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Private Detective (1939)

When they are forced to work together, rival detectives fall in love.


(as Noel Smith)


(screen play), (screen play) (as Raymond Schrock) | 1 more credit »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Rickey
Gloria Dickson ...
Mona Lannon
Maxie Rosenbloom ...
John Ridgely ...
Donald Norton
Morgan Conway ...
Nat Flavin
John Eldredge ...
Millard Lannon
Joseph Crehan ...
Capt. Murphy
William B. Davidson ...
Inspector Evans (as William Davidson)
Simmy Sanger (as Selmar Jackson)
Vera Lewis ...
Mrs. Widner
Julie Stevens ...
Jack Mower ...
Detective Dolan
Henry Blair ...
Bobby Lannon
Earl Dwire ...
Justice of the Peace (scenes deleted)


Private detective "Jinx" Wilsnow is working on the case of a divorcée who is accused of murdering her ex-husband. She and police detective Jim Rickey, working on the same crime, cross and criss-cross each other's path to the extent they decide more progress would be made if they work together. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Oh Please Miss Detective... I Want To Be Arrested By You! See more »


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Release Date:

9 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Detetive Particular  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Myrna "Jinx" Winslow: I'm a detective, dear.
Lt. Jim Rickey: That's perjury!
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User Reviews

"I don't want to be a detective anymore."
25 May 2005 | by (Corrales, NM) – See all my reviews

Jane Wyman follows her similar role in Torchy (Blane) Plays with Dynamite with another Noel Smith-directed "B" movie pitting the skills of a female private detective against the might of the police department. Private Detective never quite makes up its mind whether it wants to emphasize the love interest or solving crime. Not that there isn't a plethora of crimes to be solved: we are treated to murder, blackmail, kidnapping – and that is just by the bad guys. The cops go in for breaking and entering big time with Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom as Detective Brody breaking down two of four doors attempted. Mike Mazurki does this type role much better. Morgan Conway is also hard to believe in his role as he was equally implausible as Dick Tracy in later movies.

The crime plot revolves around the framing of a "Reno divorcée" (who has a questionable relationship with her so-called fiancée) for the murder of her ex-husband. The murder is not too hard to solve so we would think then that the love interest would be played up instead. It would appear that some of the storyline ended up on the cutting room floor since there are good set ups for scenes that simply do not appear and then are referred to later at least in passing.

The writing clearly has a feminine touch with barbs being thrown at male chauvinism and oblique criticism of the stereotypical role women should play. This part of the storyline at least has continuity. Jane Wyman as Myrna 'Jinx' Winslow tells her boss no to "shhhh" her and then quits as she is fired from the Nation-wide Detective Agency. She keeps the job for at least one more case and after solving the murder tells her boyfriend Detective Lieutenant Jim Rickey (Dick Foran) that "I don't want to be a detective anymore." Not recommended unless you are trying to study how women are portrayed in traditional men's roles or just want to watch Jane Wyman going through the scenes with lots of very different hats and fur coats and even on the ledge of a tall building while wearing high heels.

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