BLUE, WHITE AND PERFECT. 20th Century Fox, 1942). Lloyd Nolan (Michael Shayne), Mary Beth Hughes, Helene Reynolds, George Reeves. Based on a serialized story by Borden Chase (Argosy, 18 Sept-23 Oct, 1937; reprinted in book form as Diamonds of Death [Hart, paperback, 1947] and reviewed here ). Director: Herbert I. Leeds.

   Blue, White and Perfect is the fourth of seven Mike Shayne movies made by 20th Century Fox in the early 40s, all starring Lloyd Nolan as author Brett Halliday’s famed private eye, Michael Shayne. As far as I know, I’m the only one who doesn’t care for any of them, although certainly some are better than others.

   This, I think, is one of the others, but the reason I don’t particularly like any of them is that Lloyd Nolan, with his brash New York accent — not to mention the comedy aspects of the films — comes nowhere near the image of Mike Shayne I have in my mind. If the films had been made with a totally different fictional character’s name to them, I might like them more.

   The Mike Shayne stories in the books and magazine were at least medium-boiled. The Lloyd Nolan movies were comedies, as far as I’m concerned, with lots of humorous banter between the characters, with hints of actual detective work breaking out only every once in a while. In this one, facing an ultimatum from his steady girl friend (Mary Beth Hughes), Shayne gives up his job as PI and takes a job as a riveter at a defense plant. Secretly, of course, he’s hired as a security expert.

   And wouldn’t you know it, his first day on the job and a sizable amount of industrial diamonds is stolen. The trail leads Shayne to several stores, business establishments and other locales all around Los Angeles, and I have to admit the story really does along in very fine fashion.

   All of sudden, though, about halfway through, the scene shifts to one aboard ship, bringing in two brand new characters: a glamorous girl (Helene Reynolds) Shayne knows from before, and a shady-looking fellow named Juan Arturo O’Hara (George Reeves) whom Shayne decides to keep close eyes on.

   And instead of zipping along, the story stops almost dead in its tracks, the action limited to only what take place in cramped hallways, decks and the stairs connecting them. Only the occasional shots (not) ringing out liven things up (a silencer is used). Nor are there any surprises detective story wise, either. I’ll give the first half a B, but the second half? No more than a D.