The Chance of a Lifetime
|The Chance of a Lifetime|
|Directed by||William Castle|
|Produced by||Wallace MacDonald|
|Written by||Jack Boyle
|Music by||M. W. Stoloff|
|Edited by||Jerome Thoms|
|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.
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).
- Chester Morris as Boston Blackie
- Erik Rolf as Dooley Watson
- Jeanne Bates as Mary Watson
- Richard Lane as Inspector John Farraday
- George E. Stone as The Runt
- Lloyd Corrigan as Arthur Manleder
- Arthur Hunnicutt as Elwood "Tex" Stewart
- Pierre Watkin as Gov. Rutledge
- Douglas Fowley as "Nails" Blanton
- Sid Melton as "Sunny" Hines
- Walter Sande as Detective Sgt. Mathews
- Harry Semels as Jerome "Egypt" Hines
- Ray Teal as Joe, a cop
- Marie De Becker as Miss Bailey
Critic Leonard Maltin said that star Chester Morris "brought to the role a delightful offhand manner and sense of humour that kept the films fresh even when the scripts weren't."[this quote needs a citation] Hal Erickson of Allmovie said "The Chance of a Lifetime represents the first directorial effort of William Castle, who later claimed that, saddled with a hopeless project, he made the film "work" by re-arranging the reels in the editing room."