12 user 7 critic

Michael Shayne: Private Detective (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Mystery, Drama | 10 January 1941 (USA)
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.


Eugene Forde


Stanley Rauh (screenplay), Manning O'Connor (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Detective Michael Shayne and his girlfriend Joanne are on their way to be married when a scream from a nearby hotel room draws his attention to a pair of theatrical murders.

Director: Eugene Forde
Stars: Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Sheila Ryan
Sleepers West (1941)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Mike Shayne tries to distinguish criminals from red herrings as he escorts a surprise witness via rail to a high profile trial in San Francisco.

Director: Eugene Forde
Stars: Lloyd Nolan, Lynn Bari, Mary Beth Hughes
Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A private detective gets mixed up with a phony spiritualist racket.

Director: Herbert I. Leeds
Stars: Lloyd Nolan, Marjorie Weaver, Helene Reynolds
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Detective Michael Shayne boards a Hawaii-bound ocean liner on the trail of stolen industrial diamonds and a Nazi smuggling ring.

Director: Herbert I. Leeds
Stars: Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Helene Reynolds
Time to Kill (1942)
Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A private detective is hired to retrieve a valuable antique coin that was stolen from its owner by her son, who used it to pay off a blackmailer. The private eye soon finds himself up to ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert I. Leeds
Stars: Lloyd Nolan, Heather Angel, Doris Merrick
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Private detective Michael Shayne (Lloyd Nolan) is serving on the jury trying Lillian Hubbard (Janis Carter) for the murder of Harley Forsythe. A witness with information that could clear ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert I. Leeds
Stars: Lloyd Nolan, Marjorie Weaver, Phil Silvers
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A reporter meets an actress whose producer is a presumed-dead thief, and stakes his reputation on predicting the next crime.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Reginald Owen
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Falcon and reporter Ann Riordan try to solve a string of murders after an ex-wrestler, released from jail, goes looking for his girl friend.

Director: Irving Reis
Stars: George Sanders, Lynn Bari, James Gleason
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young painter stumbles upon an assortment of odd characters at an English estate where he has been hired to give art lessons to beautiful Laura Fairlie. Among them are Anne Catherick, a ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Godfrey
Stars: Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, Sydney Greenstreet
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Five years after George Radcliffe was the chief witness in a high profile murder case, his wife receives a blackmailing letter accusing him of the crime.

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: Gary Cooper, Deborah Kerr, Eric Portman
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a San Francisco priest is murdered, a policeman, who's a close friend, starts an investigation.

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: Tony Curtis, Marisa Pavan, Gilbert Roland


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


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) See more »

Also Known As:

Detective Apaixonado See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First in a series. See more »


Ponsby, Brightons' Butler: [admiring the large mansion] Quite a little nest you have here, Ponsby!
Ponsby, Brightons' Butler: Yes, sir. We think it rather cozy.
Michael Shayne: Cozy, heh!
Michael Shayne: I'll bet if you walk in your sleep, you need a bicycle.
See more »


Followed by Michael Shayne (1960) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Lloyd Nolan's "Michael Shayne" Is Smart As a Whip, Fast With A Quip and Takes No Lip: What a Pip!
8 June 2015 | by grainstormsSee all my reviews

"Michael Shayne Private Detective" (1940), is an unexpected charmer: a delightful hardboiled private eye movie that will have you chuckling to the very last frame while trying to figure out the murderer before Mike Shayne (Lloyd Nolan) does.

Starring that thoroughly likable no-nonsense pro, Lloyd Nolan ( who appeared in the first seven of a dozen Shayne movies), and set in the last peaceful days before World War II, "Michael Shayne Private Detective" – the first in the series -- is an enjoyable gift box of welcome surprises: a period piece where the cars are both boxy and racy, men's suits are double-breasted and boxy, and the private eyes think best when they're boxed in.

Private detective Shayne, broke as usual, suddenly gets a juicy assignment. All he has to do is nursemaid a spoiled rich girl (Marjorie Weaver), who has the gambling bug and all the wrong friends. Mike's attempt to show her a lesson backfires, and suddenly he's the chief suspect in a murder.

A little thing like that's not going to stop Mike Shayne. Ingenious and inventive, fast-thinking and fast-talking, he has to dodge the cops while finding the real murderer. And now he's acquired a zany assistant, a proper old lady with a surprising taste for blood.

Aunt Olivia: It was the great piano mystery. The body was found under the piano, his throat was strangled with piano wires, the soft pedal was found embedded in his neck, and somebody had completely severed the head from the body. He was dead!

Michael Shayne: (dryly) Oh, suicide, hmmm?

Mike's proficient with both a riposte and a pistol. ("Hey, that brooch is as phony as a mother-in-law's kiss!") And he's not bad with badinage.

Cop: When are you gonna start talking straight?

Mike: Not until my attorney gets out of law school!

Shayne may have a quip for every question; but he's also sentimental, full of malarkey and blarney, whimsical, perpetually broke and a sucker for a pretty face.

Add a batch of odd characters played by a superb supporting cast: Douglas Dumbrille, Elizabeth Patterson, George Meeker, Walter Abel and Irving Bacon; and you've got a screwball comedy with smooth ensemble acting, an ample supply of corpses and a solution that actually makes sense.

An appreciation of Lloyd Nolan: "The actor who was generally credited with 'A' performances in a decade-long series of 'B' films became so good, in fact, that he permitted himself the luxury of turning down work, a privilege that ordinarily falls to far better known stars." -- The Los Angeles Times.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 12 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Recently Viewed