at the Movies!

During the 1940s, detective and mystery films were extremely popular with the viewing public. Private eyes from fiction, such as Raymond Chandlerís Philip Marlowe, and Rex Stoutís Nero Wolfe appeared in several big budget films. And everyone is familiar with Dashiell Hammettís Sam Spade, as depicted in Walter Hustonís version of "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart as Spade

However most detective thrillers made in Hollywood were limited to "B" films, or short series of films. The Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce "Sherlock Holmes" series at Fox were a good example of this approach, as were the "Charlie Chan", "Falcon", "Ellery Queen" and "Boston Blackie" franchises. Several detective radio series made the leap to film, including the "Mr. District Attorney" and the Monogram depictions of "The Shadow."

"I Love A Mystery" was also turned into a short-lived series of black and white films. Between 1945 and 1946, there were three films produced by Columbia, based on Carlton E. Morseís popular "blood and thunder" radio serial. And while they didnít win any rave reviews, the first two of the ILAM series are entertaining detective thriller fare.

For more information on each of the three Columbia ILAM films, check the following links below:

"I Love A Mystery"           "The Devil's Mask"           "The Unknown"

Finally, there was an ILAM television pilot created during the late 1960s for an aborted television series. A campy effort, inspired in part by "Batman" and "The Avengers", you can read my impressions by following the link here: The Television Pilot

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