Cast & Crew
E. E. Clive
As Captain Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond prepares to marry Phyllis Clavering, she is kidnapped by criminal Mikhail Valdin and his sister, Erena Soldanis. Because Hugh helped send Erena's husband to the gallows, she and Valdin hope to mentally torture Hugh through a series of clues delivered to him on gramophone albums, promising to lead Hugh to Phyllis if Scotland Yard does not interfere. The first clue directs Hugh and his friend Algy Longworth to Anglers Rest, a fisherman's tavern forty miles from Rockingham Lodge, where Hugh lives. Before they leave, Colonel Nielson of Scotland Yard informs them that Valdin and Erena are wanted for swindling an American millionaire and then murdering him. Nielson then disguises himself as a fisherman and trails Hugh. After the next clue leads Hugh to an old building at which he hears Phyllis screaming, he returns to Rockingham Lodge, where the still disguised Nielson meets him. Erena, in a message, then promises Hugh a visit with Phyllis on condition that he return to Anglers Rest. While en route to the tavern, however, Hugh is abducted and taken to the Mere, an old haunted house, where he searches for Phyllis after being left alone. In answer to Valdin's riddle, Hugh pulls on a dog shackle embedded in the basement wall, and gas begins to fill the room as a bound Phyllis is thrown in with him and the couple hears the ticking of a bomb. As Erena and Valdin escape the house, Nielson and the police finally arrive and arrest them. Meanwhile, Hugh's faithful valet Tenny saves him, Algy and Phyllis before the Mere explodes. Nielson then reveals himself behind his disguise and Tenny loses Hugh's marriage license in the wind, after which everyone goes after it.
E. E. Clive
J. Carrol Naish
C. L. Sherwood
A. E. Freudeman
Edward T. Lowe
William C. Mellor
Bulldog Drummond Comes Back
Bulldog Drummond Comes Back begins with Captain Drummond (John Howard) putting the finishing touches on a poem he's written for the new love of his life, Phyllis Clavering (Louise Campbell), while his man Tenny (E.E. Clive) looks on disdainfully. Tenny disapproves of Drummond falling for someone because he knows that Drummond leads a life of adventure and a wife might not be able to keep up. When Phyllis arrives and Drummond heads out for an appointment, Tenny tells her just that. She resolves to convince Tenny she can take as much as adventure as they can give. Meanwhile, Drummond's appointment, Algy Longworth (Reginald Denny), has been taken at gunpoint by Mikhail Valdin (J. Carrol Naish) and back at the house, Tenny's been knocked out and Phyllis taken hostage by Irena Soldanis (Helen Freeman). It seems that Irena's husband was sent to the gas chamber thanks to Drummond and now she will have Drummond, Tenny and Algy follow a series of clues that may or may not lead them to Phyllis but which will almost certainly lead them all to their death. Helping them without their knowledge is Drummond's friend Colonel Neilson (John Barrymore) of Scotland Yard. Since Irena's instructions are clear, that Phyllis will be killed if the police get involved, Neilson, knowing the situation, dons a disguise and keeps close by without a soul recognizing him. But can they figure out the clues and save Phyllis before Irena's plan plays itself out?
Bulldog Drummond Comes Back was directed by Louis King, a director who specialized in quickie entertainments, usually westerns and thrillers, made on an assembly line for public consumption. What that means in today's language is he knew what he was doing behind a camera and the movie doesn't lag for even a second. It may only be 60 minutes long but it packs enough plot and action into those 60 minutes as humanly possible.
John Howard is probably best known to most classic movie fans as the brash brother of former screen Bulldog Drummond, Ronald Colman, in Lost Horizon, also released in 1937. He did a fine job in that but it's here as Bulldog Drummond that Howard shines and seems better suited for the part than his more famous, bigger celebrity predecessors.
The top billing in the movie goes to John Barrymore, returning as Drummond's friend Colonel Neilson from their previous outing, Bulldog Drummond's Revenge. John Barrymore never had the kind of film career that his reputation demanded because he spent most of his time onscreen doing adaptations of stage plays, thinking that was more prestigious than acting in works written directly for the screen. The fact is, in a movie like this, Barrymore seemed perfectly at ease and even got to wear disguises and put on accents. Seeing Barrymore in the Bulldog Drummond movies is seeing Barrymore at his most relaxed and, often, at the top of his cinematic form, though he never would have admitted it.
British amateur sleuths and adventurers have been successful by the dozens for well over a hundred years. Bulldog Drummond has fallen a bit by the wayside in recent years while the sleuths of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle remain popular. If the Bulldog Drummond series from the thirties and forties is any indication, it's a character most people would love to see again, updated and brought into the 21st century. Of course, until then, we've got these, and to see John Howard and John Barrymore in top form, making one of the best Drummond thrillers of the thirties, look no further than Bulldog Drummond Comes Back.
By Greg Ferrara
Bulldog Drummond Comes Back
A pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter on July 28, 1937 announced that Nydia Westman was in this film's cast, although she is not listed in the onscreen credits or in reviews, and could not be identified in the viewed print. A August 4, 1937 Hollywood Reporter news item states that Frank Puglia would be replacing actor J. Carroll Naish, who had another committment, although Naish appears in the final film. Script notes by producer Stuart Walker included in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library state, [the character of Colonel] "Nielson would do better as a "lascar" than as Gin Nose in the limehouse sequence. The disguise is easier to make up convincingly-it is more menacing and more dignified." The script to the film's trailer, referring to the title of Sapper's story on which the film is based, emphasizes that, for the first time, Bulldog Drummond's opponent is a woman, stating: "The female of the species...more deadly than the male!" This film was the second in Paramount's "Bulldog Drummond" series. For more information on the Paramount series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Bulldog Drummond Escapes below. For additional information on other Bulldog Drummond films, consult the entry for Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back below.