The Michael Shayne, Private Detective Collection Vol. 1

 

Michael Shayne, Private Detective (1940)      Sleepers West (1941)
Blue, White, and Perfect (1942)        The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942)

 

Hollywood was in the throes of churning out some fast-paced B-pictures of the popular pulp detective genre in the 1940's and the Michael Shayne stories of Brett Halliday were a perfect fit. The series started with Michael Shayne, Private Detective (based on Dividend on Death) and Fox produced these in the same mode as the Chan or Moto films. Lloyd Nolan is well cast as the flippant Irish-American private eye Michael Shayne. Uniquely different from the typical Bogie-style protagonist - a-little-less-hard-boiled - Shayne movies blend some minor screwball comedy in enjoyable detective yarns. While the character and first feature are based on the original stories of Brett Halliday, many of the films were written by some of the best pulp writers of the era. Six were completed and Fox has brought us 4 in their DVD set The Michael Shayne, Private Detective Collection Vol. 1, unusually skipping over Dressed to Kill (1940), but it serves as a solid introduction to the entertaining character and his noirish adventures.

Gary Tooze


Titles

 

 


 

Michael Shayne: Private Detective
Stars Lloyd Nolan, Marjorie Weaver, Joan Valerie, Walter Abel, Elizabeth Patterson
Directors: Eugene Forde
Theatrical Release Date: December 19th, 1940
Synopsis - The Irish-American detective Shayne is hired by a racetrack bigwig (Kolb) to guard his compulsive gambler daughter (Weaver). When her boyfriend is murdered, Shayne gets blamed.

Sleepers West
Stars Lloyd Nolan, Lynn Bari, Mary Beth Hughes, Louis Jean Heydt, Edward Brophy
Directors: Eugene Forde
Theatrical Release Date: March 14, 1941
Synopsis - Detective Shayne is on a train headed for San Francisco with a surprise witness (Hughes) whom many on board would like to keep from testifying at a murder trial.

Blue, White and Perfect
Stars Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Helene Reynolds, George Reeves, Steven Geray
Directors: Herbert I. Leeds
Theatrical Release Date: January 6, 1942
Synopsis - Detective Michael Shayne aids the war effort by fighting industrial diamond smugglers. They operate through Hawaii and part of the movie takes place on an ocean liner headed for there.

The Man Who Wouldn't Die
Stars Lloyd Nolan, Marjorie Weaver, Helene Reynolds, Henry Wilcoxon, Richard Derr
Directors: Herbert I. Leeds
Theatrical Release Date: May 1, 1942
Synopsis - In the shadows of the night Dudley Wolff (Paul Harvey), his secretary Alfred Dunning (Robert Emmett Keane), and his doctor, Haggard (Henry Wilcoxin), bury a body in the estate cemetery. At the house, Wolff's daughter Catherine (Marjorie Weaver) arrives unexpectedly and tells her step-mother Anne Wolff (Helene Reynolds) that she has just been married to Roger Blake (Richard Derr) who will be along in a few days. Cathy retires and is awakened by a mysterious assailant who fires a shot at her, but her parents tell her she was just dreaming. Wolff goes to the cemetery and finds the body missing. The scared Cathy calls in fast-talking private detective Mike Shayne (Lloyd Nolan) and, since her father doesn't like detectives, she introduces him as her husband. That evening Shayne hears a shot and finds that Haggard has been killed. While the police are questioning the family, the lights go out and a shot is fired from outside. 

Magazines

Theatrical Releases: 1940 - 1942

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: 20th Century Fox (2 double-sided-discs) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Films are approx 1:15:00 each.
Sample bitrate
Audio English (original mono) English (2.0 stereo)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

  •  Disc 1 Side A: MICHAEL SHAYNE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE (1942)

  •  Disc 1 Side B: THE MAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE (1942)
     Disc 2 Side A: SLEEPERS WEST (1941)
     Disc 2 Side B: BLUE, WHITE, & PERFECT (1942)
     "The Detective Who Never Dies"
     "The Art of Robert McGinnis: Mike Shayne and Beyond"
     "Follow That Lead!" interactive trivia game
     "Nabbing Crooks the Mike Shayne Way"
     Restoration comparisons


DVD Release Date: March 20th, 2007

2 Slim Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: 20 X 3 + 16 

 

 

Comments:

The 4 main features of this boxset are housed in 2 individual slim Slim Keep Cases (see image above) and may only be obtained in Fox's The Michael Shayne, Private Detective Collection Vol. 1 at this time.

The 2 DVDs are single-layered and double-sided and have optional English mono and stereo audio tracks and French, Spanish or English subtitles. Michael Shayne, Private Detective and The Man Who Wouldn't Die on Disc 1 (opposite sides) and Sleepers West and Blue, White, and Perfect on disc 2 (again on opposite sides). Each DVD is coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard. There are featurettes for each film and an 8-page liner notes booklet included in the package.

Image quality is very strong with progressively rendered transfers in the correct 1.33 aspect ratio. Each DVD is consistent with exceptionally good detail and above-average contrast. These look far superior to Fox's earlier Chan or Moto series.

I listened to the mono audio and only briefly sampled the stereo options - it sounded fairly even in my limited testing.

I'm not a fan or the color yellow for the optional subtitles but they do seem to be accurately translated from the dialogue.

There are 3 featurettes interspersed on the 2 sided discs - "The Detective Who Never Dies", "The Art of Robert McGinnis: Mike Shayne and Beyond" and "Nabbing Crooks the Mike Shayne Way", plus an interactive trivia game called "Follow That Lead!", a gallery for McGinnis' Art and some repeated restoration comparisons. Of all the extras I got the most out of The Art of Robert McGinnis - it was informative with some nice visuals. I can't see a commentary being worthwhile for any of the movies as they are quite simple and a bit formulaic.

I was quite keen on seeing these films and they didn't disappoint. I was a bit deterred by the injection of the comedy but I got used to it fairly quickly. Nolan is great as Michael Shayne and this is priced very well - certainly much cheaper than the corresponding
Chan or Moto series. If you like the detective films of the era I'm sure you'll get something out of this as well. I can recommend it on the basis of the light films and the excellent transfers - you can't beat it for the price. 
 

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus


Special Features :


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Michael Shayne: Private Detective (1940)


Stars Lloyd Nolan, Marjorie Weaver, Joan Valerie, Walter Abel, Elizabeth Patterson


Directors: Eugene Forde

 

 


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Sleepers West (1942)


Stars Lloyd Nolan, Lynn Bari, Mary Beth Hughes, Louis Jean Heydt, Edward Brophy


Directors: Eugene Forde

 

 

 


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Blue, White and Perfect (1941)


Stars Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Helene Reynolds, George Reeves, Steven Geray


Directors: Herbert I. Leeds

 


Slim Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

 The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942)


Stars Lloyd Nolan, Marjorie Weaver, Helene Reynolds, Henry Wilcoxon, Richard Derr


Directors: Herbert I. Leeds

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!