Captain High 'Bulldog' Drummond has just returned to England. As he is driving home in the dark, a young woman jumps out in front of his car. He misses her, but she falls to the ground. As he tries to revive her, he hears a shout for help, then gunshots. As he goes to investigate, the woman drives away with Drummond's car. He is soon able to trace her to nearby Greystone Manor, and when he goes there to meet her, she urges him to help her get out of a desperate situation. Written by
Three Bulldog Drummond films were made in 1937 in quick succession, this being the first, and the only one starring Ray Milland as Drummond. It was the eighth Drummond film to be made. It came out in April, 'Bulldog Drummond at Bay' came out in July, and 'Bulldog Drummond Comes Back' came out in September. Each had a different leading man, the next two in succession being John Lodge and John Howard. In this one, the young Ray Milland was amusing and engaging, but over-acted in a way which was not helpful. He portrayed the hero as someone with adolescent, almost juvenile, attitudes, thereby turning Drummond into a rather idiotic parody, and making the whole film too much like a comedy, despite its scenes of danger and distress. The producers instantly realized they had made a mistake and had endangered their plans for a series of films, so they sought someone with more gravitas. The next film used John Lodge once. But after that, inspiration finally came in the form of John Howard, who was perfect casting and would go on to make many Drummond films, with just the right combination of gravitas mixed with a residual boyish sense of fun, openness (never Milland's strong point), and solid, sporting good humour. In this film, Phyllis Clavering is introduced for the first time, and inspired casting occurred when Heather Angel played the part. The producers made a big mistake in having Phyllis played for three more films by the boring Louise Campbell, but Heather Angel would reappear the next year five films later (Phyllis does not appear in one of them), and carry on for several films to great effect. Phyllis enters the world of Drummond as a helpless imprisoned maiden in distress, whom he rescues. Eventually she ends up suspended in his arms, kissing him, with marriage beckoning. (As all Drummondonians know, this marriage would be 'interruptus' on numerous future occasions.) Guy Standing is boring as Inspector Nielson in this film, and they got rid of him too. E. E. Clive as Tennie the Butler, and Reginald Denny as Algy are in fine fettle for this episode, and were to grace the series for a long while with their charm and talents. There is a curious scene in this film where the villains are driving through the gates of a great house in a Rolls Royce. This shot is actually cut from the 1929 'Bulldog Drummond' and re-used! Much of this film is spent with Algy Longworth desperately trying to phone the hospital to see if his wife has had her baby yet. In 'Bulldog Drummond Comes Back', he will be desperately trying to make it to that same baby's christening, while Drummond will be desperately trying to marry Phyllis, the villains preventing both of these things. This film is entertaining and lively if one is not fussy, and has humour as well, so it is good viewing. As Tennie the Butler would say: 'That is my thought exactly, Sir.'
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