Plot: Michael Shayne (Hugh Beaumont) has discovered more than one dead body in his office, but he never saw one walk in before. That is what happened however, when a fellow private investigator stumbled into Shayne’s office and dropped dead without so much as a single word. As it turned out, the man had been shot and Shayne found little in terms of clues, but he was able to discover a baggage claim ticket in one of the dead man’s pockets. Of course, Shayne knows the local cops would love to pin a murder on him, so he has to evade the authorities as he looks into the case, but things soon become a little more complicated. A woman seeks to hire him, not for his skills of deduction, but to knock off her husband. That might not be in Shayne’s wheelhouse, but the woman’s presence seems to be trouble no matter he does, as he tries to crack the murder while dealing with the cops and some mysterious thugs.
Entertainment Value: The previous movie in the Michael Shayne series didn’t really win me over, but the franchise gets back on the right track with Three on a Ticket. This one allows star Hugh Beaumont to once again showcase Shayne’s sharp wit and I was glad to see some familiar faces return to the series here. The narrative is good, predictable in some ways, but fun and creative in others, so I think it works well and feels like the kind of case Shayne should be involved in. As always for this PRC series of Shayne mysteries, the pace runs super brisk and the movie clocks in at just over an hour, so it does a lot in that limited run time. The shorter duration doesn’t have a negative impact in the least, as the narrative plays out well enough and there’s minimal filler, so the efficient approach was a wise one here. As I mentioned before, this feels like a Shayne mystery, rather than a generic murder mystery with the character involved, so this has the snappy dialogue and consistent sharp wit you’d expect. As with the other PRC Shayne pictures, the budget is obviously low, but I think the lack of polish adds some grit and that never hurts with this kind of story. I had fun with this one and if you’re a fan of old school murder mysteries, give it a look.
As these PRC productions weren’t as high profile or popular as the Michael Shayne movies released by Fox, Hugh Beaumont won’t likely be remembered as the definitive Michael Shayne, but I think he performed well in the role and in Three on a Ticket, he is quite fun to watch. The previous movie kind of toned down the elements that make the character work and that limited Beaumont’s performance a lot, but here things are once again open for our lead to shine. He brings back the attitude and the verbal barbs, which is one of my favorite things about not just this run of movies, but the Shayne character in general. The exchanges with Phyllis, Rourke, and of course Rafferty are always a pleasure and Beaumont makes the most of the banter in this installment. In addition to Beaumont being back in the lead once again, more familiar faces return in this sequel as well. After being absent in the previous sequel, series regulars Cheryl Walker and Ralph Dunn are back, while Paul Bryar turns in his third and final performance as Shayne’s reporter friend Rourke. I really like the dynamic between Beaumont and Dunn, so I was happy to see them back in action together here.
The Disc: ClassicFlix released all five of the PRC Michael Shayne mysteries in one collection and of course, they’ve provided impressive restorations for all the movies, in a movie that will delight fans. As I’ve said in previous reviews, some debris and softness is still evident at times, but the movie looks terrific and given the condition of the materials involved, this is excellent work. These movies have never been given a proper treatment on home video before, so kudos to ClassicFlix for not only releasing them as a set, but polishing them up with these great restorations.