User Reviews (10)

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  • Warning: Spoilers
    ....as a jury member, mind you. And despite the fact that he's not getting paid by anyone, he takes it upon himself to clear the glamorous defendant Janis Carter from a murder charge. But to do that he has to sneak out of the hotel where the jurors are required to stay - and avoid a pestering freelance photographer. The murder plot is far too murky to fit into just 65 minutes, but the film has entertaining bits of comedy, some smart lines ("I tried counting sheep to go to sleep, but they got so tired that they couldn't jump the fence"), and a spirited sidekick for Shayne (Marjorie Weaver, in her third and best appearance in this series - in three different roles). The climax is either audacious or ridiculous, depending on your point of view: Shayne steps down from the jury box, shoves the lawyers aside and starts asking questions directly to the witnesses! The judge allows all this to happen, and THEN, after Shayne has solved the case, sends him to jail for contempt of court! Incidentally, the title has nothing to do with the film. **1/2 out of 4.
  • Okay entry in Michael Shayne series. Mike works to clear innocent woman Hubbard (Carter) from a murder charge. And catch that sudden knife toss across a packed courtroom. The victim could have cleared Hubbard, but no longer. Now Mike's got to really dig, with the help (sort of) of spunky girl reporter Taylor (Weaver). Adding real spark is the inimitable Phil Silvers in an early role as a big personality photographer. Seems to me that Nolan's more subdued than usual, but he's always a strong presence anyway.

    The storyline is pretty packed so you may need a scorecard to keep up with dolphin pins and custom made knives. Speaking of sharp edges, how did production finesse Telmachio's knife throwing act. I can't see them really letting a girl's live edges serve as the thrower's target. Oh well, it is well done, however they did it. Still, I had trouble telling Weaver and Carter apart since they're almost look-alikes —was that intentional, I wonder. Also, take a look at the huge windowless walls of the supposed warehouse that appears about halfway through. From their looks I'll bet they're outside walls of TCF soundstages. If so, the cast didn't have far to go. All in all, the 60- minutes remains an average entry in the often delightful Shayne series. And should you happen to miss a favorite Perry Mason, then give this courtroom drama a look-see.
  • Michael Shayne is serving on a jury when a key witness is murdered in front of everybody by a mysterious knife thrower. Despite the jurors being sequestered in a hotel, Shayne manages to sneak out to investigate. A decent B detective movie with a nice mystery and healthy dose of comedy. Lloyd Nolan is perfect in the role of Shayne and always a treat to watch. A trio of lovely starlets in this one: Janis Carter, Marjorie Weaver, and Joan Valerie. All three are pretty but Weaver has the best part as the reporter helping Shayne investigate. Good chemistry between her and Nolan. The rest of the cast includes Phil Silvers, Don Costello, and Richard Derr. Not one of the best of the series but a fine time-passer.
  • Just Off Broadway an entry in the Michael Shayne film series has Lloyd Nolan sitting on a jury in a murder case where the beautiful Janis Carter is on trial for killing her fiance. How given his line of work he got on a jury is beyond me, but there he is.

    Things really get interesting when a witness tesitfying is killed with a thrown knife from the rear of the courtroom. Why the cops also can't come to the conclusion that only an expert could have made such a throw is also beyond me.

    Not particularly happy with how the defense is going Nolan when sequestered for the evening sneaks out and with Lois Lane like reporter Marjorie Weaver and in a few hours he gathers what evidence he needs to unmask the real killer.

    In terms of the criminal justice system this is all patent nonsense. But Nolan and the rest of the cast keep the nonsense moving along quite nicely with some snappy dialog. You won't believe who the real killer is.

    Phil Silvers abrasive comic style is put to good use as a nosy news photographer Nolan and Weaver have to keep dodging.

    In the end no good deed goes unpunished for Michael Shayne. Watch and see what I mean.
  • wkozak2219 February 2020
    Warning: Spoilers
    I love mysteries. Especially classic ones. This one is funny to an extent, fast paced and engaging. It keeps you guessing throughout. I have a few slight problems. I never liked Phil Silvers. I never found him funny. Here he is annoying. I know this is nitpicky but you have to suspend disbelief that Shayne can get out of the sequstered hotel and not be missed. It is engaging and still holds up.
  • A woman (Janis Carter) is on trial for murder. A witness is killed by a knife flung at him in court; detective Michael Shayne (Lloyd Nolan) is on the jury and jumps into the fray. Crawling on the floor, he grabs the knife from under a table and drives it under the top.

    Shayne knows the defendant is innocent and is determined to prove it. After drugging his fellow juror roommate, he takes off down the fire escape and goes back to court to retrieve the knife. A reporter (Marjorie Weaver) beats him to it and wants in on the story.

    The Michael Shayne films from 20th Century Fox were a series of Bs starring Lloyd Nolan. They're short, light, quick-moving, and fun, with a good performances by Nolan and Weaver in the usual relationship between detective and competitive female reporter we see so often.

    This is a very 40s film, with talk of ration cards and killing the Japanese.
  • Fast and furious "B" courtesy of Lloyd Nolan's unstoppable for very long Mike Shayne, private, I guess, detective. Murder abounds most foul, but you can be readily assured in this instance the butler didn't do it. Courtroom highjinks are just the beginning of the fun as Mike bothered by brunette reporter with occasional appearances by photographer buddy played by Phil Silvers in early "Sargent Bilco" mode, investigates in the wings of the local Ed Sullivan theater searching for a knife throwing contingency. After 2 or 3 conks on the head, sped up fist fights, being saved by bruised brunette more times than was needed, Mike is finally free to hunt down the master maniac. Imagine the surprise when we find out courtrooms are often like outhouses, full of stuff we'd rather not see, let alone smell.

    The adventures of Mike Shayne weren't huge moneymakers for 20th Century Fox, in the detecting arena that role was filled by the ever scrutable Charlie Chan. Suffice it to say, this caper "Just Off Broadway" wasn't the best sparkler in the series, but an OK time waster in the 60 minute market. The method of death here can not be expected to be any "knife in the water".
  • edwagreen8 March 2016
    7/10
    ***
    Warning: Spoilers
    How the jury system could allow a private detective to sit on a jury amazed me. In addition, since when are jurists allowed to question people on the witness stand? That was also amazing.

    Lloyd Nolan is great here and he even shows wonderful comedic skill, especially in the elevator scene when he talks like an Irish person playing a plumber.

    Imagine a witness for the defense is killed in the court while testifying thanks to a knife being thrown from the rear of the court.

    The film is devoted to the escapades of Nolan and Marjorie Weaver, his gal pal and journalist seeking to uncover information on the murder.

    Phil Silvers is in fine form, his usual comedic self, this time as a photographer attempting to shoot a picture of Nolan.
  • ...with Lloyd Nolan as the Michael Shayne character. In this entry, Nolan is serving on a jury in a murder trial. A witness is knifed while testifying, so Nolan immediately jumps out of the jury box and hides the knife under a table. I'm no legal expert, but I think this qualifies as either suppressing evidence or obstruction of justice.

    It gets worse. Nolan figures out who killed the witness ... some professional knife-thrower guy named "Shiverino," or something similar. Nolan tracks down the guy to a warehouse, and breaks in (I think that is also illegal). Then the guy turns up dead. In trying to escape, Nolan slugs a security guard (sounds like assault and battery to me). In the courtroom finale, Nolan, still acting as a juror, is allowed to call and question witnesses. Then he sums up the case, Charlie Chan-style, but you need a scorecard to figure out who did what to whom and where. Justice is served, somewhat, as Nolan gets a short jail term for contempt of court. The screenwriters should have gotten the electric chair.

    This film is not even amusing. Nolan comes off as irritating, which is too bad, since I like him. Marjorie Weaver, who plays a reporter, aids and abets Nolan. Phil Silvers is barely funny as a newspaper photographer. Janis Carter, a lovely B-movie gal, is completely wasted as the defendant. She has little screen time, and only has a few lines near the end of the film. The fight and chase scenes are shown at high speed, in an early attempt at Cinema de Benny Hill.

    Joan Valerie sings (or lip-syncs) "It Happened, It's Over, Let's Forget It." Sound advice.
  • Terrible acting. The characters lack depth except the protagonists. Most acting is boring and two dimensional. Too much unrealistic drama. For example, when Nolan is being attacked by another man, the woman who is with Nolan knocks out the attacker with a gun. The worst part is how police suddenly show up. How did they know? Even worse is how two LEOs rush in, as if they know exactly where to go and who to look for. Then they fire off shots as the two people get away. I doubt that this was ever police protocol. A LEO especially does not fire away at a criminal as the criminal is running away at a distance. It's more of a cute movie with corny one-liners here and there. It's supposed to be a mystery detective comedy I guess but it's just poorly made. There are plenty of early 1940s films like Penny Serenade that have depth and three-dimensional characters.