Michael Shayne: Private Detective (1940)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Mystery, Drama  |  10 January 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 255 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 7 critic

After gumshoe Mike Shayne is hired by a millionaire to keep his daughter away from gambling and gamblers, he becomes involved in the murder of a racetrack tout.



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Title: Michael Shayne: Private Detective (1940)

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Complete credited cast:
Marjorie Weaver ...
Joan Valerie ...
Marsha Gordon
Elliott Thomas
Elizabeth Patterson ...
Aunt Olivia
Donald MacBride ...
Chief Painter
Gordon (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Clarence Kolb ...
George Meeker ...
Harry Grange
Charles Coleman ...
Adrian Morris ...
Al (as Michael Morris)
Robert Emmett Keane ...
Larry Kincaid
Frank Orth ...
Irving Bacon ...


Millionaire sportsman Hiram Brighton hires gumshoe Michael Shayne to keep his spoiled daughter Phyllis away from racetrack betting windows and roulette wheels. After Phyllis slips away and continues her compulsive gambling, Shayne fakes the murder of her gambler boyfriend, who is also romancing the daughter of casino owner Benny Gordon, in order to frighten her. When the tout really ends up murdered, Shayne and Phyllis' Aunt Olivia, an avid reader of murder mysteries, both try to find the identity of the killer. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Mystery | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Detective Apaixonado  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First in a series. See more »


Phyllis Brighton: [referring to her bad luck at the roulette table] All my rabbits have flat feet!
See more »


Followed by Sleepers West (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

OK Shayne Entry
11 July 2012 | by (Ramsey, NJ) – See all my reviews

This is a very entertaining series and affords Lloyd Nolan a charismatic part as Mike Shayne, street-wise Private Eye. "Michael Shayne, Private Detective" is better than "The Man Who Wouldn't Die" but not as good as "Just Off Broadway", and it is also the first entry in the series. The usual strong support cast is on hand, and Fox surrounded him with some of the best character actors available. Among them are Douglas Dumbrille, Elizabeth Patterson, Donald McBride and Walter Abel.

As far as the story goes, I think 'planktonrules' hit the nail on the head - the film was cruising along and then dropped the ball with a hastily contrived ending which no one could see coming. But, as I say, you root for the chipper and cheerful Nolan, who carries nearly every scene he's in. The picture also employs one of my pet peeves, that of mixing mystery and comedy, which was often done prior to WW II and which I don't feel go well together.

Recapping; excellent series, passable entry.

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