The Chance of a Lifetime (1943 film)

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 Chance of a Lifetime
Film poster
Directed byWilliam Castle
Produced byWallace MacDonald
Written byJack Boyle
Paul Yawitz
StarringChester Morris
Erik Rolf
Jeanne Bates
Music byM. W. Stoloff
CinematographyErnest Miller
Edited byJerome Thoms
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 26, 1943 (1943-10-26)
Running time
65 min.
CountryUnited States


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).




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."[1]


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