The Lone Wolf Strikes


57m 1940
The Lone Wolf Strikes

Brief Synopsis

A reformed jewel thief helps an heiress retrieve a stolen necklace.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 26, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by Louis Joseph Vance.

Technical Specs

Duration
57m
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Michael Lanyard, the retired gentleman crook known as the Lone Wolf, is puttering with his aquarium when his old friend, Stanley Young, appears to enlist his aid in recovering a priceless pearl necklace that has been stolen from his murdered friend, Phillip Jordan. Young tells Lanyard that Jordan had found out that Binnie Weldon and her accomplice, Jim Ryder, stole the pearls and replaced them with fakes, and Lanyard agrees to switch the pearls back again. He is hampered in his task, however, by the misguided meddling of Delia Jordan, the murdered man's daughter. Posing as foreign fence Emil Gorlick, Lanyard obtains the pearls from Binnie and Ryder, but after he turns them over to Stanley, his old friend is found murdered and the pearls are discovered missing. Stanley's murder throws suspicion on Lanyard, and to clear himself of the crime, he must find both the murderers and the necklace. To accomplish this, Lanyard tricks the killers into believing that they have the fake pearls and Delia has the real ones. Much to Delia's dismay, Lanyard's trap nets her, suitor Ralph Bolton, and Alberts, the man who hired Bolton to keep an eye on the pearls. After convincing Alberts that he has the genuine pearls, Lanyard leads the killers on a merry chase, which ends on a New York ferryboat where the police await them.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Jan 26, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by Louis Joseph Vance.

Technical Specs

Duration
57m
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

The Lone Wolf Strikes


In his second film as Louis Joseph Vance's gentleman detective, Warren William took on one of Hollywood's most acclaimed hostesses and an inveterate scene-stealer. A rarity among Hollywood's low-budget detective series, the low-budget thriller, The Lone Wolf Strikes (1940), scored well with critics and often proved more popular than the big budget films with which it was paired. The tale of a jewel theft and murder William has to solve to clear himself of suspicion led the New York Times critic to praise "the niftiest jools-and-robbers picture since goodness knows when," even suggesting that the film's cross-double-cross plot possessed "a state of technical richness similar to that of a Bach fugue."

Vance had introduced the Lone Wolf, Michael Lanyard, as a criminal with a heart of gold in his 1914 novel The Lone Wolf. The character jumped to the silver screen in 1917, with Bert Lytell playing the role. By the time talking films came around, Vance had written four more novels (there would be eight in all). The character's cinematic adventures would resume in 1930 with Henry B. Walthall starring in False Faces. He would be followed by Lytell, Melvyn Douglas and Frances Lederer, all for one film each, before William made the role his own.

Stage veteran William had come to Hollywood with the arrival of talking films and quickly captured a berth at Warner Bros., where he specialized in hypocritical, often villainous businessmen and society mavens. His patrician profile and stage diction made him an ideal villain for early Depression audiences. But when Franklin Roosevelt swept into office in 1932, the type quickly became outdated. Series films (Williams played dapper sleuth Philo Vance twice and defense attorney Perry Mason four times) offered his salvation, albeit in less prestigious productions. He took over the Lone Wolf series at Columbia in 1939 with The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt, and stayed with the character for six films, twice as long as the role's next most prolific interpreter.

For his second outing in the role, The Lone Wolf Strikes, the studio upped the comedy relief by casting veteran character actor Eric Blore as William's valet, Jamieson. Blore had established a reputation as a scene stealer by offering comic highlights in some of the best Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, including Top Hat (1935) and Shall We Dance (1937), usually playing eccentric British servants. He would continue with the Lone Wolf series through the rest of William's reign while also appearing in such A-films as Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels (both 1941).

Director Sidney Salkow would also stick with the series for several films, co-writing two of them. A Hollywood veteran with credits in almost every genre, he would finish his career with low-budget films, most notably the Vincent Price vehicles Twice-Told Tales (1963) and The Last Man on Earth (1964), and television work. Journeyman writer Dalton Trumbo, who wrote the story, would not stay with the series. Instead, he scored a major hit the same year with Kitty Foyle (1940), the film that brought Ginger Rogers an Oscar® and gave Trumbo his first Oscar® nomination. It also marked his move into the ranks of Hollywood's top writers, a position he would hold until his refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee would lead to his blacklisting and a prison term as a member of the Hollywood Ten.

One of the most interesting careers associated with The Lone Wolf Strikes was leading lady Joan Perry's. As the energetic heiress whose personal investigation of the jewelry theft keeps getting in William's way, she was finishing up her contract with Columbia, but the film hardly marked the end of her association with the studio. After a few more films under a new contract at Warner Bros., she finally accepted a marriage proposal from Columbia head Harry Cohn, who had begun courting her during her contract years there. As Joan Cohn, she quickly became one of the most powerful hostesses in Hollywood.

Producer: Fred Kohlmar
Director: Sidney Salkow
Screenplay: Harry Segall, Albert Duffy
Based on a story by Dalton Trumbo, based on the characters created by Louis Joseph Vance
Cinematography: Henry Freulich
Art Direction: Lionel Banks
Score: Sidney Cutner
Cast: Warren William (Michael Lanyard), Joan Perry (Delia Jordan), Eric Blore (Jamison), Alan Baxter (Jim Ryder), Astrid Allwyn (Binnie Weldon), Montagu Love (Emil Gorlick). BW-57m.

by Frank Miller
The Lone Wolf Strikes

The Lone Wolf Strikes

In his second film as Louis Joseph Vance's gentleman detective, Warren William took on one of Hollywood's most acclaimed hostesses and an inveterate scene-stealer. A rarity among Hollywood's low-budget detective series, the low-budget thriller, The Lone Wolf Strikes (1940), scored well with critics and often proved more popular than the big budget films with which it was paired. The tale of a jewel theft and murder William has to solve to clear himself of suspicion led the New York Times critic to praise "the niftiest jools-and-robbers picture since goodness knows when," even suggesting that the film's cross-double-cross plot possessed "a state of technical richness similar to that of a Bach fugue." Vance had introduced the Lone Wolf, Michael Lanyard, as a criminal with a heart of gold in his 1914 novel The Lone Wolf. The character jumped to the silver screen in 1917, with Bert Lytell playing the role. By the time talking films came around, Vance had written four more novels (there would be eight in all). The character's cinematic adventures would resume in 1930 with Henry B. Walthall starring in False Faces. He would be followed by Lytell, Melvyn Douglas and Frances Lederer, all for one film each, before William made the role his own. Stage veteran William had come to Hollywood with the arrival of talking films and quickly captured a berth at Warner Bros., where he specialized in hypocritical, often villainous businessmen and society mavens. His patrician profile and stage diction made him an ideal villain for early Depression audiences. But when Franklin Roosevelt swept into office in 1932, the type quickly became outdated. Series films (Williams played dapper sleuth Philo Vance twice and defense attorney Perry Mason four times) offered his salvation, albeit in less prestigious productions. He took over the Lone Wolf series at Columbia in 1939 with The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt, and stayed with the character for six films, twice as long as the role's next most prolific interpreter. For his second outing in the role, The Lone Wolf Strikes, the studio upped the comedy relief by casting veteran character actor Eric Blore as William's valet, Jamieson. Blore had established a reputation as a scene stealer by offering comic highlights in some of the best Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, including Top Hat (1935) and Shall We Dance (1937), usually playing eccentric British servants. He would continue with the Lone Wolf series through the rest of William's reign while also appearing in such A-films as Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels (both 1941). Director Sidney Salkow would also stick with the series for several films, co-writing two of them. A Hollywood veteran with credits in almost every genre, he would finish his career with low-budget films, most notably the Vincent Price vehicles Twice-Told Tales (1963) and The Last Man on Earth (1964), and television work. Journeyman writer Dalton Trumbo, who wrote the story, would not stay with the series. Instead, he scored a major hit the same year with Kitty Foyle (1940), the film that brought Ginger Rogers an Oscar® and gave Trumbo his first Oscar® nomination. It also marked his move into the ranks of Hollywood's top writers, a position he would hold until his refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee would lead to his blacklisting and a prison term as a member of the Hollywood Ten. One of the most interesting careers associated with The Lone Wolf Strikes was leading lady Joan Perry's. As the energetic heiress whose personal investigation of the jewelry theft keeps getting in William's way, she was finishing up her contract with Columbia, but the film hardly marked the end of her association with the studio. After a few more films under a new contract at Warner Bros., she finally accepted a marriage proposal from Columbia head Harry Cohn, who had begun courting her during her contract years there. As Joan Cohn, she quickly became one of the most powerful hostesses in Hollywood. Producer: Fred Kohlmar Director: Sidney Salkow Screenplay: Harry Segall, Albert Duffy Based on a story by Dalton Trumbo, based on the characters created by Louis Joseph Vance Cinematography: Henry Freulich Art Direction: Lionel Banks Score: Sidney Cutner Cast: Warren William (Michael Lanyard), Joan Perry (Delia Jordan), Eric Blore (Jamison), Alan Baxter (Jim Ryder), Astrid Allwyn (Binnie Weldon), Montagu Love (Emil Gorlick). BW-57m. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

For additional information about "The Lone Wolf" series, for The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt and consult the Series Index.