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The mysterious figure known as the Vampire comes to England to complete experiments in his mad bid to gain control of the world. When the radar-controlled Robot which he had ordered shipped to him is delivered instead to Mother Riley, the Vampire, through radar control, has the Robot transport itself as well as Mother Riley to the proper destination...as the old lady goes into a whirl of side-splitting action in a determined effort to frustrate the plans of the sinister Vampire. Written by
May the saints shower you with sailors on shore leave!
I couldn't believe it when I heard the above saying from Lucan's lips as he thanked a woman. Though the film hardly operates on the same level as Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, it passes an hour or two quite amiably. Bela is clearly happy to be back in front of a film camera for the first time in years - even a low budget British one - and he effortlessly conveys his old authority and a sense of fun - he comes across as an enjoyably hammy British version of a Batman TV Series supervillain. Lucan is relatively restrained in this outing compared to past ones. The splendid book VAMPIRE OVER London; BELA LUGOSI IN Britain indicates his personal troubles over his estranged partner Kitty Mcshane, and one can only wonder if this is the reason why. The duo's stage act usually climaxed in plate throwing and this is compensated for by a madcap crockery-crashing slapstick sequence with Bela's henchmen. Dora Bryan is a more than adequate foil for Lucan.
Editing necessary for MY SON THE VAMPIRE means we lose Lucan's one musical number early on in the film. Also, the romance between the kidnapped Loretti and her Naval officer is underplayed to say the least
he keeps getting bonked on the head by various characters. Graham
Moffat is also missing from the print. The ending is curious in that we contrast Riley's madcap race to stop the Vampire enduring various crashes and appropriated forms of transport on the way while Von Houson is actually seen gunning down two constables - a bit strong for a juvenile comedy.
The immediate postwar period was a time of apprenticeship for celebrated British comedy stars like the Goons and Tony Hancock who were learning and honing their trade upon being demobbed from the army. By 1951, they were ready to take on the entertainment establishment and sweep aside the old stars like Lucan - in much the same way the Beatles and their ilk were ready in 1963 to change the face of the British music industry. The brief resurgence of popularity Lucan and Mcshane enjoyed prior to this film proved to be a last fling at glory. A whole new wave of innovative British comedy was ready to sweep them aside. Lucan was more truthful than he knew when - at the climax of this film
he sputters "This is the end!" Both Lucan and Lugosi were enjoying a
last stab at greatness in an age where they were already anachronisms.
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