Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Bulldog Drummond Escapes

Adapted from the the novels of H. C. McNeile, and part of Paramount's series following the First World War veteran turned gentleman adventurer, Bulldog Drummond Escapes was released in 1937 starring Ray Milland as the title character, Guy Standing as the disapproving local police inspector, and Heather Angel as a damsel in distress.

Re-released as part of The Film Detective's Restored Classics, Bulldog Drummond Escapes feels a bit dated in places no more so than the opening sequence involving Drummond's plane landing back in England. Getting into trouble his first night back, he stumbles on a murder, has his car stolen by a young woman who is later recaptured by those holding her against her will, gets on the wrong side of the local police with the help of his old friend (Reginald Denny) and butler (E.E. Clive), and eventually uncovers a counterfeit plot and, of course, saves the girl.

For a film that's nearly 85 years old, Bulldog Drummond Escapes doesn't look too bad, although it hasn't gotten the level of care and restoration of more prominent films. The heavy use of fog helps hide some limitations of the movie's budget while also adding some ambiance to the setting. Very much an adventure romp of its time, the film has its charms as Bulldog tricks his old friend into helping (making him miss the birth of his own child!), outsmarts both police and the film's villains, quibbles with the inspector, and falls for the woman who dragged him into the entire mess by stealing his car and leaving him stranded in the marsh.

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