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Bulldog Drummond in Africa

USA 1938
produced by
Harold Hurley, Edward T. Lowe jr for Congress Films/Paramount
directed by Louis King
starring John Howard, Heather Angel, H.B. Warner, J. Carrol Naish, Reginald Denny, E.E. Clive, Anthony Quinn, Michael Brooke, Michael Vallon, Wilhelm von Brincken, Matthew Boulton, Neil Fitzgerald, Forrester Harvey, Leonard Carey, Rudolf Myzet, Konstantin Shayne, Paul Porcasi, Fortunio Bonanova
screenplay by Garnett Weston, based on the novel Challenge by Herman C.McNeile (= Sapper), music by Milan Roder

Bulldog Drummond, Paramount's Bulldog Drummond, Bulldog Drummond (John Howard)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.

Soon, 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.

Drummond 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.

Col 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.

 

A 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 ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD