The train ferry where a lot of this film takes place was a real service of the French National Railway and Britain's Southern Railway. The service began in 1936, was interrupted by World War II, resumed in 1947 and ended in 1980. The trip took 12 hours, leaving Victoria Station in London at 9 p.m. and arriving at the North Station in Paris at 9 a.m. Simultaneous service in the opposite direction left Paris at 9:45 p.m. and arrived in London at 9:10 a.m. See more »
This is the eleventh Bulldog Drummond film, and the second starring John Howard as Drummond. It was released in December, 1937. Once again, the lead billing is instead given to John Barrymore as Inspector Nielson, in deference to his star status, despite the fact that he is only a supporting player who walks through his part, turning his Barrymore glare on and off again like a traffic light. This is a particularly good Drummond film, with lots of interesting second unit shots of London and Dover in 1937 and some amusing and original scenes (it starts with a joke about Americans chewing gum). Later Drummond films tended to be more set-bound, probably to save costs. John Howard is marvellous as Drummond, full of youthful buoyancy (not what Sapper the author intended, but still refreshing to watch), E. E. Clive is magnificent as always as Tennie the gentleman's gentleman, and Reginald Denny is the engaging and lovable but bumbling and clumsy twit Algy Longworth, Drummond's 'chum'. The plot is unimaginative, concerning a scientist who has invented a new high explosive ('one hundred bombs of it would wipe London off the map'), and baddies want to steal this and sell it to a hostile foreign power. The whiff of war to come was very much in the air when this was made. This film and the one preceding and following were extremely annoying for containing the insipid and irritating Louise Campbell as Phyllis Clavering, Drummond's fiancée whom he is always trying to marry, but crime always interferes. In the fourth Howard film, she was replaced, thank goodness. Also annoying in this and the following Drummond film is Nydia Westman, as Gwen Longworth. Her high-pitched chattering is infuriating and incomprehensible babble. The two women in this film could thus be described as: tedious, tepid, fainting all the time, dull, stupid, presumptuous, arrogant, feeble, useless, maddening, vacuous ... (That's enough adjectives, ed.) Despite the dreary women, the film moves along with jollity, firmness of purpose, good pace, and clicks like a train on a track. (I mean of course a 1930s track, before long rails were invented.) Yes, this is a good 'un.
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