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
Mix a cup of Sherlock Holmes with a quarter of James Bond, add plenty of low budget adventures, some comedy gags, a pinch of romance, the language and the attire from the Thirties, shake well, and you'll have Bulldog Drummond: a bunch of pre-war B-movies, if you will, yet with some intriguing elements and entertaining moments. "Bulldog Drummond Escapes" is one of the three "Bulldog Drummond" productions of 1937, and one of the high points in the series in my view.
A few words about Captain Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond for those who do not know him yet: charming and gentlemanly, but a man of action when needed, he is a former WWI British officer who spends his spare time helping Scotland Yard solve intricate cases. "Bulldog" is accompanied by deadpan, witty and vaguely surreal butler Tenny (my favourite character) and by useless, dumb friend Algy (a downer, usually unfunny), and is constantly on the verge of marrying his fiancée Phyllis (adventures will happen and delay the marriage, naturally). All these fictional characters were created by "Sapper", nom de plume of Herman Cyril McNeile, and continued by Gerard Fairlie after McNeile's death -their novels inspired more than twenty motion pictures, many of them in the Thirties.
Similarly to Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, the Bulldog Drummond title hero has been played, over time, by several actors, who gave a different flavour to each episode. In this instalment of the series, which tells of Captain Drummond trying to save a beautiful heiress in distress (played by Heather Angel), the leading man is Ray Milland, a young, bright British actor -a few years later, he won an Academy Award for Best Actor in Billy Wilder's "The Best Weekend". Ray Milland's Bulldog Drummond is charming and funnily flamboyant, but not as clever as he is supposed to be, so the mystery often steers to lighter tones and to comedy.
The result, however, is fast paced and involving, while the unfunny gags are kept to a minimum. "Bulldog Drummond Escapes" is no cinematic masterpiece, but it is enjoyable if you like the genre and if you concede to stereotyped characters and some holes in the plot.
Like other movies from that age, this old flick shows the signs of time, such as scratchy sound and random vertical lines. On the other hand, it is in the public domain, so you can watch it for free on the Internet, if you want.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?