Movie Review: Blonde for a Day

Lloyd Nolan had a solid run as Michael Shayne in seven B-movies for Fox in the early forties. Then in 1946-47, a second series of Shayne films were made starring Hugh Beaumont (Leave it to Beaver) as Shayne. Blonde for a Day was the third film.

In Blonde for a Day, Shayne heads back to his hometown from San Francisco when his old reporter pal Tim Rourke is put in hospital and out of commission while investigating racketeers. Shayne has to unravel the truth behind the shootings and the rackets.

The film has two things going for it. First, it’s based on a story by Brett Halliday and it’s easy to tell they kept to Halliday’s plot, which is far more than you could say for most of the Fox Shayne films. The basics of the mystery are good and make the movie better than it would be otherwise. Beaumont is a competent leading man, while by no means a first choice for Shayne, he puts in a serviceable performance.

The rest of the film is fairly awful. It lacks the stylishness of the Nolan pictures and it’s poorly made in its own right. The beginning is hard to watch as it’s dominated by stock footage, bad acting, and a dreadful soundtrack plays over every scene.The other actors’ performances remain almost universally bad with dated routines (even by 1946 standards) being poorly executed.

This is the only Beaumont Shayne film to be released and as such, it is a bit of curiosity. Given the quality of the film, the best way to satisfy curiosity is with a $1.99 digital rental. It’s just not worth buying the DVD unless you’re a collector.

Rating: 2.25 out of 5.0

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