Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back


1h 23m 1934

Brief Synopsis

Algy, Bulldog Drummond's right-hand-man, is getting married. Bulldog attends; on the way home, in the fog, he enters the (apparently deserted) mansion of Prince Achmed in search of a phone. He finds none, but he does find a body - which disappears when he summons a bobby. Bodies keep disappearing as Drummond keeps summoning the authorities, particularly his long-suffering upstairs neighbor, Captain Nielsen; the ever faithful Algy also finds his wedding night disrupted by, among other things, some emergency code-breaking. And of course, there's a beautiful woman there's always a beautiful woman in this case, Gwen, who turns out to be the daughter of the dead man who started all this.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 20, 1934
Premiere Information
New York opening: 15 Aug 1934
Production Company
20th Century Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back by H. C. "Sapper" McNeile (New York, 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

English master sleuth Captain Hugh Drummond, known by many as "Bulldog" Drummond, arrives in London from Africa to attend the wedding of his friend Algy. Though Drummond insists on peace and quiet during his stay, inspector Neilsen of Scotland Yard knows that London will be anything but quiet with Drummond in town. Hoping to shed his reputation for attracting clamour and excitement, Drummond promises Neilsen that his sole activity, aside from attending the wedding, will be to go to Sussex to raise Hollyhocks. While walking down a fog-shrouded London street, however, Drummond unwittingly becomes involved in a new caper when he offers assistance to a person lost in the fog. Drummond takes the bewildered stranger to the nearest house, where, after no one answers his knocks, he discovers that the door is unlocked. As soon as Drummond enters the house, he finds the dead body of a middle-aged man slumped on a sofa in front of the fireplace. He immediately calls the police, but when he returns with them, they find the door locked, the fire out and the dead body gone. After they are greeted by Prince Achmed, who denies seeing a corpse in his home, Drummond apologizes for the intrusion and leaves, but later calls on Algy to help him solve the mystery of the disappearing corpse. At Drummond's home, a woman named Lola Field faints at his door, and when she is revived, she tells Drummond that she had been looking for her uncle, who recently arrived with her aboard a ship out of Bombay. Lola tells Drummond that her uncle was instructed by his employer, Prince Achmed, to sell all his possessions and oversee a shipment of mysterious goods to Achmed. He was to go straight from the ship to a hotel operated by Achmed. Drummond suspects foul play and soon learns that Lola's uncle was also supposed to deliver a secret radiogram to Achmed. The trail of evidence leads Drummond, Lola and Algy to Achmed's, where they are held captive until they produce the decoded radiogram. After Algy swallows the radiogram, the police, who have been sent by Nelson to Achmed's home to keep Drummond out of trouble, arrive in time to save the detective. Drummond believes that Achmed's ship, the Bombay Girl , is carrying illicit cargo, and rushes to the vessel to investigate. Meanwhile, Achmed learns that Drummond is nosing around the ship, and offers the sailors a cash reward for Drummond's capture. Drummond, however, eludes capture and sets fire to the ship's cargo, which consists of illegally imported furs. When the police arrive, Drummond produces evidence that Achmed was knowingly importing furs contaminated with cholera. Immediately following Achmed's admission that he put England at risk of infection in order to make a profit, he shoots himself. With the mystery solved, Drummond and Lola, who have fallen in love, are married.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 20, 1934
Premiere Information
New York opening: 15 Aug 1934
Production Company
20th Century Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back by H. C. "Sapper" McNeile (New York, 1933).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The character of Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond was created in 1920 by Herman Cyril McNeile, writing under the pseudonym of "Sapper." In 1921, a stage production of Bulldog Drummond opened in London, with Sir Gerald du Maurier in the title role. The play later had a Broadway engagement, followed by an American tour. According to the Fox legal files, the novel on which this film was based first appeared serially in The Daily Mail, a London newspaper, between 15 February and April 4, 1933. The serialized novel was called Knock Out. It was published in book form in London on April 6, 1933, and in New York on 10 May 1933.
       A Hollywood Reporter pre-production news item noted that although Darryl Zanuck wanted to borrow Myrna Loy from M-G-M for the female lead in this picture, neither M-G-M nor Loy were enthusiastic about the deal after her recent elevation to stardom. A Hollywood Reporter production chart, perhaps intending to credit actress Kathleen Burke, erroneously listed Billie Burke in the cast. The production chart also listed Pedro Regas in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Modern sources list actors Bob Kortman, Edmund Mortimer and Lucille Ball in the cast, and state that the film was made at a cost of $514,152. According to a contemporary New York Times news item, the film was recorded with the use of only one microphone, one control booth and one camera.
       The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains a letter from producer Darryl F. Zanuck to Joseph I. Breen, Director of the Studio Relations Office of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, in which the producer stated that in the characterization of Algy "no audience will be able to see in him a character that could be seriously involved in a sex problem." Zanuck reassured Breen that none of Algy's lines would be delivered "in a manner that May incite the audience to feel that he is a Casanova." Following the release of the film, Breen sent a letter to MPPDA president Will Hays, in which he stated that he thought the film was "an excellent Ronald Colman picture, marred, unfortunately by some objectionable comedy concerning a thwarted bridegroom." In addition to Ronald Colman, who portrayed Drummond in two films, other actors who played the English sleuth include Carlyle Blackwell, Jack Buchanan, Kenneth MacKenna, Ralph Richardson, Ray Milland, Jack Hulbert and John Lodge. Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back was the fifth entry in the Bulldog Drummond series, and the first "Bulldog" production of the 1930s. The character was first introduced on screen in a a 1922 British-produced film entitled Bulldog Drummond, which was directed by Oscar Apfel and starred Carlyle Blackwell and Evelyn Greely. Among the many non-1930s films based on the Bulldog Drummond character are: Bulldog Drummond, a 1929 United Artists film directed by F. Richard Jones and starring Ronald Colman (in his first sound film) and Joan Bennett; Temple Tower, a 1930 Fox film directed by Donald Gallagher and starring Kenneth MacKenna and Marceline Day (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0681 and F2.5552); Columbia Pictures' 1947 film Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (the plot of which bears no resemblence to this film), directed by Frank McDonald and starring Ron Randall and Gloria Henry; Deadlier Than the Male, a 1967 British film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Richard Johnson and Elke Sommer (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.1072); and the 1969 film entitled Some Girls Do, also British-made, directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Richard Johnson and Daliah Lavi. For more information on the Bulldog Drummond films produced in the 1930s, consult the Series Index and see entry above for Bulldog Drummond Escapes.