Friday, May 21, 2010

Bulldog Drummond is out for revenge
(not sure against whom, but look out)!

Bulldog Drummond's Revenge (1937)
Starring: John Howard, E.E. Clive, Reginald Denny, John Barrymore, Louise Campbell, and Frank Puglia
Director: Louis King
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

While preparing to travel to Switzerland with his friends Algy (Denny) and Colonel Nielsen (Barrymore), as well as his manservant Tenny (Clive), so he can finally marry the love of his life, Phyllis Clavering (Campbell), Captain Hugh Drummond (Howard) is drawn into a nefarious scheme by murderous froeign agents attempting to steal the only existing sample of a newly developed high explosive, Hexonite. Can Drummond and his friends round up the guilty parties without spoiling yet another set of wedding plans?


"Bulldog Drummond's Revenge" is a fast-paced adventure tale that keeps things funny and lighthearted--almost in spite a sequence where our heroes are tossing about a suitcase that don't realize contains unstable explosives, and a series of ghoulish gags involving a severed arm.

This is the third of eight "Bulldog Drummond" movies produced by Paramount Pictures in the 1930s, and the regular cast-members provide their usual charming and witty performances. Clive shines particularly brightly in this outing, with Tenny's plain frustration with the antics of his "betters" giving rise to some very funny sarcasm.

The film's main weak point is its reliance on far-fetched coincidences to both get started and keep the characters involved in the events. (I could accept that Drummond and pals just happen to be driving along the road where bad guys are executing Stage Two of their scheme... but it taxes my ability to suspend my disbelief that Drummond and Phyllis's train compartment just happens to be next to the ones reserved by the bad guy. There's also the issue that Phyllis seems just a tiny bit too shrewish at times during the film; it's hardly Hugh's fault that a suitcase and a severed arm literally dropped out of the sky as he was returning from London.

This entry in the series will be particularly appreciated by fans of the "Indiana Jones" movies, as it has much of a same tone as they do.



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