Bulldog Drummond at Bay


1h 10m 1947
Bulldog Drummond at Bay

Brief Synopsis

When thieves rob his country estate, Bulldog Drummond¿s investigation uncovers a deadly jewel heist.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
May 15, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Bulldog Drummond at Bay by H. C. "Sapper" McNeile (New York, 1935).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m

Synopsis

Master sleuth Capt. Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond is vacationing at a cottage in the country when his peace is shattered one night by a stone smashing through his window. Soon after, two men drive up and question Drummond, who pretends to be a simple farmer. After they leave, Drummond follows them and watches as they load a man's body into their car and drive away. Once the car is out of sight, Drummond returns to his cottage and finds a claim check with the name "Victoria" printed on it and a secret code signed "A5." The next day, Drummond's intruders from the previous evening, Meredith, a respected London jeweler, and his partner Shannon, recognize Drummond from a picture in the paper and send Doris Hamilton, a trusted employee of Meredith's, to search for the cache of jewels that their victim was transporting. Upon arriving at the cottage, Doris pretends that her car has broken down on the way to her uncle's estate in Tambridge. Seeing though her ruse, Drummond offers to drive her to Tambridge and then surreptitiously slips a note to Seymour, a reporter who has come for an interview, asking him to instruct Drummond's friend Algy Longworth to meet him in Tambridge. While stopped at the Tambridge hotel, Doris confides that her brother's life is in danger and begs for Drummond's help. When Drummond recounts the events of the previous evening, Doris asks if a note was attached to the rock. Drummond answers no, but offers to wire a query about the note to his housekeeper, Mrs. Eskdale. Instead of cabling his housekeeper, however, Drummond sends a phony coded reply from Mrs. Eskdale to Hartley Court, Meredith's estate. There, Doris introduces Drummond to her "uncle" Meredith. When the cable arrives, Drummond offers to investigate and drives off, heading for Tambridge. In town, he meets Algy and Seymour and telephones Inspector McIvar at Scotland Yard. After McIvar identifies "A5" as Scotland Yard operative Richard Hamilton, Drummond and the others speed back to the cottage, where they discover that Mrs. Eskdale has been drugged and Drummond's dog shot. When Drummond finds Doris' discarded glove, he deduces that Doris must be Richard's sister and has been coerced into crime to save her brother. After sending the claim check to Scotland Yard, Drummond, Algy and Seymour drive back to Hartley Court, where Algy and Seymour stand guard while Drummond scales the estate's walls to confer with Doris. Admitting she was forced to join Shannon and Meredith's scheme because of her brother's peril, Doris explains that Meredith had been holding a fortune in jewels for a family that had betrayed Britain during the war. When Meredith decided to return the jewels, Richard, posing as a courier, intercepted them for Scotland Yard. Aware that he was being followed, Richard hid the jewels before being captured by Shannon. Hearing Algy whistle a warning signal, Drummond quickly slips out the window and disappears. The next day, Drummond visits McIvar at Scotland Yard and surreptitiously copies the code that the investigators have deciphered from the claim ticket. Later, when he examines the code with Doris and reads the word "Sambo doll," he realizes that Richard must have stashed the jewels inside a doll. Just then, Drummond notices that Shannon is shadowing them, and stuffs some fake jewels in a doll taken from the Victoria Oyster Bar. Taking the bait, Shannon kidnaps Doris and the doll, but when he discovers the jewels are phony, he accuses Meredith of switching the stones. To find out the truth, Shannon drives to the building in which Richard is being held captive, and Drummond, Algy and Seymour follow. To save Doris, Richard blurts out that the doll is being held at a check stand at the Victoria Arms hotel, after which Shannon shoots Meredith and speeds off with Drummond in pursuit, arriving just in time to slug Shannon and turn the doll over to McIvar. After McIvar arrests Shannon, Doris gratefully embraces Drummond.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
May 15, 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Bulldog Drummond at Bay by H. C. "Sapper" McNeile (New York, 1935).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m

Articles

Bulldog Drummond at Bay


The gentleman adventurer returned to the screen after a seven-year absence with a new face, new studio and new sidekicks. Australian actor Ron Randall makes his U.S. starring debut as Drummond, now based at Columbia rather than Paramount. Gone are his fiancée Phyllis, butler Tenny Tennyson and Scotland Yard Inspector Nielson, though Drummond's bumbling best friend, Algy, remains now played by Irish actor Patrick O'Moore. The result has a touch of film noir, a lot of talk and some strong action sequences from director Sidney Salkow.

With Paramount's Drummond films a thing of the past, Columbia Pictures picked up the rights to the stories and characters through Lou Appleton and Bernard Small's new Venture Pictures unit. They chose to start a proposed series of films with an adaptation of Herman C. McNeile's 1935 novel, which had been filmed in England in 1937 under the same title. John Lodge played the adventurer in that version, with Victor Jory as the lead villain.

Western specialist Frank Gruber, who had also written some of Universal's Sherlock Holmes films, stays closer to the original novel than most of the other Drummond films. As in the original, Drummond is vacationing in his country cottage when somebody throws a stone through one of his windows. Attached to the stone is a claim check from Victoria Station with a coded message written on its back. Before long, a series of intruders start showing up, including blonde beauty Doris (Anita Louise), all trying to find the ticket and the treasure to which it leads. At this point, the film goes off in its own direction, as Randall takes on a band of jewel thieves with the help of O'Moore, cub reporter Seymour (Terry Kilburn) and Scotland Yard Inspector McIvar (Holmes Herbert). In the original, Drummond infiltrated a band of pacifists to find the enemy agents using it as a front. That wouldn't have played as well in the post-war era, so instead the quest was for a fortune in jewels owned by a family that had betrayed England during World War II.

Randall had been acting in his native Australia since the late '30s. Long before international audiences were even aware of Australian cinema, he caught Hollywood's attention with Pacific Adventure (1946), a biography of the Australian aviation pioneer Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. Although he had appeared in a bit in Warner Bros.' To Have and Have Not (1944), he made his official U.S. debut as Bulldog Drummond, a role he would repeat in the series' second film, Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1947). He would continue in mostly B films, even playing another intrepid adventurer, the Lone Wolf. Most notable among his A pictures were a brief appearance as Cole Porter in MGM's Kiss Me Kate (1953) and the role of the centurion converted to Christianity in King of Kings (1961).

After making two Bulldog Drummond films at Columbia, Appleton and Small parted ways. Appleton produced a few more films before moving into assistant directing for such television series as Father Knows Best and The Doris Day Show. Small set up his own Bernard Small Productions, which produced three films for 20th Century-Fox. Included among those were two more Bulldog Drummond films, now starring Tom Conway, who had played the Falcon for RKO earlier in the 1940s. Oddly, neither of those films featured Drummond's name in the titles.

After that, Drummond moved to MGM for Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951) starting Walter Pidgeon as the now-retired adventurer. The character would not return to the screen until the late 1960s, when he was repackaged as a bush league James Bond and played by Richard Johnson in two films for J. Arthur Rank in England.

Director: Sidney Salkow
Producer: Louis B. Appleton, Jr., Bernard Small
Screenplay: Frank Gruber
Based on the novel by Herman C. 'Sapper' McNeile Cinematography: Philip Tannura
Score: Joseph Dubin, John Leipold
Cast: Ron Randall (Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond), Anita Louise (Doris Hamilton/Doris Meredith), Patrick O'Moore (Algy Longworth), Terry Kilburn (Seymour - Cub Reporter), Holmes Herbert (Scotland Yard Inspector McIvar), Lester Matthews (Shannon Eskdale)

By Frank Miller
Bulldog Drummond At Bay

Bulldog Drummond at Bay

The gentleman adventurer returned to the screen after a seven-year absence with a new face, new studio and new sidekicks. Australian actor Ron Randall makes his U.S. starring debut as Drummond, now based at Columbia rather than Paramount. Gone are his fiancée Phyllis, butler Tenny Tennyson and Scotland Yard Inspector Nielson, though Drummond's bumbling best friend, Algy, remains now played by Irish actor Patrick O'Moore. The result has a touch of film noir, a lot of talk and some strong action sequences from director Sidney Salkow. With Paramount's Drummond films a thing of the past, Columbia Pictures picked up the rights to the stories and characters through Lou Appleton and Bernard Small's new Venture Pictures unit. They chose to start a proposed series of films with an adaptation of Herman C. McNeile's 1935 novel, which had been filmed in England in 1937 under the same title. John Lodge played the adventurer in that version, with Victor Jory as the lead villain. Western specialist Frank Gruber, who had also written some of Universal's Sherlock Holmes films, stays closer to the original novel than most of the other Drummond films. As in the original, Drummond is vacationing in his country cottage when somebody throws a stone through one of his windows. Attached to the stone is a claim check from Victoria Station with a coded message written on its back. Before long, a series of intruders start showing up, including blonde beauty Doris (Anita Louise), all trying to find the ticket and the treasure to which it leads. At this point, the film goes off in its own direction, as Randall takes on a band of jewel thieves with the help of O'Moore, cub reporter Seymour (Terry Kilburn) and Scotland Yard Inspector McIvar (Holmes Herbert). In the original, Drummond infiltrated a band of pacifists to find the enemy agents using it as a front. That wouldn't have played as well in the post-war era, so instead the quest was for a fortune in jewels owned by a family that had betrayed England during World War II. Randall had been acting in his native Australia since the late '30s. Long before international audiences were even aware of Australian cinema, he caught Hollywood's attention with Pacific Adventure (1946), a biography of the Australian aviation pioneer Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. Although he had appeared in a bit in Warner Bros.' To Have and Have Not (1944), he made his official U.S. debut as Bulldog Drummond, a role he would repeat in the series' second film, Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1947). He would continue in mostly B films, even playing another intrepid adventurer, the Lone Wolf. Most notable among his A pictures were a brief appearance as Cole Porter in MGM's Kiss Me Kate (1953) and the role of the centurion converted to Christianity in King of Kings (1961). After making two Bulldog Drummond films at Columbia, Appleton and Small parted ways. Appleton produced a few more films before moving into assistant directing for such television series as Father Knows Best and The Doris Day Show. Small set up his own Bernard Small Productions, which produced three films for 20th Century-Fox. Included among those were two more Bulldog Drummond films, now starring Tom Conway, who had played the Falcon for RKO earlier in the 1940s. Oddly, neither of those films featured Drummond's name in the titles. After that, Drummond moved to MGM for Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951) starting Walter Pidgeon as the now-retired adventurer. The character would not return to the screen until the late 1960s, when he was repackaged as a bush league James Bond and played by Richard Johnson in two films for J. Arthur Rank in England. Director: Sidney Salkow Producer: Louis B. Appleton, Jr., Bernard Small Screenplay: Frank Gruber Based on the novel by Herman C. 'Sapper' McNeile Cinematography: Philip Tannura Score: Joseph Dubin, John Leipold Cast: Ron Randall (Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond), Anita Louise (Doris Hamilton/Doris Meredith), Patrick O'Moore (Algy Longworth), Terry Kilburn (Seymour - Cub Reporter), Holmes Herbert (Scotland Yard Inspector McIvar), Lester Matthews (Shannon Eskdale) By Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although onscreen credits and the SAB state that this picture was based on a novel by [H. C.] "Sapper" [McNeile], the plot is quite different from both the novel Bulldog Drummond at Bay and the 1937 English film of the same title, starring John Lodge and directed by Norman Lee. This was the first of two Columbia productions based on the character "Bulldog Drummond." Both starred Ron Randell (1918-2005), An Australian film and radio star. Bulldog Drummond at Bay picture marked Randell's American film debut. Paramount also produced a "Bulldog Drummond" series in the 1930s. For additional information about films based on the character of "Bulldog Drummond," please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.0525.