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Boomerang Bill

This Jack Boyle short story is considered by many to be one of his best stories. Remember, this film was released in 1922, long before political correctness, when the world was still hard and real. Even though the main character is Boomerang Bill we have listed this film here because it was originally written as a Boston Blackie story by Jack Boyle.

This is an excerpt from the original Boston Blackie story by Jack Boyle that was adapted for Boomerang Bill.

"Boomerang Bill!" exclaimed a well dressed youth, nudging the arm of Boston Blackie, who sat beside him on a park bench. "Poor broken-down old bum, peddling pencils for a jitney a throw! I hear he lives in Eye You's old den in the alley, along with the Chink's little girl and yellow dog, since the old man died. Bill looks like he's turned half-Chink himself, don't he? And they say he was once a real crook. Lord, they musta broke his nerve right over at Quintin Prison to have brought him to this! Did you know him in the old days when he was all white, Blackie? The well dressed youth impatient at Blackies abstract silence repeated "did you know him?" "Did I know him?" As Boston Blackie repeated the question, reel after reel of swiftly moving pictures unfolded before him. The characters in them lived and moved, and spoke again as once, in reality, they had lived, moved, spoken and loved. And this is the resurrected drama of the past that was relived in Boston Blackie's memory as he paused after the question: I knew him when he was a better man than either of us--Which he may be to-day. But he must have a yellow streak persisted the youth. "A prison jolt can change a a white man into that" -- with a jerk of his thumb toward the peddler. "Prison did not make Boomerang Bill what he is," answered Blackie quietly. "A baby with brown eyes that should have been blue like Bill's own, did it. He lost everything that makes life livable and has found in its stead and what you call a little Chink girl he calls 'Annie' and a yellow dog. They love him and he loves them. And he sells pencils because not long ago, he promised a little girl he would never do another crooked trick. "Yes kid," Blackie said, "Boomerang Bill is a man of his word."

Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: February 12,1922
Running Time: 6 reels; less than 90 minutes   B/W
Director: Tom Terriss
Assistant Director: Frank Hulette
Executive Producer: William Randolph Hearst
Cinematography: Al Ligouri
Art Department: Joseph Urban
Screeplay: Doty Hobart
Production Dates: Start 16, April 1921

RATING:   * * *


Lionel Barrymore as Boomerang Bill
Marguerite Mash as Annie
Margaret Seddon as Annie's Mother
Frank Shannon as Terrence O'Malley
Matthew Betz as Tony the Wop
Charles Fang as Chinaman
Harry Lee as Chinaman
Miriam Battista as Chinese Girl
Helen Kim as Chinaese Girl

Boomerang Bill

When New York City police officer O'Malley learns of a young man who is about to embark on a life of crime by taking part in a robbery.


When New York City police officer O'Malley learns of a young man who is about to embark on a life of crime by taking part in a robbery, he takes the boy aside and tells him the story of the career of Boomerang Bill. Bill, now a shoestring peddler, was another wanna-be gangster who wanted to be a big shot in the New York crime scene. Bill, a Chicago gunman, drifts to New York in search of work and in a dancehall meets a girl named Annie, whom he defends against the insults of Tony the Wop, a gangster. It seems local gang boss Tony the Wop doesn't take too well to Bills interference. Tony, who never forgets a slight, found a way to make things very, very tough for Boomerang Bill, in a way that he never saw coming. Bill and Annie fall in love and Bill meets her invalid mother, Bill decides to go straight, but he learns that Annie's mother will die unless she can go to the country. Bill robs a bank, then takes refuge in a Chinese laundry. Tony, who never forgot the slight, tips off the police and Bill is sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. Although she promises to wait for Bill, Annie accepts the proposal of a mining engineer who takes her and her invalid mother to the mountains. Following his release, Bill finds Annie and sees that she is happy and safe in her new life. Bill leaves the couple to their happiness. On hearing the story, the young man resists the temptation to steal and promises O'Malley to obtain honest employment.

Trivia: During filming in Chinatown, some members of the crew were stoned by Chinese who threw bricks and bottles at the car which concealed the camera. The Chinese believed that when their pictures were taken, their souls were taken away.

Lionel Barrymore WOF

Walk of Fame:

Lionel Barrymore has a star on the Walk of Fame in the Motion Pictures Category, Star Rank 464.
The address is 1752 Vine Street, between Hollywood and Yucca, east side, GPS 34.102760,-118.326551.

Lionel Barrymore

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Missing Millions   |   The Face in the Fog   |   Boston Blackie   |   Crooked Alley   |   Through the Dark   |   The Return of Boston Blackie  

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