The Phantom Thief (1946)

64 mins | Drama | 2 May 1946

Director:

D. Ross Lederman

Producer:

John Stone

Cinematographer:

George Meehan

Editor:

Al Clark

Production Designer:

Robert Peterson

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Boston Blackie's Private Ghost . According to a Jan 1946 HR news item, Jim Bannon was originally set to play a male "romantic lead" in the picture. For additional information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Meet Boston Blackie ... More Less

The working title of this film was Boston Blackie's Private Ghost . According to a Jan 1946 HR news item, Jim Bannon was originally set to play a male "romantic lead" in the picture. For additional information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Meet Boston Blackie . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 May 1946.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 46
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Apr 46
p. 2926.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Jun 46
p. 3053.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
SOUND
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the character created by Jack Boyle.
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Boston Blackie's Private Ghost
Release Date:
2 May 1946
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 April 1946
Production Date:
7 January--21 January 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 May 1946
Copyright Number:
LP392
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
64
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11500
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When reformed thief Boston Blackie tries to help a friend of his associate, The Runt, he finds himself enmeshed in a web of deception. Runt's friend, Eddie Alexander, chauffeur to Anne and Rex Duncan, had been asked by Anne to pick up a leather case from Dr. Nejino, a spiritualist. Upon opening the box, Eddie found a diamond necklace, and fearing that it was stolen, he turned to Blackie for help. Blackie takes the box from Eddie and proceeds to Nejino's office to question the doctor about Anne. Claiming that Anne is unstable, Nejino invites Blackie, Runt and Eddie to attend a seánce that he is about to hold for Anne. Before strapping himself to a table to summon the spirits, Nejino instructs his secretary, Sandra, to phone Inspector Farraday of the police department. In a trance, Nejino intones that the ghost of Anne's father wants to speak to her, but an evil presence is preventing communication. Agitated, Anne screams, and when the lights are switched on, Eddie's body lies lifeless on the floor, stabbed in the back. Soon after, Farraday arrives and Sandra accuses Eddie of stealing the necklace. Farraday, Blackie's nemesis, is about to accuse Blackie and Runt of the crime when the two flee through a secret tunnel and take refuge in Anne's car. When Anne drives off and finds them hiding in her back seat, she asks for help. Anne confides that Nejino had been blackmailing her because, as a girl of seventeen, she had married the spiritualist. Her father had the marriage annulled, after which she married Rex, the scion ... +


When reformed thief Boston Blackie tries to help a friend of his associate, The Runt, he finds himself enmeshed in a web of deception. Runt's friend, Eddie Alexander, chauffeur to Anne and Rex Duncan, had been asked by Anne to pick up a leather case from Dr. Nejino, a spiritualist. Upon opening the box, Eddie found a diamond necklace, and fearing that it was stolen, he turned to Blackie for help. Blackie takes the box from Eddie and proceeds to Nejino's office to question the doctor about Anne. Claiming that Anne is unstable, Nejino invites Blackie, Runt and Eddie to attend a seánce that he is about to hold for Anne. Before strapping himself to a table to summon the spirits, Nejino instructs his secretary, Sandra, to phone Inspector Farraday of the police department. In a trance, Nejino intones that the ghost of Anne's father wants to speak to her, but an evil presence is preventing communication. Agitated, Anne screams, and when the lights are switched on, Eddie's body lies lifeless on the floor, stabbed in the back. Soon after, Farraday arrives and Sandra accuses Eddie of stealing the necklace. Farraday, Blackie's nemesis, is about to accuse Blackie and Runt of the crime when the two flee through a secret tunnel and take refuge in Anne's car. When Anne drives off and finds them hiding in her back seat, she asks for help. Anne confides that Nejino had been blackmailing her because, as a girl of seventeen, she had married the spiritualist. Her father had the marriage annulled, after which she married Rex, the scion of a wealthy Charleston family. One day, Nejino informed Anne that their marriage was never annulled, and to prevent embarrassment to Rex's family, she gave him her necklace to remain silent. After promising to help Anne, Blackie and Runt sneak back into Nejino's office and are greeted by the spiritualist, who demands the necklace at gunpoint. Aided by Sandra, Blackie and Runt escape and later meet Sandra at a restaurant. There Sandra discloses that her boss has become entangled in something evil and tells them about a confidential file that Nejino had hidden in the laboratory of his next-door neighbor, Dr. Purcell Nash. When Blackie and Runt hurry to Nash's laboratory, Sandra signals Nejino to call the police. Just as Blackie and Runt discover Nash's dead body, Farraday, summoned by Nejino, arrives. After narrowly escaping the police once again, Blackie and Runt split up and arrange to meet at Jumbo Madigan's pawn shop the following evening. The next night, when Blackie shows Jumbo the necklace, the pawnbroker recognizes it as belonging to Anne and reveals that Rex was penniless until he married Anne. Now suspicious of Rex's story about his wealthy family, Blackie phones Anne and asks her to meet him at the pawnshop. Having eavesdropped on the conversation, Rex follows her there. As Blackie tells Anne that Nejino and Rex are in league to swindle her, Rex aims his gun through the window and shoots Anne. Blackie instructs Runt to surrender to the police and then disappears. Anne is taken to the hospital, and as Rex nervously paces the hallway, he is informed that his wife has died. Hiding in a doorway, Blackie observes Rex's reaction and follows him to Nejino's. Soon after, Farraday and Sgt. Matthews arrive at Nejino's, and Farraday asks the spiritualist to contact Anne so that she can reveal the name of her killer. After Farraday leaves to bring Runt to the seánce, Blackie enters Nejino's office and knocks him unconscious. As Farraday, Matthews, Runt, Sandra and Rex gather for the seánce, Nejino is wheeled into the room, strapped to the table in a trance. When he summons Anne's spirit, her image appears in a mist and accuses Rex of deception and murder. Pulling out his gun, Rex fires at Anne's image, then shoots Nejino after accusing him of a double-cross. At that moment, Anne appears, very much alive, and Blackie reveals that on the day of Eddie's murder, a dummy of Nejino had been strapped to the table while the real spiritualist slipped through a hidden door, allowing him to kill Eddie. Blackie continues that he and Farraday were secretly working together to trick Rex and Nejino into exposing their racket. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.