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In the shadows of the night Dudley Wolff (Paul Harvey), his secretary Alfred Dunning (Robert Emmett Keane), and his doctor, Haggard (Henry Wilcoxon), 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. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dorothy Malone's first screen appearance. See more »
When Shayne confronts Dudley Wolff, his wife and Dunning in the den, he refers to Wolff's partner buried "last night in the woods". That was actually two nights before, as the previous night was the one when Dr Haggard got killed. See more »
Lloyd Nolan as Michael Shayne...and a case that may involve the undead
Mike Shayne is back with us in The Man Who Wouldn't Die, one of the last of the seven Shayne movies Lloyd Nolan cranked out in a three-year period. While the acting for the most part is no better than you'd expect in a quickie B, it's got the old dark house cliché down pat. Mike Shayne is called upon to pretend to be the new husband of the daughter of a wealthy businessman, now under investigation back in Washington. The man has a lush, young wife, an obsequious male secretary, an older and discrete butler and a live-in, tall and handsome doctor/scientist. Most of all, the man has a huge, isolated mansion with lots of corridors and rooms. And at night, the shadows are dark, the grounds are scary, a murderer creeps about and a buried corpse has trouble staying buried. Shayne's job is to find out why someone took a shot at his female friend in her bedroom, and why everyone, including her father, insists that it was her imagination. Things get even more dicey when the young lady's real husband shows up.
Lloyd Nolan brings all of Michael Shayne's wise-cracking confidence to life as he puzzles out a murderous mystery that involves revenge and slow breathing. Except for Nolan, the acting is B level clunky. Still, it's always fun to see Olin Howland do his gullible hayseed routine, this time as Police Chief Meek. In a small part as the town's coroner is Jeff Corey, a good actor when given half a chance. To see him at his best, watch his performance as Blinky Franklin in The Killers.
Like all the Michael Shayne mysteries Lloyd Nolan made in the early Forties, nowadays the reason to watch them is Lloyd Nolan. Shayne's good-natured confidence and shrewd thinking is a perfect match for Nolan.
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