Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond has been played by some notables over the years including romantic Ronald Colman in 1929 and dependable Richard Johnson in 1967. For this 67 minute time filler we have future Oscar winner Ray Milland in his only shot at the role that was taken over for the balance of the remaining 7 films from this era by John Howard. Joining him are some series regulars from E.E. Clive as his Gentleman Tenny who would stay with the series for all 8 films from this run to Reginald Denny as pal Algy who stayed for all 8 as well.
While returning home to England and looking for adventure our retired hero need look no further than the Greystone estate up the road where beautiful Heather Angel as Phyllis Clavering is in need of help due to a criminal mastermind plotting her death among other things. For it’s hour plus length Drummond goes into action keeping 1937 audiences riveted to their seats I am quite sure.
These Drummond films fit rather nicely into the genre of the detective stories that were so popular during this thirties and forties. From Ellery Queen to The Falcon and the Saint this genre of mystery thrillers are usually quite enjoyable and provided a learning ground to up and comers like Anthony Quinn, J. Carrol Naish and Ward Bond. James Hogan who directed 5 Drummond films including this one also did double duty on the Ellery Queen set where Ralph Bellamy was employed as the leading man.
For those familiar with these films it is from here forward that Bulldog and Phyllis are always trying to tie the knot but can’t seem to find the time as our retired Captain is a magnet for criminal activity and adventure. If you get the chance to catch this title, that is indeed Fay Holden from the Andy Hardy series turning up as well.
I’ve definitely seen, and enjoyed, all the Howard movies but I have a hunch this one has eluded me. I always really liked the supporting casts of Clive, Denny et al too – great fun all round.
They are great escapism. The Milland film is out on Alpha video which released the Howard films and I have a copy from Image Entertainment so it’s out there if you go looking.