The Chance of a Lifetime (1943)

66 mins | Drama | 26 October 1943

Director:

William Castle

Writer:

Paul Yawitz

Producer:

Wallace MacDonald

Cinematographer:

Ernest Miller

Editor:

Jerome Thoms

Production Designer:

Lionel Banks

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Gamble of Boston Blackie. In the onscreen credits, makeup artist H. Clay Campbell was listed as "S. Clay Campbell." This picture marked William Castle's directoral debut and the screen debut of Jeanne Bates. According to materials contained in NARS, the Los Angeles Board of Review disapproved this picture for export because of its depiction of the police as ineffectual and the many lawless activities contained in the film. For additional information on the Boston Blackie series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Meet Boston Blackie. ...

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The working title of this film was The Gamble of Boston Blackie. In the onscreen credits, makeup artist H. Clay Campbell was listed as "S. Clay Campbell." This picture marked William Castle's directoral debut and the screen debut of Jeanne Bates. According to materials contained in NARS, the Los Angeles Board of Review disapproved this picture for export because of its depiction of the police as ineffectual and the many lawless activities contained in the film. For additional information on the Boston Blackie series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Meet Boston Blackie.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1943
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1943
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald
16-Oct-43
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Sep 1943
p. 1545
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Oct 1943
p. 1586
Variety
22 Dec 1943
p. 12
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Ernie Miller
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
Mus dir
MAKEUP
H. Clay Campbell
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the character created by Jack Boyle.
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
The Gamble of Boston Blackie
Release Date:
26 October 1943
Production Date:
26 Jul--9 Aug 1943
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp.
15 October 1943
LP12305
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
66
Length(in feet):
5,914
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9551
SYNOPSIS

Boston Blackie, a reformed safecracker and Good Samaritan, convinces the governor to parole twelve convicts into his custody so that they can join the war effort working at his friend Arthur Manleder's tool factory. The parolees are to live in Blackie's apartment, but on their first night of freedom, Blackie allows one of them, Dooley Watson, to visit his wife Mary and son Johnny. The next day at the Manleder factory, Inspector Farraday, Blackie's nemesis, comes to inspect the newly discharged convicts. When Farraday discovers that Dooley is missing, he thinks that the convict went to retrieve the $60,000 he stole before going to jail. Meanwhile, at Mary's apartment, Dooley arrives with the $60,000 and tells his wife that they must leave town before his accomplices in the robbery, Red Taggart and Nails Blanton, can track him down. Appealing to her husband's finer instincts, Mary convinces him to return the money. At that moment, Nails and Red, who have rented an apartment in Mary's building, knock at the door and demand their share from the robbery. After Dooley claims that he dropped the money while fleeing the police, Nails pulls out a gun and orders Red to search the apartment. When Red threatens little Johnny, Dooley moves to protect his son, and in the ensuing struggle, the gun fires and kills Red. Seconds later, Blackie arrives and Nails runs out of the apartment. Realizing that Farraday will never believe Dooley's story, Blackie takes the money and the gun and sends the parolee back to the factory while he and his sidekick, The Runt, dispose of Red's body. As Blackie and ...

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Boston Blackie, a reformed safecracker and Good Samaritan, convinces the governor to parole twelve convicts into his custody so that they can join the war effort working at his friend Arthur Manleder's tool factory. The parolees are to live in Blackie's apartment, but on their first night of freedom, Blackie allows one of them, Dooley Watson, to visit his wife Mary and son Johnny. The next day at the Manleder factory, Inspector Farraday, Blackie's nemesis, comes to inspect the newly discharged convicts. When Farraday discovers that Dooley is missing, he thinks that the convict went to retrieve the $60,000 he stole before going to jail. Meanwhile, at Mary's apartment, Dooley arrives with the $60,000 and tells his wife that they must leave town before his accomplices in the robbery, Red Taggart and Nails Blanton, can track him down. Appealing to her husband's finer instincts, Mary convinces him to return the money. At that moment, Nails and Red, who have rented an apartment in Mary's building, knock at the door and demand their share from the robbery. After Dooley claims that he dropped the money while fleeing the police, Nails pulls out a gun and orders Red to search the apartment. When Red threatens little Johnny, Dooley moves to protect his son, and in the ensuing struggle, the gun fires and kills Red. Seconds later, Blackie arrives and Nails runs out of the apartment. Realizing that Farraday will never believe Dooley's story, Blackie takes the money and the gun and sends the parolee back to the factory while he and his sidekick, The Runt, dispose of Red's body. As Blackie and Runt drag Red back to his apartment, Farraday arrives and arrests Blackie for murder. To avoid jeopardizing the parolees, Blackie confesses that he shot Red and hands over the money. Meanwhile, at Blackie's apartment, the convicts rally to Blackie's defense and force Dooley to tell them the truth. They are just about to take Dooley to headquarters when Blackie arrives in Farraday's custody. Claiming that he needs privacy to bid his friends farewell, Blackie sends Farraday and his assistant, Sergeant Matthews, into the hallway. After telling the convicts that he plans to find Nails and wring a confession from him, Blackie and Runt escape and return to Nails's apartment. Discovering that two police officers are guarding the apartment, they pose as carpet cleaners to gain admission. When the real carpet cleaners appear, Blackie and Runt slip through the back door. To decoy the police out of the apartment, Blackie calls headquarters and, while pretending to be Farraday, orders that the officers be recalled. Blackie and Runt then return to search Nails's apartment, but when Farraday deduces Blackie's scheme, he drives to the building. While Runt and Blackie escape in the dumb waiter, Nails calls Dooley and informs him that he has kidnapped Mary and Johnny, demanding the money in exchange for their freedom. That night, Dooley meets Nails and tells him that Blackie has the money. Meanwhile, at Blackie's apartment, Manleder is having a discussion with the parolees when Blackie appears. When Manleder informs him about Dooley's predicament, Blackie decides to use the money to trap Nails. Disguised as scrubwomen, Runt and Blackie penetrate police headquarters and remove the money from the safe. When Nails reads the headlines about the theft, he goes to Jumbo Madigan's pawn shop in search of Blackie. Blackie is there waiting for him, and after Nails pulls out a gun and accompanies Blackie to his apartment to retrieve the money, Jumbo notifies Farraday. Nails is greeted at the apartment by Manleder and the parolees, who tie a rope around him and drop him from a window, threatening to let him fall to the street unless he confesses. Farraday then breaks down Blackie's door just in time to witness Nails's confession, exonerating both Blackie and Dooley. His social experiment a success, Blackie has a second group of convicts paroled into his custody.

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

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