DVD Review: Michael Shayne Mysteries Vol 1.

Michael Shayne Mysteries Vol.1

Twentieth Century Fox

The series of movies in this set–Michael Shayne Private Detective, The Man Who Wouldn’t Die, Sleepers West and Blue White and Perfect–star Lloyd Nolan as Michael Shayne. Nolan had a long career in Hollywood, appearing in over 150 movies and television shows; he worked right up until his death in Sept. of 1985, at the age of 83. (There was a second series of Shayne films starring Hugh Beaumont.)

The character of Michael Shayne was created by Brett Halliday, which was a pseudonym of Davis Dresser (who also wrote as Asa Baker, Mathew Blood, Kathryn Culver, Don Davis, Hal Debrett, Anthony Scott, and Anderson Wayne). 32 of the books were actually written by Dresser; the volumes that followed were written by a series of different ghost writers, including Denis Lynds and Robert Terrall. However, only the first film is based on one of the Halliday books.

Throughout the special features and in the booklet, the term noir is bandied about; and while I make no claims to be an expert, I would not call these noir films…maybe noir lite. The lighter toneactually makes these more watchable than typical noir.Nolan was perfect for the role and it is very clear he had a lot of fun with it. I especially love his interactions with other characters; he does subtle little things that really add to the role. Nolan embraced the wise cracking,quick thinking character they wanted for the movies. Tight plotting andnice directing make these truly classic detective films, and they should bein the collections of anyone who likes the PI genre.
The producer, Sol Wurtzel, is the same genius who brought us Mr. Moto. Fox studios liked their detective movies, which is evident in the run of the series.
The set has some really nice extra features including a great booklet,and a featurette called The Detective Who Never Dies, in which they talk to OttoPenzler, Barry Zeman, and Dressler’s widow.
Also included is a feature on cover artist Robert McGinnis, “Follow That Lead”, and Nabbing Crooks The Michael Shayne Way.

All in all, this is a must own for mystery fans, with hours of entertainment. I’m really looking forward to volume 2, and I plan to reread some of the books now as well.

Jon Jordan