Review

  • Lloyd Nolan stars as Michael Shayne, a down-on-his-luck P. I. who's having trouble paying his bills. His luck changes when he's hired to keep watch over rich girl Phyllis (Marjorie Weaver) who's been spending too much of daddy's money lately losing at the gambling house. A simple babysitting job gets complicated when a dead body pops up and Shayne looks like the guilty party.

    This was the first in a series of Shayne mysteries starring Nolan, based on books by Brett Halliday. Nolan is very good as the genial Shayne, a decent guy who isn't afraid to use his fists but prefers using his wits. I liked that he's shown to be fallible, making clumsy mistakes like ripping his pants while sneaking around, which helps to humanize him compared to other movie sleuths who never seem to make a misstep. Weaver's spoiled rich girl act is irritating at first, but her character makes a big turnaround, and Elizabeth Patterson is a delight as Weaver's detective-story-addict aunt who helps out on the case. This movie doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but it knows its lane and travels it well.