Bulldog Drummond (1929)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1929.  The Samuel Goldwyn Company.  Screenplay by , continuity by , based on the play by .  Cinematography by , .  Produced by .  Music by .   Production Design by .  Film Editing by

The first great adventure thriller of sound films was this terrific yarn starring Ronald Colman in the title role. He plays a ‘demobilized officer’ of World War I who returns to his life of plush aristocracy only to find it deathly boring and his life in need of a bit of a jump.

Deciding to implement a little adventure into his life, he advertises in the London newspaper as someone in need of a death-defying, but possibly fun, adventure and immediately finds himself swamped with requests for help.  The one he answers is (of course) a desperate plea by a young lady to please help her recover her rich uncle from a kidnapper posing as a nursing-home doctor.

Twists and turns galore, with an ending always in sight until someone pulls the rug out and lets the chase continue, this film features a great blend of pulse-pounding adventure and high-level hilarity. Its age shows in the rusty editing, but the camera work is superb: lots of deep shadows and stylized poses more suited to a von Sternberg drama than a penny-arcade spy movie.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Actor (Ronald Colman); Best Art Direction


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