This film begins at an old newspaper which has just been bought out by an owner convinced that they need to spice up the paper. Part of this involves more sensationalistic crime stories and an eager young female reporter makes ovations towards a rather frisky Michael Lanyard to tell his story of his early life and misadventures. Not surprisingly due to the standard "Lone Wolf formula", a gem is soon stolen and Lanyard is (as always) blamed for its disappearance--even though logically there is no way he could have taken it!!
For much of the early to mid 1940s, Warren William had played the reformed jewel thief, Michael Lanyard--also known as "The Lone Wolf". In many, many ways, he was similar to Boston Blackie--also from Columbia Pictures. However, with William in the lead, his character always seemed a bit more sophisticated and likable than Blackie, so I always thought the Lone Wolf films were just a bit better. However, as the years passed, the Wolf films started to look more and more like the Blackie films until their plots seemed interchangeable. And, in 1946, when William left the series, the distinctiveness disappeared as the new leading men had personalities of cardboard. Instead, Gerald Mohr and Ron Randell (two rather bland and forgettable guys) were cast as Lanyard and the series naturally slowly fizzled out. Because of this AND the departure of Lanyard's great side-kick (Eric Blore), this effort marks the very lowest point for the series and it was subsequently canceled (only to re-appear on TV a few years later).
The cancellation was not just because people missed the smooth William or the exceptionally funny and engaging Blore. No, much of it was because the plots were old and getting way too repetitive. How many times can Lanyard be accused by the police of committing a crime--only to ALWAYS be shown in the end that he is truly on the side of good?! After a while, the whole formula gets a bit ridiculous and tedious. Plus, this final film had little energy or not enough uniqueness to make us forget the older films. For die-hard fans of B-series detective films, it's worth a peek, but for others it's pretty skip-able. Plus, I'd hate for non-fans of the genre to see this film and think it's typical for a Lone Wolf film!
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