Bulldog Drummond (1929): Ronald Colman as Sleuth

Ronald Colman, in a change-of-pace role, plays Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond, a man who offers his services as adventurer for hire.

Drummond gets mixed up with Joan Bennett, whose wealthy father is being held against his will in a sanitarium. Drummond, his pal Algy (Claud Allister) and his faithful butler Danny (Wilson Benge) fall into the villain’s lair, occupied by the evil Dr. Lakington.

Drummond is overpowered by Lakington’s henchpersons (Lilyan Tashman and Montague Love).  Just when he is willing to accept his inevitable death, Lakington fondles the unconscious Bennett. Drummond escapes, and kills Lakington in cold blood.

He then becomes his old charming self and allows the villains Love and Tashman to escape. Drummond saves the millionaire and wins the girl.

Every subsequent “Bulldog Drummond” film would open with an interrupted wedding.

Shot in the early talkie era, “Bulldog Drummond” is quite sophisticated for its time, directed with assurance by former Mack Sennett associate F. Richard Jones, who died shortly after the film’s release.

Conforming to the dictate of  “all talking-all singing” it includes some Irish songs sung by tenor Donald Novis.

“Bullddog Drummond” holds up largely due to Colmán’s suave performance as the sleuth, sharply written script by Sidney Howard, and cinematography by the brilliant Gregg Toland and George Barnes.

The movie was so popular that it launched many sequels, with different actors, including Ray Milland,

Oscar Nominations: 2

Actor: Ronald Colman

Interior Decoration: William Cameron Menzies

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Actor Oscar was another Brit, George Arliss, for “Disraeli.”

The Art Direction Oscar went to Herman Rosse for “King of Jazz.”

 

Credits

Running time: 85 Minutes.

Directed by F. Richard Jones

Released: May 2, 1929 Wide

DVD: June 24, 1992

MGM

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