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Bulldog Drummond (John Howard) is about to marry his girlfriend Phyllis
(Heather Angel) yet again, and this time she has taken every precaution in
the book that he is not dragged away on another case (like stealing all of
his pants) ... when she witnesses their friend and mentor, Scotland Yard
chief Colonel Nielsen (H.B. Warner) being kidnapped. Now she can't but ask
him to postpone the wedding and try to save their friend.
Drummond, Phyllis, Drummond's butler Tenny (E.E. Clive) and his best
friend Algie (Reginald Denny) are all off to Africa on Drummond's plane,
where Col Nielsen is held by international spy Richard Lane (J. Carrol
Naish). In Africa, they are immediately greeted by the police, who take
them in custody, and the consule Major Grey (Matthew Boulton) wants to
send them right back to England, and doesn't believe a fraction of his
story of the kidnapped Scotland Yard boss - or so he says, the rescue
operation is actually already in preparation, and the last thing Grey
needs now is outside interference. However, what Grey hasn't forseen is
that his right-hand man Fordine (Anthony Quinn) is actually in Lane's
employ, and instead of helping to gree Nielsen, he kidnaps Grey as well.
and friends are all blissfully unaware of this, and also unaware of the
fact that Fordine has seen to it that a timebomb is attached to Drummonds
plane to explode over the sea ... but while Drummond actually boarded the
plane as told, and lifted it off the ground, he never planned on actually
returning without Col Nielsen, and instead of taking it over the sea, he
lands it as close to the Nielsen residence as possible, and he and his
friends leave the plane just seconds after it goes up in a bang.
Nielsen manages to play games with Lane and company. He is to give them
information on a radio interference device but postpones spitting out the
information endlessly, until Lane loses his cool, ties Nielsen to a post
next to a hungry lion that's still chained up, but Lane whips him into a
rage so it's only a question of time that the chain will snap. Drummond
and friends arrive just in time, and furious fights up balconies with an
enraged lion down below ensue. In the end of course, Lane falls prey to
his own lion, and Drummond and company free Nielsen and Grey.
nice entry into the Bulldog Drummond series, if not exactly
a milestone. However, the basic plot, the exocit locale and the overt
cruelty and sadism of its lead villain do anticipate the much later James
Bond-series. However, the film fails to make good use of its
African backdrops (where it most certainly was not filmed) neither
in looks nor in story, and only the villain's pet lion is a direct
reference to the location (while especially the African policemen come
across as Mexican caricatures for some reason).
All that said, there are
certainly worse ways to kill an hour ...