Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Guy Standing, Reginald Denny, and Ray Milland
BULLDOG DRUMMOND ESCAPES (1937). Director: James P. Hogan.

Captain Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond (Ray Milland) nearly runs over an anxious woman, Phyllis Clavering (Heather Angel of The Undying Monster), on the road, and discovers that she is apparently being held captive in a manor nearby. The owner, Norman Merridew (Porter Hall) pish-poshes this accusation, and it doesn't help that Merridew is friends with Drummond's old adversary, Commissioner Nielson (Guy Standing). With the help of his buddy, Algy (Reginald Denny of Rebecca), and his butler Tenny (E. E. Clive), Drummond invades the mansion to affect a rescue. Paramount apparently began a series of Bulldog Drummond films with this picture, but star Ray Milland wisely only stuck around for the first entry. Milland is smooth and handsome but overly boyish and wide-eyed to the point where it's hard to see him as any kind of heroic figure. Heather Angel, who's not especially impressive in this, played the same role in several future Bulldog Drummond films, becoming that character's fiancee, and after many movies, his wife. (She was much more impressive in Hitchcock's Lifeboat,  under the master's tutelage.) The most interesting cast member is actually Fay Holden, playing a sleek if middle-aged villainess the same year she debuted as the mother of Andy Hardy in You're Only Young Once. Drummond is such a "friend" to his close buddy Algy that he uses subterfuge to get his help when the latter is at the hospital with his wife waiting for his child to be born! Bulldog Drummond Escapes is such a dull movie that it's a wonder Paramount ever made a follow-up, but apparently it was pleasing enough as a bottom of the bill flick to engender many sequels.

Verdict:  You'd be better off watching the sixties Drummond film Deadlier Than the Male. *1/2. 

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