"On my record darling, you're justified in expecting battle, murder and sudden death."
The long playing wedding scenario between Captain Hugh Drummond (John Howard) and fiancé Phyllis Clavering (Heather Angel) manages to get within one hour of the ceremony in this outing, but not before another adventure gets in the way. This time the action stays local, as a scatterbrained professor intrigues Drummond with a tale of treasure hidden somewhere at his palatial Rockingham Tower. A long shot of the Tower reveals a rather imposing structure, made to order for the creepy fun that's about to follow.
In the early going, Miss Clavering's Aunt Blanche makes it a point to remind Phyllis of the five previous failed attempts to make it to the altar. Obviously this had an impact on Drummond, as he relives those events in a dream sequence, unable to get a good night's sleep on the eve of his wedding. With the prospect of a million pound fortune somewhere close by, it's a safe bet that the marriage will be put on hold once again.
This time, the villain of the piece is Leo (minus the 'G') Carroll. He impersonates a butler named Boulton hired for the wedding occasion, but is really Henry Seton, arrested three years earlier for the attempted theft of papers held by Professor Downie (Forrester Harvey). Just released from prison, Seton's timing is perfect. He dispatches Downie and begins to solve the cipher that leads to the treasure. For all the mystery involving the cipher, it comes as a bit of a letdown that it simply involves a reverse alphabet.
The hunt for the treasure leads Seton and his unwilling captive Miss Clavering into an underground series of murky caverns beneath Rockingham Tower. Harry Potter would have been inspired by what he found there, the secretive 'Tower of Water' and 'Chamber of Spikes'. With Drummond and Company in hot pursuit, the hapless villain manages to discover the hidden treasure only to lose it just as quickly. Seton becomes distracted in a rather inept cat and mouse game with Miss Clavering over control of a lever that operates a trap door gate meant to keep Drummond's gang at bay.
As usual, Captain Hugh Drummond finds himself aided by his regular cast; Reginald Denny, E.E. Clive and H.B. Warner in the role of Colonel Nielson of Scotland Yard. If you've seen all the Drummond adventures up till now, you'll wonder if Nielson has anything else to do besides serving as Drummond's personal attaché. At least Nielson provides the rationale for the movie's title when Drummond assigns areas of Rockingham to his accomplices for inspection; it was then that the Colonel referred to themselves as the 'secret police'.
For at least the third time in a Bulldog Drummond film, the old lights out trick is used when Seton/Boulton attempts to get his hands on the diary containing the cryptic cipher. That lack of originality and the aforementioned clumsiness in dealing with Miss Clavering seemed to undermine his threat as a villain. Too bad he couldn't swim either.
Too bad also the way the film ended; for all the time spent pining for her long delayed wedding, it's Miss Clavering who disappears this time when Algy's Molotov cocktail explodes during the wedding rehearsal, compliments of a rigged bottle of Mountain Mary Scotch. The finale didn't make much sense except to justify one more sequel. I wonder what happens in "Bulldog Drummond's Bride"!
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