Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Blue, White and Perfect (1942)
The character had been created by Davis Dresser, writing under the pseudonym Brett Halliday. He wrote dozens of Mike Shayne novels between 1939 and 1958 and more were later written by various ghostwriters.
In the 50s there was also a Michael Shayne TV series and a radio series.
He’ll soon have plenty to investigate. The aircraft plant is absolutely riddled with German spies! We know straight away they’re German spies because they all have heavy German accents and they behave in a really sinister manner, just like German spies in the movies. The spies have stolen some industrial diamonds, essential for the war effort.
Shayne doesn’t really solve the case. He just manages to stay alive long enough to stumble over the solution. He can’t even be given credit for the staying alive part - it’s mostly just dumb luck. Which makes him strangely likeable. You can’t help wondering what his next mistake will be.
It needs to be admitted up front that Michael Shayne as played by Lloyd Nolan bears no resemblance at all to the Michael Shayne of the novels. None whatsoever.
Mary Beth Hughes is fine as the long-suffering Merle (she appeared in several movies in this series but as different characters). Helene Reynolds is very good as the glamorous woman who may or may not turn out to be a femme fatale.
I’ve seen all four movies in this set and this might be the one I enjoyed most. Lightweight but recommended.
I’ve also reviewed Michael Shayne: Private Detective (1940), The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942) and Sleepers West (1941). You might also be interested in my review of one of the novels, Murder Is My Business.