Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Michael Shayne in the House

Just received the first Michael Shayne Mysteries set from Fox. I'm guessing there will be a second set in six months or so. This set contains four movies on two double-sided "flipper" discs: Michael Shayne, Private Detective, The Man Who Wouldn't Die, Sleepers West and Blue, White And Perfect.

The art on the box and the two slimcases appear to be brand new paintings by the astounding Robert McGinnis (who painted the covers of many of the Shayne paperbacks – althought these paintings actually feature Lloyd Nolan), and there's a McGinnis featurette on Side B of the first disc.

From the fact that all four sides include the same "Restoration Comparison" feature, I have to wonder if Fox originally intended to put each movie on its own disc, as in their Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto sets, and went with this more economical package because the sales on those considerably more expensive mystery sets were less than expected. While I think I would have prefered seperate discs for aesthetic reasons – we might have got another coulple McGinnis covers and these discs would have matched my Chans and Motos (not to mention the one previous Shayne film that Fox released a year or so ago), I can't really complain. After all, I'm all for saving 20 bucks.

Fortunately, my sciatica has improved enough in the past week or so that I can finally sit in my recliner again, and usually make it through a short movie. I've only seen one previous Michael Shayne film – the above mentione earlier release, Dressed to Kill – and it was great. Short, fast-paced and extremely entertaining, with snappy dialogue delivered by a top-notch B-movie cast. I'm looking forward to watching these four over the next few days.

Now, if only Warners would bring out all their Saint and Falcon ficks...


Anonymous said...

Sleepers West is an adaptation of 'Black Mask' author Frederick Nebel's fine novel Sleepers East.
I've always wanted to see it.
When you watch it, will you please post a comment or two?

Christopher Mills said...

Sleepers West was probably the best film in the set; certainly the most noir.

All of them are top quality B-mysteries, though.

One of the fun things about these movies is that Fox had a little "stock company" of players on them, and you had a lot of actors and actresses – like blonde cutie Mary Beth Hughes – appearing in multiple films in different roles.