22 January 2012 | ronringhoffer
Last of the PRC Mike Shayne B Detective films
THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS!!! I just watched this on a poor quality DVD. I have been a HUGE fan of this series and have been looking for this title for 30 years. This is the last of a series of 5 movies starring Hugh Beaumont as private detective Mike Shayne. What you will notice is that the Michael Shayne of this PRC series is not hardboiled like the one from the books or the Lloyd Nolan series. This Mike Shayne is an easy going, likable, peanut eating sleuth. He is stylish and slick. He carries a gun and gets into fistfights when he has to but does not throw his weight around and threaten people like the Lloyd Nolan Shayne.
I used to have the 1st 4 of the 5 movie series on 16mm film. I sold the films off years ago and had VHS copies made of the movies. I had never seen this title and was never able to find anyone who had a copy available. I just picked up this copy from a collector in England and I have been dying to watch it for many years. I especially wanted to watch it because it featured Claire Carlton. Hugh Beaumont and Claire Carleton are 2 of my all time favorite B movie actors.
The movie starts with Hugh getting ready to go on vacation with his secretary. Many of the movies in this series start or end with Hugh Beaumont trying to leave for vacation, but unable to because of his very busy schedule. The secretary in this movie is played by the beautiful Trudy Marshall. This is the only film in the series featuring her. The secretary Phyllis was played by Cheryl Walker in 3 movies and Kathryn Adams (Hugh Beaumonts real life wife) in 1 movie. Mike Shayne gets offered a high paying job to investigate counterfeit racing tickets. Shayne receives a phone call from Mayme Martin, played by the glamorous Claire Carleton. Mayme plays a blackmailing escort. She offers Shayne some information that he will have to pay $1,000 for. Shayne sends his reporter friend Tim Rourke with the money but Mayme is found dead when Rourke gets there. Tim Rourke is in all 5 movies in the series and is played by Charles Mitchell. Charles Mitchell played the role of Rourke only 1 time with Richard Keene playing it only once (in the 1st of the series) and Paul Bryer 3 times.
This movie features Ralph Dunn as Police Detective Pete Rafferty. Dunn played Rafferty in 4 of the 5 movies and Cy Kendall played him once. Ralph Dunn is one of the highlights of the series. He is lots of fun. The movies in this series tend to run about 60 minutes and are fast paced. This movie was directed by the immortal William "1 Shot" Beaudine. It was his only film in the series, with the 1st four being directed by the great Sam Newfield. William Beaudine was a prolific B director who directed many classic B movies and series movies like Charlie Chan, Bowery Boys and also several cheesy horror movies. He is probably best know for directing Mary Pickford in the great classic SPARROWS. Uncrediited in this movie, and also uncredited in the IMDb credits of this movie is a small role of a doctor played by Selmer Jackson. It seems hard to find a PRC or Monogram movie that he doesn't seem to pop up in. He always plays a doctor, army general or police chief in low budget movies.
This movie is recommended for fans of Hugh Beaumont or fans of low budget series detective movies like Charlie Chan, Philo Vance, Mr. Wong and the like. It is definitely worth tracking down if you can find it. I would love to see a good quality copy of the movie. The copy I watched was poor quality. The big problem with finding the movie is that the movie is not in the public domain. It is not a title with enough demand for the company holding its rights to release on DVD. If you like this movie, you definitely need to get the 3 Hugh Beaumont movies PIER 23, DANGER ZONE and ROARING CITY released on DVD by VCI. They are great quality with Hugh Beaumont playing private eye Denny O'Brien. Denny O'Brien was the movie version of the fantastic Pat Novak (and also Johnny Modero) old time radio shows starring Jack Webb. I consider the radio shows as MUST HAVE. Also look for Hugh Beaumont in the classic RAILROADED.