|The Chance of a Lifetime|
|Directed by||William Castle|
|Written by|| Jack Boyle |
|Produced by||Wallace MacDonald|
|Starring|| Chester Morris |
|Edited by||Jerome Thoms|
|Music by||M. W. Stoloff|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
The Chance of a Lifetime is a 1943 crime drama starring Chester Morris, Erik Rolf and Jeanne Bates. It is one of 14 films made by Columbia Pictures involving detective Boston Blackie, a criminal-turned-crime solver. This was the sixth in the series and one of three that did not have his name in the title. The film is also William Castle's directorial debut. As with many of the films of the period, this was a flag waver to support America's efforts during World War II.
The film is under copyright until 2039 due to renewal.
Boston Blackie (Chester Morris) helps get prisoners with needed skills released on parole to help in the machine and tool plant of his friend, Arthur Manleder (Lloyd Corrigan). Those chosen want to support America's war effort. All of the parolees have to stay in Blackie's apartment, all except robber Dooley Watson. Blackie allows him to see his wife and son.
Watson goes after the payroll money he stole before he was captured. His wife Mary (Jeanne Bates) convinces him to give it back, but his partners in crime, "Red" Taggart (John Harmon) and "Nails" Blanton (Douglas Fowley), have been waiting patiently for their share. When they threaten Dooley's family, Dooley fights back. Red is killed in the ensuing struggle. Nails runs off. If Boston Blackie is to save his project, he has to capture Nails and force him to confess the death was in self-defense, all while dodging Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane).
William Castle wanted to direct. Harry Cohn gave him the chance with this film. Castle said it was a "lousy, dull, contrived, miserable script; the characters wooden and the dialogue unbelievably bad. My first picture and I had a turkey!"
He tried to arrange for the script to be rewritten but Irving Briskin refused and Castle was too scared to ask Cohn for a rewrite. The film was shot in twelve days. Castle says Chester Morris "tried to breathe some life into a part that died at birth" and Bates "hopelessly tried to play the femme fetale".
Castle said Briskin disliked the film and rearranged its structure with extensive cutting making it, in Castle's words, "even more muddled and screwed up than it had been originally."
Reviews of the film were terrible but Castle says Cohn backed him and gave him another movie to direct, The Whistler, which was a success.
John Chester Brooks Morris was an American stage, film, television, and radio actor. He had some prestigious film roles early in his career, and received an Academy Award nomination for Alibi (1929). Chester Morris is best remembered today for portraying Boston Blackie, a criminal-turned-detective, in the modestly budgeted Boston Blackie film series of the 1940s.
The Devil and Miss Jones is a 1941 comedy film starring Jean Arthur, Robert Cummings, and Charles Coburn. Directed by Sam Wood from a screenplay by Norman Krasna, the film was the product of an independent collaboration between Krasna and producer Frank Ross. Their short-lived production company released two films through RKO Radio Pictures. The film was well received by critics upon its release and garnered Oscar nominations for Coburn and Krasna.
Boston Blackie is a fictional character created by author Jack Boyle (1881–1928). Blackie, a jewel thief and safecracker in Boyle's stories, became a detective in adaptations for films, radio and television—an "enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend."
Jeanne Bates was an American radio, film and television actress. After performing in radio serials, she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1942 which began her career in films both in bit parts and larger roles in a series of horror films and noirs, including The Return of the Vampire (1943) and Shadows in the Night (1946).
Lloyd Corrigan was an American film and television actor, producer, screenwriter, and director who began working in films in the 1920s. The son of actress Lillian Elliott, Corrigan directed films, usually mysteries such as Daughter of the Dragon starring Anna May Wong, before dedicating himself more to acting in 1938. His short La Cucaracha won an Academy Award in 1935.
Richard Lane was an American actor and television announcer/presenter. In movies, he played assured, fast-talking slickers: usually press agents, policemen and detectives, sometimes swindlers and frauds. He is perhaps best known to movie fans as "Inspector Farraday" in the Boston Blackie mystery-comedies. Lane also played Faraday in the first radio version of Boston Blackie, which ran on NBC from June 23, 1944 to September 15, 1944. Lane was an early arrival on television, first as a news reporter and then as a sports announcer, broadcasting wrestling and roller derby shows on KTLA-TV, mainly from the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.
George E. Stone was a Polish-born American character actor in films, radio, and television.
Confessions of Boston Blackie is a 1941 American crime film directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Chester Morris and Harriet Hilliard. A woman consigns a family heirloom to a pair of unscrupulous art dealers in order to raise money to help her sick brother. This film is the second in the series of 14 Columbia Pictures Boston Blackie films, all starring Morris as the reformed crook. It was preceded by Meet Boston Blackie (1941) and followed by Alias Boston Blackie (1942).
Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood is a 1942 American crime film, fourth of the fourteen Boston Blackie films of the 1940s Columbia's series of B pictures based on Jack Boyle's pulp-fiction character.
Alias Boston Blackie (1942) is the third in a series of Columbia Pictures "B" movies starring Chester Morris as Boston Blackie. It was preceded by Meet Boston Blackie, Confessions of Boston Blackie and followed by Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood. Once again, Blackie is suspected of committing a crime, in this instance of helping a prisoner escape.
After Midnight with Boston Blackie is a 1943 crime film directed by Lew Landers. It is the fifth of a series of 14 Columbia Pictures films starring Chester Morris as Boston Blackie. When a recently paroled friend of Boston Blackie is killed, he finds himself once again the prime suspect of Police Inspector Farraday.
One Mysterious Night is a 1944 crime film, the seventh in a Columbia Pictures series of fourteen starring Chester Morris as reformed crook Boston Blackie. It was preceded by The Chance of a Lifetime and followed by Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion. Blackie is called upon to recover a stolen diamond.
Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion is the eighth of 14 Columbia Pictures B movies starring Chester Morris as reformed thief Boston Blackie.
Boston Blackie and the Law is the twelfth of fourteen Columbia Pictures films starring Chester Morris as reformed crook Boston Blackie.
A Close Call for Boston Blackie (1946) is the tenth of fourteen Columbia Pictures crime films directed by Lew Landers starring Chester Morris as Boston Blackie.
The Phantom Thief is a 1946 American crime film directed by D. Ross Lederman. The film follows detective Boston Blackie as he tries to track down a blackmailer-murderer. As the investigation goes on, a supernatural element becomes clear.
Jerome Thoms was an American film editor.
Boston Blackie's Rendezvous is a 1945 American crime film directed by Arthur Dreifuss. The working title of this film was Surprise in the Night.
Trapped by Boston Blackie is a 1948 American crime drama directed by Seymour Friedman. It is the thirteenth of fourteen Columbia Pictures films starring Chester Morris as reformed crook Boston Blackie, and the final film with George E. Stone as "The Runt".
The Son of Rusty is a 1947 American drama film directed by Lew Landers and starring Ted Donaldson, Stephen Dunne and Ann Doran. It was part of Columbia Pictures' eight-film Rusty series about a boy and his valiant German Shepherd.