Plot: Michael Shayne (Hugh Beaumont) has headed to San Francisco, but even when he’s out of town, he can’t seem to escape Los Angeles. He resists taking cases back in his old town, which makes sense given the local police’s cold shoulder approach to his presence, but a recent turn of events has captured his attention. Tim Rourke (Paul Bryar) is Shayne’s friend and a reporter, with his latest assignment being to look into a string of mysterious murders. Rourke had uncovered some ties to a gambling syndicate, but when he got too close to the truth, he was beaten and even shot. Now Shayne ventures back to Los Angeles to investigate the attack and keep his friend alive, but can even he take on and expose an organize crime racket?
Entertainment Value: Blonde for a Day is the third of the Michael Shayne movies released by Producers Releasing Company and while it isn’t my personal favorite of the five pictures, I think it has solid entertainment value. The narrative is passable, with Shayne clear of Los Angeles, only to be drawn back in and as always, pulled into a complicated mystery scenario. I think the story is straight forward this time, but there is a nice, fun twist involved and while not overly memorable, this movie provides a brisk, enjoyable experience. The cast has several returning favorites and while the low budget roots are often evident, the production values are decent and the rough around the edges elements work in the movie’s favor at times. After all, a little lack of polish can make a mystery like this seem to have a bit more grit and Blonde for a Day can use that extra kick, to be sure. I wasn’t as taken with this installment as I was the previous two movies however, as I felt the dialogue was mediocre and Shayne’s signature snappy lines just weren’t hitting the mark. A few scenes have fun exchanges, but to me, this felt more like a standard mystery, rather than one was that produced around the Michael Shayne character from the ground up. Even so, fans of Shayne or old school mysteries will still likely find some entertainment here.
I’ve enjoyed these PRC produced Michael Shayne films, as they might be low budget and a little rough, but they’re well made and feature some talented performers. This would be the third spin as Shayne for Hugh Beaumont and I think his run as the famous detective is more than solid. In this installment however, he doesn’t get to shine as much as in the previous two, which is a shame. The blame rests squarely on the material however, as Beaumont performs well, but is held back in many instances by the passable, but mediocre script. The Shayne character needs some attitude and that often comes through sharp dialogue, but Blonde for a Day is rather short on that, so Beaumont is restrained in that regard. He is still fun to watch and does his best to carry the movie, so his fans will appreciate this performance, even if it isn’t one of his better turns, even within this franchise. Another return performer is Paul Bryar, who plays Shayne’s friend Rourke in a good effort. The cast also includes Cy Kendall, Kathryn Adams, and Charles C. Wilson.
The Disc: ClassiFlix has restored all five PRC Michael Shayne movies and collected them in one release, which should delight fans. The black & white visuals here look quite clean and while some debris or damage can be seen at times, the restoration work done is remarkable. You can even see for yourself in the included restoration comparison, as the print is so much cleaner thanks to ClassicFlix’s efforts. These movies have been shelved too long and I am so pleased that ClassicFlix not only made them available again, but polished up the visuals for this release.