(director: Louis King; screenwriters: Edward T. Lowe/ character created with the 1920 novel Bulldog Drummond by writer H.C. McNeile; cinematographer: William C. Mellor; editor: James Smith; music: Boris Morros; cast: John Barrymore (Colonel Nielson), John Howard (Capt. Hugh Drummond),  Louise Campbell (Phyllis Clavering), Reginald Denny (Algy Longworth), E. E. Clive (Tenny), J. Carrol Naish (Mikhail Valdin), Helen Freeman (Erena Soldanis), Zeffie Tilbury (Zeffie), John Sutton (Sanger); Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stuart Walker; Criterion Collection; 1937-UK-B/W)

“Far from anything special.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The great John Barrymore seems to be having fun slumming in this B-film crime drama, that’s set in London. It’s adequately filmed by American director Louis King (“Sand”/”Frenchie”) and is written by Edward T. Lowe, but it’s far from anything special. It’s based on the 1920 book by H.C. ‘Sapper’ McNeile.

Phyllis Clavering (Louise Campbell) is the fiancee of Captain Hugh Drummond (John Howard). She’s been kidnapped by the crazed looking oriental Mikhail Valdin (J. Carrol Naish) and being held captive by his wicked rhyming crazy sister, Irena Soldanis (Helen Freeman). She’s seeking revenge on Drummond for capturing her criminal husband that led to his execution.

Even though warned by the kidnappers for Drummond to not get his Scotland Yard inspector friend, Col. Nielson (John Barrymore), involved or they will kill Phyllis, Nielson involves himself disguised as an old fisherman after Drummond follows a riddle that takes him forty miles from town to Anglers Rest. Also tailing along with Drummond are his adventurous valet Tenny (
E. E. Clive) and bumbling loyal friend, a recent father, Algy Longworth (Reginald Denny).

Drummond is abducted and taken to the Mere, an old haunted house, where he finds Phyllis, and is trapped there with Algy. How Drummond gets free and escapes the time bomb about to go off leads to the climax, that I forgot even before it happened.

      Barrymore, Louise Campbell, and John Howard in Bulldog Drummond
      Comes Back (1937)

REVIEWED ON 8/17/2020  GRADE: B-