Dressed To Kill (1941)

dressed to kill 1941

Third entry in the Mike Shayne series. It’s based on the novel “The Dead Take No Bows” by Richard Burke. This is so far removed from the way Brett Halliday created the character that fans of the book series won’t recognize Shayne. It looks like a pale imitation of the Boston Blackie series. One note of real carelessness. Mantan Moreland plays Rusty and Ben Carter plays Sam. The closing credits have their parts reversed.

Mike buys a new suit. He’s dressed to kill for his upcoming wedding to burlesque dancer Joannne La Marr (Mary Beth Hughes). He goes through a barrage of wisecracks before he can get to Joanne’s hotel room. While talking with her he hears a scream. She doesn’t like it but he goes upstairs to investigate.

The scream came from Emily the chambermaid. There are two dead bodies in costume at a dining room table. One is actress Desiree Vance and the other is producer Louis Lathrop. He’s wearing the head of an airdale. On the wall is the theatre bill from “Sweethearts Of Paris”, a successful play Lathrop produced years ago with Desiree in the lead. She was killed with a revolver. He was shot with a rifle that’s hanging on the wall.

Mike calls the papers so he can get a hundred bucks for the story. Then he calls Inspector Pierson (William Demarest).  The shows musical director was Max Allaron. He’s now a drunk who gets by as a magician. He lives in the room directly below Lathrop’s. Another cast member David Earle shows up.  Last night Lathrop threw a party to mark the show’s anniversary.

Otto is the doorman at the theatre. There are several entrances Lathrop had built between his room and the theatre downstairs.  Mike finds a receipt for twenty-eight thousand dollars Lathrop paid to cast member Julian Davis (Henry Daniell) who is now a stockbroker.  He invested the money in a company that went bust. He’s suspect number one in the murders.

Mike uses janitors Sam (Ben Carter) and Rusty (Mantan Moreland) to recreate how the murders were done.  Mike heads over to Julian’s apartment where he also finds Lathrop’s estranged wife. He convinces her to hire him to find the real killer.

Carlo Ralph was Beppo the Dog in the show after Lathrop broke up his marriage to Desiree. Max says Carlo was killed in World War One. Next stop is Desiree’s room. Pierson is already there. He found a locked box. Mike shakes it and there’s something inside. He pulls a cheap stunt to get it and has it taken to Joanne’s room until he can get there.

When he gets there Joanne is mad. She tore up a letter that puts the case in a whole new light. She doesn’t care. She’s sick and tired of the wedding being put off for the case. Julian is about to be arrested but Mike gets him out of his apartment by hitting Pierson over the head. He stashes Julian is the prop room of the theatre.

Let the silliness begin.

If you’re not familiar with the book series you make like this one.

Mary Beth Hughes-Lloyd Nolan

Mary Beth Hughes-Lloyd Nolan

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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