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A woman and a man vying for a woman's affection: the usual love trio? Not quite so since the belle in question is Lorraine de Grissac, a very wealthy and alluring society woman, while one of the two rivals is none other than Arsène Lupin, the notorious jewel thief everybody thought dead, now living under the assumed name of René Farrand. As for the other suitor he is an American, a former F.B.I. sleuth turned private eye by the name of Steve Emerson. Steve not only suspects Farrand of being Lupin but when someone attempts to steal a precious emerald necklace from Lorraine's uncle, Count de Brissac, he is persuaded Lupin is the culprit. Is Emerson right or wrong? Which of the two men will win over Lorraine's heart? Written by
The Barrymore brothers scored well as Arsene Lupin and the dogged detective trailing him back in the early days of sound, so MGM decided the old thief could use a second go around.
It turns out he didn't die as per the original film, but is now living in quiet retirement, at least until some enterprising thief decided to do a job and pin it on him. Now it's up to Lupin to clear himself.
The plot of Arsene Lupin Returns is remarkably similar to Alfred Hitchcock's classic To Catch A Thief, right down to the French locale for most of the story. Of course this B film was shot on the MGM back lot.
For a B film, Arsene Lupin Returns boasts a remarkable cast of classic players. Melvyn Douglas, Warren William, John Halliday, Monty Woolley, George Zucco and Tully Marshall all had years of stage training before going into film. In fact when about five of these guys were in the same scene, I have to say I haven't so much perfect diction this side of a Ronald Colman film.
Given however it is a B film with a limited cast too much talk will give away the culprit. Looking over the list I can say any one of these guys by past roles could have been the thief. I'll say this though, leading lady Virginia Bruce didn't do it.
No color cinematography, no good French Riviera locations, but Arsene Lupin Returns has a nice story done by a group of the classiest players ever to be assembled on one movie.
And for a B film besides.
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