Monday, October 05, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Time to Kill (1942)

One good Raymond Chandler mystery deserves another, so after enjoying MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) this weekend, I turned to the very last film in the Michael Shayne mystery series, TIME TO KILL (1942).

For those who are puzzled and thinking that Michael Shayne isn't a Chandler detective, that's quite right. A pair of Chandler's Philip Marlowe mysteries had an unusual film history. The book FAREWELL, MY LOVELY was initially filmed by RKO as the Falcon mystery THE FALCON TAKES OVER (1942) before turning back into a Marlowe mystery in RKO's MURDER, MY SWEET two years later.

The same year as THE FALCON TAKES OVER, Chandler's book THE HIGH WINDOW followed a similar path at 20th Century-Fox. THE HIGH WINDOW was first used by the studio as the basis for TIME TO KILL, featuring P.I. Michael Shayne, then half a decade later it was filmed as a Philip Marlowe mystery called THE BRASHER DOUBLOON (1947).

In TIME TO KILL Lloyd Nolan returns for his seventh and final outing as Shayne in a series which ran from 1940 to 1942. This time around he becomes mixed up with an elderly widow (Ethel Griffies), her secretary (Heather Angel), and her former daughter-in-law (Doris Merrick, seen at right) in a mystery surrounding a rare coin, the Brasher doubloon.

The breezy 61-minute plot also makes time for blackmail and murder before wrapping up quickly, with Shayne resolving a number of plot details in the final minutes of the movie. It's a solid title in the series, and I only wish Nolan had continued as Shayne for a few more films. I enjoyed this mystery series a great deal.

TIME TO KILL was directed by Herbert I. Leeds and filmed by Charles Clarke. The supporting cast includes Richard Lane, Ralph Byrd, Paul Guilfoyle, Morris Ankrum, Sheila Bromley, and Phyllis Kennedy.

While the first five Shayne movies were released on DVD and the sixth has been shown on Fox Movie Channel, I'd been looking for the last movie, TIME TO KILL, for a couple of years.

Previous reviews of films in the Michael Shayne series: MICHAEL SHAYNE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE (1940), SLEEPERS WEST (1941), DRESSED TO KILL (1941), BLUE, WHITE AND PERFECT (1942), THE MAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE (1942), and JUST OFF BROADWAY (1942).


Blogger Maricatrin said...

Glad you finally got to complete the series! I agree, they should have made a few more. I like Nolan, it was nice to see him get to play the lead. But it's funny, looking over the past reviews, one of my favorites (Dressed to Kill) wasn't exactly your cup of tea;-), while your favorite (Sleepers West), I didn't enjoy nearly as much as DTK or some of the others! But it looks like we average out on the series as a whole:-)

9:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Maricatrin!

Thanks again so much for making it possible for me to finally finish this mystery series! That's fun we each had different likes and dislikes among the films -- I love train movies so that was part of the appeal of SLEEPERS WEST for me. :)

Yes, overall sounds like we both really enjoyed these. Nolan is a good actor, and the films had entertaining casts. At some point I'm sure I'll start again at the beginning, just because they're nice company...though first I need to finish off a couple more detective series, like the Saint and Boston Blackie!

Best wishes,

9:12 AM  

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