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Bullshot Crummond (1983)

Bullshot (original title)
PG | | Action, Comedy | 28 August 1985 (USA)
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The dashing Captain Hugh "Bullshot" Crummond - WWI ace fighter pilot, Olympic athlete, racing driver, part-time sleuth and all round spiffing chap - must save the world from the dastardly ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(as Ron House), | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Capt. Hugh (Bullshot) Crummond
Diz White ...
Rosemary Fenton
Ronald E. House ...
Count Otto van Bruno
Frances Tomelty ...
Fräulein Lenya von Bruno
Ron Pember ...
Dobbs
...
Crouch
Michael Aldridge ...
Prof. Rupert Fenton
Christopher Good ...
Lord Binky Brancaster
...
Hawkeye McGillicuddy
Geoffrey Bayldon ...
Col. Hinchcliff
Christopher Godwin ...
Maitre d'
Bryan Pringle ...
Waiter
...
Hotel Manageress
Peter Bayliss ...
Chairman of the Institute
John Wells ...
American Scientist
Edit

Storyline

The dashing Captain Hugh "Bullshot" Crummond - WWI ace fighter pilot, Olympic athlete, racing driver, part-time sleuth and all round spiffing chap - must save the world from the dastardly Count Otto van Bruno, his wartime adversary. And, of course, win the heart of a jolly nice young lady. Written by Matt Voysey <mdv94r@ecs.soton.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...a terribly British comedy See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bullshot Crummond  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was filmed on location in various parts of England including the Bluebell Railway, Ely Place, Hambleden, Henley, London, Richmond, Sussex and White Waltham Airfield. See more »

Quotes

Bullshot: This is the last straw! England crushed by Australia!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in One (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Arranged by John Du Prez
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bullsh*t
14 July 2016 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

Some years ago, when I owned a bulldog, I decided to name him (on the suggestion of a friend) "Drummond", largely because I felt that the name somehow suited my dog's personality. I was vaguely aware that there was a fictional character named Bulldog Drummond, but at the time I didn't know much about him. I decided, however, to find out some more about my dog's literary namesake- I even managed to track down a copy of one of the "Bulldog Drummond" books in a second-hand bookshop and attempted to read it. (Unfortunately, I found it virtually unreadable).

Bulldog Drummond was created by a writer named H C MacNeile, who wrote under the nom-de-plume "Sapper". Drummond was a British World War I officer who, in peacetime, had become a sort of private eye cum secret agent cum knight errant, a mixture of James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Sir Galahad, who roamed the English countryside righting wrongs, rescuing damsels in distress and foiling the dastardly schemes of assorted evildoers, generally foreign. (Even in his own day MacNeile had a reputation, which from my attempt to read his work seemed well- deserved, for xenophobia). There were a number of films based on the "Bulldog Drummond" books (some of them, oddly enough, made in America rather than Britain), but I have never seen any of them.

"Bullshot" is also based on the books, albeit at one remove, but attempts to parody them rather than taking them seriously. I say "at one remove" because it was a stage play ("Bullshot Crummond") before becoming a film. The authors of both the stage play and the screenplay, Alan Shearman, Ronald House and Diz White, all take starring roles in the film. The hero (Shearman) is here renamed Captain Hugh "Bullshot" Crummond, his nickname being a play on that of MacNeile's original hero and on a vulgar expression which I would probably not be permitted to use on this site, but which translates as "the faeces of male cattle". He is likewise a British World War I officer who, in peacetime- the film is set in the thirties- has become a sort of private eye cum secret agent cum knight errant, as well as an Olympic athlete, racing driver and Wimbledon tennis champion.

The dastardly villain, Count Otto von Bruno (House), is of course German. (Despite the 1930s setting there is no mention of his being a Nazi, but MacNeile seems to have despised all Germans, regardless of their political affiliation). The heroine (White) is Rosemary (or, as she would pronounce it, Wosemawy), the daughter of an eccentric scientist who has been kidnapped by the evil von Bruno and his equally evil wife Lenya, as part of a scheme to achieve world domination. Can our hero and the lovely Wosemawy foil this scheme?

The film was produced by Handmade Films, the company originally set up with backing from the former Beatle George Harrison in order to finance "Monty Python's Life of Brian". Along with Goldcrest, Handmade were one of the driving engines of the great revival of the British film industry in the 1980s. They made a number of the most accomplished British films of the decade, but even the most successful studio cannot have a hit every time, and "Bullshot" is one of their rare misses.

There was evidently a vogue for sending up the adventure stories of the interwar years during the eighties, because this was the period which also saw Michael Palin's "Ripping Yarns", a series of parodies of "Boy's Own" adventure stories. Yet in my view Palin succeeded brilliantly, whereas the makers of "Bullshot" failed dismally. There are, I think, two reasons for this. The first is that parody is something that works best in small doses. The classic example of a director failing to realise this was John Sturges in "The Hallelujah Trail", a turgid spoof Western which, at around three hours, is even longer and more overblown than many of the overlong, overblown films which Sturges was trying to satirise. The "Ripping Yarns", by contrast, were a series of programmes made for television, each only half-an-hour long, long enough to extract the necessary humour from their subjects but not so long that they outstayed their welcome.

It is possible to make a successful feature-length parody- some of Mel Brooks's show how it can be done- but you need a pretty brilliant script to make it work, and a brilliant script is something "Bullshot" sadly lacks. (And even Brooks's efforts could run out of steam at the end, as happened with the otherwise excellent "Blazing Saddles").

The second reason why "Bullshot" is such a mess is that parody is harder than it looks. You cannot create a successful parody by taking something second-rate and exaggerating its weaknesses to produce something third- rate, even if you try to do so in an ironic way, as Shearman, House and White try to do here. They were clearly aware of the weaknesses of MacNeile's work- his jingoism, his sexism, the impossible perfection of his hero, his stilted prose style and his clichéd plots- but can do nothing with them except try and imitate them while trying to keep their tongues firmly in their cheeks. Palin, a gifted comic writer, could perhaps have got something out of this story. The writers of "Bullshot" manage to say nothing about Bulldog Drummond in an hour-and-a-half which could not have been said in thirty minutes, or perhaps even more succinctly in a five-minute comedy sketch. The ending of the film hints strongly that a sequel was being planned, but in the event none ever materialised. I can't say I'm surprised. 3/10


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