Welcome to the amateur hour. This sixth entry in the Mike Shayne series is a disgrace to Brett Halliday’s creation. As a fan of the book series I was disgusted with how the hard boiled character was trashed. The preceding five came close to the edge but this one went over the cliff. There is less than zero comparison with the Shayne character. The movie is not based on any crime novel or short story. I like Lloyd Nolan and the script etc. is not his fault. In this one Mike is sitting on the jury of a murder case and ends up solving it with lots of illegal moves.
Before the court session confusion reigned as free lance photographer Roy Higgins (Phil Silvers) kept taking pictures. Lillian Hubbard is accused of murdering her fiancee Harry Forsythe. Singer Rita Darling is on the stand. Nightclub owner George Dolphin is signaling her on how to testify.
Next up is butler Henry Randolph. He works in the apartment next door to Lillian It’s owned by defense attorney John Logan.. He testifies to times when Lillian arrived and also Rita. Before he can go any further someone from the onlookers throws a knife at him and kills him. Mike runs out of the jury box and hides the knife under a chair.
The jury is sequestered and Mike’s roommate has a cold and can’t stop sneezing. Mike can’t sleep. A police Sergeant gives him some sleeping pills. Mike tells his roommate the pills are great for a cold. When he passes out Mike sneaks out through the window. He heads to the courtroom to get the knife. He runs into reporter Judy Taylor (Marjorie Weaver).
Mike can’t ditch Judy so she comes with him when he goes to Logan’s apartment. A maid thinks they’re police and let them in. The doorbell rings. It’s the cops. Mike and Judy head for the elevator and that’s when Mike discovers the butler’s testimony was false.
The two look around town for a knife thrower and find Count Edmond Telmachio doing his act at a vaudeville theatre. While he’s occupied Mike and Judy go into his dressing room. Mike shoves her in a closet and searches a trunk. He finds a duplicate of the knife from the courtroom. Telmachio catches Mike and knocks him out. Judy stays quiet while the Count gets a phone call and writes an address and phone number on a tablet attached to the wall.
That leads Mike and Judy to a warehouse. Mike finds the body of the Count. He’s been strangled. Mike finds a brooch on the body that was a gift from Dolphin to Rita. The night watchman catches Mike. While he calls the cops Mike jumps him and the two mix it up. Judy comes in and spots the watchman’s gun on the floor. She uses it to knock him out and she and Mike take off.
They go to Dolphin’s club. Mike has a tough time avoiding Higgins and his camera especially after Higgins recognizes him and keeps trying to take his picture. He finally gets it when Mike and Judy hop into a cab. They go to jeweler Sidney Arno who sold the brooch to Dolphin. Mike asks him to testify in court the next day and he agrees.
Back at the hotel the chase is on as Mike tries to avoid Higgins. Earlier he sold the picture to a newspaper but Judy managed to destroy it and convince her boss to have the negative destroyed. Now Higgins tries again.
The next day in court is absolutely ridiculous as Mike comes out of the jury box and the judge gives him permission to question witnesses. The night before he wrote a letter to the D.A.. Mike gives him signals on how to handle the case.
The only redeeming quality to this mess is the final minute but that doesn’t even come close to saving it.