Friday, February 10, 2017

Michael Shayne: Private Detective (1940)

Starring Lloyd Nolan, Marjorie Weaver, Joan Valerie, Walter Abel, Elizabeth Patterson
Directed by Eugene Forde
(actor & director credits courtesy

Shayne is hired by a wealthy friend to watch over his gambling-addicted daughter, but the detective's attempt to teach her a lesson backfires when a man is murdered and he becomes the prime suspect.

We have here the first of several "Michael Shayne" films from 20th Century Fox, starring Nolan as the roguish detective who manipulates evidence to mislead the police while trying to find the real killer.   Nolan was an underappreciated actor who is a wonderful fit for this role, created by author Brett Halliday in a memorable series of novels, and his story and the clever screenplay by Stanley Rauh and Manning O'Connor push and pull the sleuth in and out of trouble very entertainingly.  Composer Cyril Mockridge adds a whimsical Irish theme for Shayne and Donald MacBride amuses as the police chief who matches wits with the detective but never quite catches up to Shayne's trickery.

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