Just Off Broadway


1h 6m 1942

Brief Synopsis

Private detective Michael Shayne (Lloyd Nolan) is serving on the jury trying Lillian Hubbard (Janis Carter) for the murder of Harley Forsythe. A witness with information that could clear Lillian is killed by a knife hurled from inside the courtroom. Shyane hides the knife in the ensuing confusion. He slips out of the jury room that night and, with the aid of reporter Judy Taylor (Marjorie Weaver), traces the knife to a professional blade-slinger, Count Edmond Telmachio (Alexander Lockwood). Shayne finds the Count murdered in a warehouse and a brooch discovered on his body now points the finger of suspicion at nightclub singer Rita Darling (Joan Valerie) and the owner of the club where she works, George Dolphin (Don Costello). Rita was the fiancee of Forsythe and Dolphin is in love with her. The trial begins the next day, with Shayne back in the jury box, after giving the information he picked up to defense counsel John Logan (Richard Derr). The trial takes a surprise twist when Shayne is permitted to cross examine everyone, including the defense lawyer, who has been in love with Miss Hubbard for years.

Film Details

Also Known As
Twelve Men in a Box
Release Date
Sep 25, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the character "Michael Shayne" created by Brett Halliday.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,913ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Private detective Michael Shayne is a juror at the trial of Lillian Hubbard, a socialite accused of murdering her fiancé, Harley Forsythe. One afternoon, Lillian's attorney, John Logan, calls to the stand Henry Randolph, a butler who works in the apartment next door to Lillian's. Randolph testifies that he saw Lillian arrive home at 7:15, although a previous witness, singer Rita Darling, testified that she saw Lillian at Forsythe's apartment at 9:30, which means that she was there in time to commit the murder. Before Randolph, who is visibly nervous, can be cross-examined, a mysterious man enters the courtroom, throws a knife at Randolph and kills him. Shayne hides the knife, then later that evening, sneaks out of the hotel in which he and the other jurors are sequestered, and returns to the courtroom to get the knife. It has already been retrieved by Judy Taylor, however, a reporter and Shayne's ex-girl friend. When Judy insists on going along while Shayne investigates, he explains that he suspects that someone killed Randolph in order to prevent Lillian from being acquited. At Logan's apartment, Shayne deduces that Randolph could not have seen or heard Lillian as he claimed, which means that the butler perjured himself. Shayne and Judy then go to a vaudeville theater at which knife thrower Count Edmond Telmachio is performing, and in his dressing room find a knife identical to the one used to kill Randolph. Telmachio knocks out Shayne and flees, but Shayne and Judy follow him to a warehouse. There, they discover the body of the recently strangled Telmachio, and in his pocket, a brooch in the shape of a dolphin with an inscription reading "To Rita from George." They then go to the Dolphin Club, which is owned by George Dolphin and features Rita Darling as its star attraction. Rita denies that the brooch is hers but admits to dating Forsythe before Lillian did. Determined to prove that Rita and possibly George are involved with the murders, Shayne finds Sidney Arno, the jeweler who made the brooch, and persuades him to testify in court the next day. Shayne returns to the hotel just before freelance photographer Roy Higgins, who has been following him all night, catches him. The next day in the courtroom, Rita and George again deny any knowledge of the brooch and protest that they are innocent of the murders. Working with the district attorney, to whom he had sent a letter detailing his investigation, Shayne engineers it so that Logan takes the stand. Logan admits that he has loved Lillian since childhood and was upset about her involvement with Forsythe, a disreputable lothario. Shayne then questions Arno, who confesses that upon Logan's orders, he and another jeweler not only made the brooch to throw suspicion on Rita and George, but also the knives for Telmachio to kill Randolph in case he faltered in his testimony. Logan is arrested for the murders, while Shayne is jailed for sixty days for contempt of court for having escaped from the jurors' hotel.

Film Details

Also Known As
Twelve Men in a Box
Release Date
Sep 25, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the character "Michael Shayne" created by Brett Halliday.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,913ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Twelve Men in a Box. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, technical advisor Frank L. James was a former Los Angeles police officer. For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and the entry below for Michael Shayne, Private Detective.