few unique moments: a solid finish to the series.
  • For the Boston Blackie series finale once again Blackie and the Runt are in wrong place, wrong time. They can't even check on the laundry without getting mixed up in some kind of escapade where fatalities occur.

    Chester Morris and Sid Tomack who plays the Runt in the farewell film leave a Chinese laundry where the laundryman is later murdered. Tomack is a good comic actor who occasionally essayed serious parts, most notably in the Humphrey Bogart classic Knock On Any Door. But he doesn't have that runt like quality that George E. Stone did.

    A little investigation and Blackie discovers a gem smuggling operation that is worked out of a tea shop owned by Philip Ahn with a Chinatown tour bus used as the shuttle. As usual while avoiding the ever suspicious Inspector Richard Lane and his faithful stooge Frank Sully, Blackie gets the goods.

    This was not a bad film, but the series was clearly getting stale. How many variations of Blackie and the Runt caught up in a situation not of their own making and be accused of homicide and him clearing himself can there be? Blackie would later appear on television briefly with Kent Taylor starring.

    Anyway Boston Blackie had a good run while it lasted.
  • Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) is seen leaving a Chinese laundry moments before the owner is discovered murdered inside. Shockingly, Inspector Farraday does NOT arrest him but lets him go due to lack of evidence. Blackie investigates the case himself before Farraday realizes this time he actually did have just cause to take Blackie in.

    The last of the Boston Blackie series is far from the best but still enjoyable. Chester Morris and Richard Lane are good as always but this time George E. Stone is missing. His character, The Runt, is here alright but he's played by Sid Tomack. Charlie Chan fans might like to know that two of the actors who played his sons, Victor Sen Yung and Benson Fong, have bit parts here. The humor is the best part of this one, such as the funny one-liners or the phony tour of Chinatown's underbelly. At least they had the sense to end the Boston Blackie series before it became pathetic like some of them did. I'm looking at you, Monogram Charlie Chan.
  • "Boston Blackie's Chinese Venture" is the last in the Boston Blackie series, filmed in 1949. Thanks to Blackie, Chester Morris had to return to the theater, as he was quoted as saying, "After ... these films, a producer wouldn't put me in an 'A' movie even if I paid for the privilege." Without the good-looking, amusing Morris as Blackie, the series would not have worked as well as it did. The stories were usually very formulaic, and you really had to love the Runt in order for him not to become annoying. (The Runt here is Sid Tomack and not George E. Stone.) This story is actually kind of interesting - Blackie gets involved with a diamond smuggling ring in Chinatown after the owner of a laundry is found dead right after Blackie dropped off his laundry! Of course, as usual, he has to clear his name or be arrested by Inspector Farraday.

    The fun part about this film is the underground Chinese tours for tourists showing gambling, dancing slave girls, etc. - all fake, with the performers dropping their acts as soon as the tour guide moves on.

    Sorry to see Blackie go, but it became a TV show in the '50s starring Kent Taylor, a very different type from the amiable Morris.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's only an hour, so it's a painless distraction, and at least, there are some nice outdoor shots for once rather than the claustrophobic photography of many of the other entries. After nine years and twelve films, it goes out with a bit of a whimper, but will be back for TV, the continuing place for many a famous movie detective. This entry is just another variation of older plots, with Chester Morris once again in the wrong place at the wrong time and once again the main suspect in murder. Obviously on those nine years and twelve films, inspector Richard Lane hasn't learned a darn thing. Maylia is a pretty, but bland, heroine. Two years would go by before Boston Blackie made his small screen debut, with Kent Taylor taking over. Seeing Morris and George E. Stone in Asian disguise isn't as offensive looking as an earlier really bad minstrel show look, but it's a close second.
  • binapiraeus11 February 2014
    Well, finally the writers of the 'Boston Blackie' crime adventures that entertained the audience so fabulously for a whole decade DID seem to run out of new ideas; or maybe this kind of crime movie just wasn't 'fashionable' anymore? The VERY long-running 'Charlie Chan' movie series ended the same year...

    Of course, there is some solid suspense and quite a few good jokes in this last case of Blackie's (like when Sergeant Matthews 'keeps an eye' on Blackie walking up and down in his apartment all night - while it's really a cardboard figure tied to a toy train moving around!), and we get a glimpse of New York's Chinatown, where some very shady business is being done - but mostly by white people! It's not one of the best entries in the series, it's REALLY a swan song - but it's still better than many other 'average' crime movies.

    George E. Stone, who had played the 'Runt' in almost all of the movies, is already missing here - and now it's curtains for the series as a whole. One of the most entertaining, inventive and funny crime movie series of all times, with one of the BEST protagonists: Chester Morris, alias Boston Blackie...
  • mcmessina111 February 2013
    Boston Blackie's Chinese Venture marks the end of the 14 movie series starring Chester Morris. The film remains true to the BB formula. The falsely accused Blackie & Runt being wrongfully suspected of a murder they didn't commit. Blackie must clear himself by solving the crime for Inspector Faraday and his dopey assistant Mathews.

    Morris is one of my favorite actors, but this movie like all the other Boston Blackie movies tends to get very predictable and very boring. The well dressed Blackie lives with the Runt in a luxury apartment yet has no visible means of support. I also never understood why the handsome Chester Morris was never provided with a love interest in any of the BB films. What does this reformed ex-convict do for a living and why doesn't he have a girlfriend?

    In one of the scenes Blackie and Runt disguise themselves as Chinese. It's so obvious that they are both wearing masks yet they slip right by Faraday and Mathews. In another scene a diamond cutter being held captive is forced to cooperate with the jewel thieves yet when given a gun and told to keep an eye on Blackie and Runt he remains loyal to the gang only to get shot in the back by it's leader.

    Sid Tomack replaced George E Stone in the role of the Runt. I never cared for George E Stone's portrayal of the Runt. I didn't find him very funny and he was all too whiny. Tomack offered relief from the childish whiny portrayal of George E Stone. It's unfortunate that Sid Tomack only played the part once.

    The lovely Joan Woodbury is featured as a villainous shill in this movie, but her part is too small and her talent is wasted. I believe Chester Morris should have starred in the Dick Tracy series. If you study his profile I think you'll agree that he looks just like him. As Tracy he would have had Tess Trueheart as a love interest too.
  • sol-kay4 January 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    ***SPOILERS*** The last of the Boston Blackie series of films has Blackie get involved in a diamond smuggling ring in New York's, not Boston, Chinatown. That's when Blackie and his sidekick The Runt were implicated in the murder of Chinese laundromat owner Charlie Lu who was found murdered with Blackie's laundry slip found nearby by the police.

    Blackie in trying to prove his innocence even though there was not enough evidence to arrest him takes it on himself to go undercover in Chinatown with a flimsy Halloween mask, of what looked like Doctor Fu Man Chu,that no one suspects he's wearing as a disguise. It doesn't take long for Blackie and The Runt to find out that Charlie Lu's laundromat was being used as a place to smuggle stolen diamonds with poor Charlie totally unaware of it. It's when Charlie found out what was going on in his place of business it ended up costing him his life.

    The film "Boston Blackie's Chinese venture" also cost the life of the Boston Blackie series in that it just about put the final nine on its coffin in just how bad brainless as well as uninteresting the film was! Chester Morris who plays Boston Blackie who's seen better days and was in better movies finally called it quits after he made the film. You can see Morris just about had it with playing Boston Blackie in his nonchalant acting in the film and even his beautiful women co stars Maylia as Charlie Lu's niece Mei Ling and gorgeous redhead Joan Woodbury as Red couldn't spice things up for him. He looked totally bored in his role, even with a mask on, and seemed to want to just get out of it as soon as possible and go back to better things in life.

    ***SPOILERS*** The ridicules ending was a real downer in Blackie having an entire Chinese tea store, obviously serving members of the Tea Party, have all its boxes of tea dump out to find the hidden diamonds that were being smuggled there through Charlie Lu's laundromat. Which all ended up making a total mess of both the store as well as what was still left, for those of us watching, of the movie.
  • ... and let me say that I really miss George E. Stone as "The Runt" in this last Boston Blackie entry. Stone as The Runt was not that helpful in solving any of the crimes in the Boston Blackie series, but he had a naive charm and fierce loyalty to Blackie that made him a joy to have around. Sid Tomack's Runt is more like a gentleman's gentleman to Boston Blackie, an Alfred to his Batman. He's just not fun to watch.

    The mystery is among the least compelling of the series too. The Chinese proprietor of laundry (eye roll) is found dead behind the counter at his business, and because Blackie is outside and has laundry at the establishment, Farraday accuses him? This seems a bit contrived versus where there were some entries where Blackie really DID look guilty. So Blackie sets out to solve the mystery as to who is the killer and what is the motive. The whole thing was rather dull involving jewel thieves hiding their wares in tea, and by the end of the film I needed some tea to stay awake.

    Now the good. Chester Morris always satisfies as the suave cool reformed thief Boston Blackie. And there is a bit about a tour of "Chinatown" that does poke fun of the stereotypes people held at the time concerning Asian people. A tour guide promises to show a gullible tour group "the seamy side" of Chinatown. He shows them a "Chinese gambling den" (it is really just some Asian guys playing poker like anybody else might do) and "Chinese slave girls working their way to freedom" (again staged - as soon as the tour group leaves the women start talking about their college classes), and supposedly a "tong war" breaking out. Just one thing - didn't anybody in the group think of calling the police about the allegedly enslaved girls?

    This one is really a take it or leave it proposition. Without Chester Morris in the lead, I would definitely have left it.
  • Not bad little crime caper on the lighter side. Boston Blackie, a reformed jewel thief (or something of that nature) is suspected yet again of thievery and murder. This time the goings-on take place in Chinatown. The transfer is fine. The Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD-R is excellent quality. The DVD-R has absolutely no extras. Goes right into the movie. Other than that recommended for fans of the genre.
  • Boston Blackie's Chinese Venture (1949)

    * 1/2 (out of 4)

    The final film in Columbia's Boston Blackie series once again features Chester Morris in the role of the former thief always having to work himself out of trouble. This time out he gets caught up in the murder of a Chinese man so he has to investigate, which leads to Chinatown and an illegal gambling plot. This was the final in the series and it's also the weakest as the film really doesn't contain any excitement or laughs, which were two things even the weaker films had. Even Morris comes off very tired looking in this film and Richard Lane too seems bored. Sid Tomack takes over the role of The Runt and is horrid in doing so. He's very obnoxious and doesn't contain any of the charm or wit of George E. Stone.