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Don't miss 1929's Bulldog Drummond on January 7!


LsDoorMat
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I'm pretty sure this one is showing up because it is part of Warner Brothers' acquisition of the vast majority of Samuel Goldwyn's films. It ought to be interesting to see if it has been restored. It is the first surviving talking film starring Ronald Colman, and also has early talkie performances by Joan Bennett and Lilyan Tashman. It is airing 8 pm EST January 7. It's one of the best of the very early talkies in my humble opinion.

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Bulldog Drummond is one of the very few early talkies I've seen that is not a stiff, talkie affair. Its art deco sets were designed by William Cameron Menzies for whom the evening of films Thursday evening will be a tribute.

 

Ronald Colman is at his debonair best in this film. He adopts a light hearted, larky attitude towards the antics of the villains (one of whom, Lawrence Grant, being particularly loathsome, at one point taking physical advantage of the drugged heroine, Joan Bennett, while a tied up and helpless Drummond is forced to watch).

 

What a scoundrel! What a swine! What a lecher! If ony Drummond could get himself free . . .

 

The film is a delightful tongue-in-cheek adventure, and Colman's swashbuckling elan (swashbucklng in spirit, at least) was undoubtedly influenced by the ever smiling Doug Fairbanks to a large degree.

 

This film brought Colman his first of three Oscar nominations and five years later, switching studios from Goldwyn to Fox, he would reprise the role in the equally delightful and tongue-in-cheek Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back.

 

By the way, the opening joke in this film, dealing with various stuffy members of a men's club giving Colman dirty looks for not keeping quiet on their premises would be a gag that would be used again just a few years later by Fred Astaire in one of his RKO Musicals (Top Hat, I think).

 

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Bound and surrounded by three dastardly villains, Drummond is still not about to lose his English gentleman cool. This film is great tongue-in-cheek fun, and, far and away, the most enjoyable of Ronald Colman's early talkies made at the Goldwyn Studio.

 

I'm very pleased that TCM is finally showing this film. This will be my highlight of the month on the channel.

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The print looks pretty good to me, but I'm no expert. The sound is fine too, I'm really impressed by how seamless the dialogue is; the transition to sound in most other 1929 films ive seen has been nowhere near as graceful and innovative as it is here.

 

And the sets are impressive too.

 

I have to say though, I was expecting something a lot more urbane. This film is practically "psychotronic" with its mad doctor, buzzing lab equipment, and bubbling beakers.

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What an amazing early talkie!  I love the entire "Bulldog Drummond" series, but this is really remarkable for its light touch, considering the year....  Colman is spot on as Hugh.  Bennett, 19 at the time, hints at what she would become.

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This was so great. Especially sophisticated for an talkie- it had much more energy, fluidity, well-integrated humor and sharp dialogue than I'm used to seeing in films from this era. But I love films from this era- they're always fun to watch and quite interesting. The darker tones they were able to get away with in this one were interesting, too.* I particularly enjoyed Lilyan Tashman as the villainess- she could really milk it.

 

*SPOILER:

Some very harsh content, including making a murderer out of our hero after some dastard contemplates having his way with the unconscious young lady. Despicable action, I'd say, regardless of circumstance- and then he comes out and starts touching her with those killer's hands!

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 I particularly enjoyed Lilyan Tashman as the villainess- she could really milk it.

 

 

Coincidentally, she was married to the star of the next movie, Chandu the Magician at the time - I mean Edmund Lowe. She was quite good, I got a kick out of her performance.

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Stunned this was a TCM premiere. I rented this movie close to 20 years ago, before I was aware there was a TCM, so I had seen it once before, but I had forgotten 90 per cent of it.

 

I'm utterly charmed by the idea that one could place an advert in a newspaper and have reasonable expectation that great, thrilling adventure would follow. The comedy intrusions were a little odd. There was a long, comically flirtatious interchange between the villainess and Algy right in the middle of a crucially dramatic scene where she's very close to reacquiring all her kidnap victims. Seems like she would have other things on her mind. Of course, Algy was a walking comic interlude throughout the movie, not much help, though he did have a surprisingly athletic vault over a balcony as he was shedding his Bulldog disguise.

 

Also, clearly a pre-Code as (SPOILER ALERT!), Drummond just lets the villianess go free at the end after Phyllis convinces him she's just a woman in love like herself.

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Don't know if Osborne mentioned it or not- but he usually does with this sort of thing- Ronald Colman sort of got his first Oscar nomination for BULLDOG DRUMMOND, it was maybe the third year of the awards and that year you could be nominated multiple times in a category, and he was also nominated for something called CONDEMNED in the Best Actor race. Can't remember who he lost to.

 

Looking back, I think he owed the DRUMMOND nod to the world's appreciation of his melodious voice (on display for the first time here?) than to anything particularly spectacular he does in the film,  and the role is not exactly demanding.

 

I was surprised at how many elements of the "old, dark house" kitchen sink thrillers of the silent days the film contained.

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I watched too, plus the Chandu film and enjoyed both.

 

Seeing a bit younger Colman and hearing his wonderfully mellifluous voice was a treat. The sound was a bit creaky but who cares.

 

The premise of looking for excitement after suffering the doldrums of the British men's club was fun, and rather risque dialogue particularly when he told the luggage packer he might not need his pajamas!

 

Bela was as usual, in the other film, chewing up the scenery and I loved watching him!

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Didn't dig it. It had some nice imagery but I was really looking forward to a more fetching young Joan Bennett. Good sound for the times. I wouldn't have guessed it was a 20s piece.

 

That 20s hairstyle didn't look good on Joan and her acting was flat (but hey she was 19).     Colman was a treat.  That guy always gives strong performances. 

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For those who enjoyed Bulldog Drummond on TCM last night, and that appears to be the majority of you here, you might keep an eye open for a sequel that Ronald Colman made five years later:

 

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Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back was made at 20th Century Pictures, rather than Goldwyn, but is the same kind of tongue-in-cheek delight as was last night's film. Once again, Colman is debonair and winking his eye at the camera, incorrigibly optimistic at extricating himself from any sticky situation with the villains, no matter how unllikely his escape might seem.

 

The leading lady in this film is a stunningly beautiful Loretta Young, and the chief villain an ominous Warner Oland (those who have seen Oland as a villain know how good he could be, with a decidedly creepy quality about him at times).

 

If memory serves me correctly, Oland rather grudgingly likes Drummond in this film because the adventurer sleuth is so innovative and plucky, and he's only willing to knock him off reluctantly if it is absolutely necessary (of course, Drummond makes it necessary).

 

The lobby card above has Colman surrounded by some heavy breathing villains (including a young Mischa Auer behind him) as he attempts to get out of the trapped situation by trying to get himself arrested by E. E. Clive, who played a particularly thick headed London bobby in this film.

 

Unfortunately, Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back has always had copyright issues which, until a few years ago, meant it was out of circulation. I got a public domain print of it some years ago, and if you scrounge around the internet you will undoubtedly find copies of it (no guaranty on the quality of the image, of course) being sold here and there. I doubt very much that TCM will get a copy of this one, unfortunately, though you never know.

 

Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back is a delightful film that refuses to take itself seriously, quite the equal, I think, of last night's presentation on TCM.

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That 20s hairstyle didn't look good on Joan and her acting was flat (but hey she was 19).     Colman was a treat.  That guy always gives strong performances. 

 

For me Joan Bennett really became Joan Bennett when she put dark coloring in her hair.  Furthermore I think she would have made a great earlier version of Morticia Addams or Lillian Munster.

 

All in all, yesterday was a smokin' hot day for my DVR.

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According to Osborne's intro, this is a silent movie. :rolleyes:

That is unfortunate that Robert in passing referred to Bulldog as a silent film (perhaps he was thinking of the 1922 version).  At least Mr. Curtis mitigated that later by discussing how William Cameron Menzies was able to place the microphones on the set to avoid "clustering" the actors.

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That is unfortunate that Robert in passing referred to Bulldog as a silent film (perhaps he was thinking of the 1922 version).  At least Mr. Curtis mitigated that later by discussing how William Cameron Menzies was able to place the microphones on the set to avoid "clustering" the actors.

 

He's supposed to be a historian which is part of why he's getting the first Menzies Award which is obviously what led to a Menzies festival. Yet his very first reference to a Menzies movie was in error. And he could not have been thinking of the 1922 film as he referred to this as a 1929 film in the very same sentence in which he called it a silent film. I find it less unfortunate and more of an embarrassment. Errors such as this are becoming much more frequent.

 

Yes, Mr. Curtis made that reference, but that only underscores the sloppiness of someone at TCM. Mr. Curtis has his own book to refer to, what is the research staff looking at?

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He's supposed to be a historian which is part of why he's getting the first Menzies Award which is obviously what led to a Menzies festival. Yet his very first reference to a Menzies movie was in error. And he could not have been thinking of the 1922 film as he referred to this as a 1929 film in the very same sentence in which he called it a silent film. I find it less unfortunate and more of an embarrassment. Errors such as this are becoming much more frequent.

 

Yes, Mr. Curtis made that reference, but that only underscores the sloppiness of someone at TCM. Mr. Curtis has his own book to refer to, what is the research staff looking at?

 

Clore,

 

Just to clarify, I'm not disagreeing with your points or trying to excuse the inaccuracies.  I suspect that when they tape these intros (especially ones that have a guest), they probably try to avoid reshoots if at all possible so they can finish them in one sitting.  This would lead to a "good enough" attitude especially with time and budget constraints.

 

I'm having trouble remembering details about the movies I've seen (I would be lost without IMDB and Wikipedia), so I can't imagine how Robert still seems to be pretty sharp on the films he has seen/discussed in his lifetime.  My point was that even though Robert had said "1929," in his mind he might have been thinking of the 1922 silent version.  We can't really know what he was thinking without asking him.

 

Perhaps there should be on ongoing corrections/clarification topic in the forums (or facebook, etc.) where such information could be posted.  As you say, though, at some point this might be viewed as more embarrassing than helpful.

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all apologies if i am derailing the thread, but i just have to reiterate how much I really enjoyed the FRIDAY NIGHT SPOTLIGHT- it's been a long time since I watched three films in a row on TCM, and the night's line-up was one of those times where the films complimented one another so well...

 

which kind of segues me into CHANDU THE MAGICIAN, which- in spite of a lag around the middle- was really an utter ball to watch, and the MVP of said ball was hands-down LUGOSI, who- until Margaret Hamilton in THE WIZARD OF OZ seven years later- held the World Record for MOST MILKED OUT OF LESS THAN TEN MINUTES SCREEN TIME BY AN ACTOR.

 

I know Lugosi returned as CHANDU, but honestly, who among us would not rather have seen a whole series of ROXOR films?

 

If we- as a planet- ever someday fall within the grasp of a despotic madman, we should be thankful to God every day that it should be someone with as much style and panache, as much charisma and eclat as

ROXOR: THE ALMIGHTY.

 

roxor-by-paul.png

 

A man who can convey authority, even though he is kind of dressed like Bea Arthur as Maude. Someone who just loves doing what they do, even if that thing is world domination. Oh, to be barked at and ordered to obey by such a breath of fresh air as Roxor would be a Utopia- the likes of which we shall likely not see in this lifetime.

 

ROXOR/CHENEY 2016

BECAUSE WE HAVE A DEATH RAY, THAT'S WHY.

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