"Bulldog" Drummond is vacationing in his country home in England, and his house if rifled by two thieves. After they leave he finds a card marked with some mysterious letters. Doris ... See full summary »
Very good Bulldog Drummond adventure, solid and engrossing
This was the ninth Bulldog Drummond film, and the only one starring John Lodge as Drummond. In 1937 it was one of three Drummond films, each of which had a different leading man; in succession these were: Ray Milland, John Lodge, and John Howard. Only Howard ever made another, and he became a regular. Lodge was a remarkable man, who later became a US Congressman and Governor of Connecticut (and his brother Henry Cabot Lodge ran for Vice President). As a 'Boston Brahmin', the handsome Lodge had the easy manner and social charm to make a fine leading man, and he could act well enough as well. However, he was not a particularly good Hugh Drummond, because he did not have the sense of mischief, the wildness, the humour, or the perverse dare-devilry for the part. And even his flirting was too gentlemanly and restrained. Despite these drawbacks, this film with Lodge is excellent. The two villains are extremely good, Victor Jory and Hugh Miller, both of whom are menacing but also strangely effete. Claud Allister is back as Algy Longworth, but is very subdued and seems depressed, with few lines and less action. It is as if he has been dragged out of bed at an unseemly hour and has not woken up yet. There is no wife or fiancée in this film, and Drummond is living quietly in a country cottage with an elderly housekeeper and no phone. Naturally, danger comes his way regardless. There is no way Hugh Drummond can keep out of trouble, even should he hide himself miles from the nearest town, as he does here. The female interest in this film is Dorothy Mackaill, who at 34 was making her 66th feature film, but it was to be her last, as she effectively retired after this. The plot is good, and as it is the late thirties, peace and war, weapons and intrigue are in the air. Once again, as in 'The Return of Bulldog Drummond' (1934 with Ralph Richardson), the villains are arms dealers. But this time they are merely in it for the money and the opposition to them is not a black shirt Mosley movement involving Drummond who is trying to prevent rearmament. This one is politically uncontroversial. The arms dealers are trying to steal Britain's new secret invention for remotely-controlling airplanes. They wish to 'sell it to a foreign power' and they kidnap the young inventor. Bulldog comes to the rescue, of course. At one point he is locked in a laboratory where he is being slowly poisoned by gas, and there is no way out. No, I am not going to tell you. The film has some witty lines. Drummond says to Dorothy Mackaill: 'I never found a woman who could handle a car.' and she replies: 'I never found a man who could handle a woman.' She is the true dare-devil in the film, as she drives like a maniac and scares him to death. This Drummond film is well worth seeing.
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