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Monday, October 24, 2016

Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951)

Scotland Yard asks retired Army officer Bulldog Drummond (Walter Pidgeon) for his help in going undercover and infiltrating a gang of thieves working for a criminal mastermind who they suspect has military experience. He agrees but is less than thrilled about being saddled with a female partner (Margaret Leighton). Directed by Victor Saville (GREEN DOLPHIN STREET), Pidgeon steps into the shoes of several actors (Ronald Colman, Ray Milland) who had played Bulldog Drummond before him. At age 53, Pidgeon was getting a bit long in the tooth for action films like these and it's obvious in the fight scenes that it's a stunt double. Still, as a British programmer, it moves along nicely if predictably and Leighton has probably never been sexier in an early example of a policewoman figuring prominently in the plot when it was still considered a male profession. The B&W cinematography is by Freddie Young (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA). With David Tomlinson, Bernard Lee, Peggy Evans, Laurence Naismith and in a minor role, Richard Johnson who would go on to play Drummond in DEADLIER THAN THE MALE (1968).

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