RARA-AVIS: Re:Mike Shayne and More

From: Dick Lochte ( dlochte@gmail.com)
Date: 03 Apr 2007

Just picked up Michael Shayne Mysteries, Volume 1, a DVD collection that has a few interesting Special Features in addition to four beautifully restored Shayne B-movies starring Lloyd Nolan. There's the Art of Robert McGinnis, a documentary interview with the illustrator who talks about doing the Shayne book covers and shows the various stages of his work. Amazingly, he seems to paint those perfectly detailed ladies on a canvas not too much larger than the book covers. Close-ups make the brush-work seem almost like magic. There's also a gallery of covers (that could have been more extensive).

Other docs include a bio of Brett Halliday that includes interviews with Helen McCloy, who was his wife for a while, Otto Penzler, et al.

The movies are well-produced good fun with Nolan doing an impressive job without the benefit of looking like anybody's vision of the character. All are mystery novel adaptations, but only Michael Shayne, Private Detective is based on a Shayne book. The Man Who Wouldn't Die is from a Clayton Rawson and that book's protag, The Great Merlini, does a sort of guest appearance in the film. Sleepers West is taken from Sleepers East by Black Mask favorite Frederick Nebel. Blue, White and Perfect is from a story by Borden Chase.

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