Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond is a British WWI veteran who longs for some excitement after he returns to the humdrum existence of civilian life. He gets what he's looking for when a girl requests... See full summary »
Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond is a British WWI veteran who longs for some excitement after he returns to the humdrum existence of civilian life. He gets what he's looking for when a girl requests his help in freeing her uncle from a nursing home. She believes the home is just a front and that her uncle is really being held captive while the culprits try to extort his fortune from him. Written by
[in the silence of the club room, the waiter drops a spoon. Slowly the elderly Colonel stands up, and then... ]
Pah! The eternal din in this club is an outrage! I ask you, wot?
You're perfectly right, Colonel. We ought to complain. Do you know that's the third spoon I've heard drop this month?
Hugh 'Bulldog' Drummond:
Spoons, my hat. I wish that somebody would throw a bomb and wake the place up.
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Bulldog Drummond is best known for being the debut of Ronald Colman in sound pictures. It was one auspicious debut to say the least.
A whole lot is written about the stars who could not make the transition to sound, mainly because for one reason or another their voices did not match the screen persona they created. The other reason is that many tended to overact in the way they had to in silent films to put across their feelings.
But there are several examples of those players who voices completely matched their screen personalities so much so that I can't envision them in silent films. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and W.C. Fields in comedy were so much better in sound I can't see how they did it silent films. Gary Cooper was another, his Montana drawl perfectly fit his screen image. William Powell's years of stage training and that perfect diction helped him bridge the transition.
But Ronald Colman was something unique. The greatest voice in the history of cinema, a man you could listen and be enthralled by him reciting your local yellow pages. His perfect Oxford English was so right for his character of English adventurer Bulldog Drummond.
This was the first Drummond film and the part was to be played by several other actors including Colman again. But this film seems to have set the format out. Drummond, a veteran of the World War, was your typical upper middle class English gent who's just plain bored by a rather useless life. He takes out an advertisement basically putting himself out in the way Edward Woodward did sixty years later in the television series The Equalizer. Of course he gets several replies back, but Colman responds to a note from American Joan Bennett.
It seems that Bennett's uncle, an American millionaire, is being held captive by Lilyan Tashman and her associates in a disguised asylum where they have him drugged and gradually turning over his fortune.
Bennett is a sweet young thing, but the role with real bite in it is Lilyan Tashman doing the kind of part Gale Sondergaard did later on. Tashman kind of has a thing for Colman, mainly because he's a man who doesn't fall for her charms as chief assistant Montagu Love has. No pun intended, but Montagu's practically her love slave.
Bulldog Drummond would have rated higher with me, but I simply could not stand Claud Allister's portrayal of Algy, Drummond's tag along friend from his club who's the quintessence of every silly sot of an Englishman every done on screen. I mean he's worse than useless, he's counterproductive. Colman should have let Tashman and her goons have him.
Noted radio singer Donald Novis sang a couple of songs in a country inn where a lot of the story takes place. Novis had a great lyric tenor and starred on Broadway and radio as well as making a few films. He's best know for playing the lead role on Broadway in Rodgers&Hart's Jumbo and introducing the song The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. This was Novis's screen debut, but sad to say he never had much of a film career.
For those fans of Ronald Colman, Anglophiles around the world who see in him the best embodiment of the UK national character.
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