Bulldog Drummond is injured when his sabotaged car crashes and Jack Pennington agrees to masquerade as the sleuth. He is enlisted to help Ann Manders find her jeweler grandfather who has ... See full summary »
Anthony John is an actor whose life is strongly influenced by the characters he plays. When he's playing comedy, he's the most enjoyable person in the world, but when he's playing drama, ... See full summary »
In a juke joint, sharecropper Zeke falls for a beautiful dancer, Chick, but she's only setting him up for a rigged craps game. He loses $100, the money he got for the sale of his family's ... See full summary »
Daniel L. Haynes,
Nina Mae McKinney,
Michael "Beau" Geste leaves England in disgrace and joins the infamous French Foreign Legion. He is reunited with his two brothers in North Africa, where they face greater danger from their... 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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This started off yet another series devoted to the exploits of a literary detective figure (though he is actually an ex-British military officer); even if the films themselves never reached particular heights and, following the first two entries starring Ronald Colman (both, incidentally, included in the "Wonders In The Dark" poll), fell definitely into the B-movie league, this initial outing did yield two Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Art Direction (William Cameron Menzies)!
Despite being 85 years old and thus understandably stagey in treatment, the film survives quite nicely as pure entertainment (save for the frequent singing by a young man at an inn, summarily booted out when the villains turn up!), and can even be seen to have left its mark on culture (the presence of both a mad doctor and a femme fatale among its cast of characters). It is only the attitudes that have dated: Drummond's constant cheerfulness and over-confidence (we never really feel he is in danger throughout, also because there is a chivalric sense of mutual respect between hero and antagonist though he does dispose violently and gratuitously of the slow-talking scientist, albeit offscreen); the latter, then, is an archaic gangster type; Drummond is assisted by silly ass Claud Allister's Algy (who, annoyingly, repeatedly asks for the afore-mentioned vamp's telephone number as if it were the most natural thing to do under the circumstances, or that she would ever even deign to give him the time of day!) and a butler; Drummond's romantic attachment to the heroine is likewise merely an obligatory convention (though 38 at the time, Colman always seemed to look middle- aged which makes him that more unsuited to blonde Joan Bennett, not yet out of her teens and still a decade away from her 1940s heyday!). Curiously enough, though this tale is depicted as being Drummond's baptism of fire in the sleuthing business, the villainess already calls him by his "Bulldog" nickname!
Being a Samuel Goldwyn production, the film is slickly-handled (Gregg Toland was one of the cinematographers) and, as I said, includes a number of welcome elements that would eventually find their utmost expression in other popular genres (horror, noir and espionage thrillers the latter in the deployment of a criminal organization, even if their objective here involves nothing more earth-shattering than the simple extortion of money!).
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