It’s 2:24 pm
So I was telling the cheetah we were getting a pair of bulldogs to watch,needless to say he wasn’t very happy about having a pair of lovable but slobbering dogs in the house.
“No Paladin,not THOSE kind of bulldogs,but a pair of adventures featuring a dashing former British Army captain who becomes a investigator!!” The cheetah was a bit skeptical until I showed him the Warner Brothers Archives DVD release of two Bulldog Drummond stories, 1929’s “Bulldog Drummond” starring Ronald Colman and Joan Bennett and 1951’s “Calling Bulldog Drummond” with Walter Pidgeon and Margaret Leighton.
We put on the first film,sat back and watched history in the making.
Hugh “Bulldog”Drummond (Colman) was a Captain in the British Army during World War I who was discharged after the war is over. Young,wealthy and bored out of his mind,he is complaining about his lot to his best friend and lawyer Algy (Claude Allister) that he wants something more.
Algy tells him its not like he can write a personal ad for excitement but Drummond thinks its a brilliant idea and indeed places a ad and becomes a gentleman investigator.
He soon gets a bunch of letters asking for help but one,from Phyllis Travers (Bennett) catches his eye and he arranges to meet with her at midnight in a small pub.
Algy doesn’t like the sound of that despite Bulldog’s reassurances,he grabs Bulldog’s loyal man Danny and sets off after Drummond.
At the pub,Bulldog meets Phyllis and she tells him her rich uncle in being held at insane asylum but she doesn’t believe he is ill. At first Drummond doesn’t take seriously but he changes his tune. Phyllis gets scared when she spots two shadows and screams,it turns out its only Algy and Danny.
Phyllis escapes while Bulldog chastises his two friends.
But when Dr. Lakington comes looking for Phyllis,Bulldog knows she was telling the truth and knows he has a very short time to save both Phyllis and her uncle from the mad doctor and the ruthless gang out for his riches…and the clock is ticking.
Wow,what a FUN movie this was…we enjoyed the hell out watching the dashing Drummond go into action. “Bulldog Drummond” was Ronald Colman first lead in a talkie film and he gives a splendid performance as Drummond.
Colman would later win a Oscar in 1947’s “A Double Life”,he also won a nomination for his turn as Drummond.
This was Joan Bennett’s first lead role,she was 19 years old while Colman was 38. Her performance as Phyllis is a little melodramatic but you could already see she was going to be a beauty on screen.
But it was Claud Allister as “Algy” that is the heart of “Bulldog Drummond”,his very funny turn as the lawyer with the roving eye for anything in a skirt,including the lead baddie’s moll,who steals every scene he in. The chemistry he had with Colman make this a frothy and funny ride. There is one scene that is rather brutal and violent,but is shown in the shadows,this was 1929 after all.
The script was written by the creator of “Bulldog Drummond”, Herman C. McNeile and the film was by F. Richard Jones. Both script and direction are spot on,the action is tight and the story establishes Drummond as a character that audiences would want to see again and again.
The print is also excellent for a 88 year old movie,its crisp and clean.
The one thing that bothered me is that there are no special features and that is a real shame. I fully believe a small 20 minute retrospective is needed for older films like this.
To introduce the newer generations to talents like Ronald Colman and Joan Bennett would spark interest in both their careers (as well as the other actors) but also their catalogs.
So all in all…..the cheetah and I loved this one and give a HUGE thumb.paws up.
You can buy “Bulldog Drummond” at the Warner Brothers Archives along with many other classics.
If you have any comments,please feel free to leave them below,the cheetah and I will respond!