Arrest Bulldog Drummond (January 11, 1939)
Released January 11, 1939: A mad scientist has invented a machine that will cause anything it is aimed at to exploder, and only Bulldog Drummond can keep it out of the hands of evil.
Directed by James P. Hogan
Written by Stuart Palmer from the book by Herman C. McNeile.
The Actors: John Howard (Captain Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond), Heather Angel (Phyllis Clavering), H.B. Warner (Colonel Nielsen), Reginald Denny (Algy Longworth), E.E. Clive (Tenny), Jean Fenwick (Lady Beryl Ledyard), Zeffie Tilbury (Aunt Meg), George Zucco (Rolf Alferson), Leonard Mudie (Richard Gannett), Evan Thomas (Smith), Clyde Cook (Constable Sacker), David Clyde (Constable McThane), George Regas (Soongh), Neil Fitzgerald (Sir Malcolm McLeonard), Claud Allister (Sir Basil Leghorn), Jimmy Aubrey (Steward), Frank Baker (cop), Kathryn Bates (tourist), Billy Bevan (aquarium guard), Dolores Casey (bit part), Steve Clemente (native buying a rifle), Neil Craig (tourist), Sheila Darcy (bit part), John Davidson (Gumba the bird seller), Harold Garrison (native boy with message), Forrester Harvey (constable at the Gannett house), Grace Hayle (tourist), Olaf Hytten (the Island Police arresting Sergeant), Eugene Jackson (hotel page boy), Frank Lackteen (hotel page boy), Hercules Mendez (foreign agent), Ferdinand Munier (Old Major Trumleigh), Gerald Rogers (Island Police desk sergeant), John Rogers (Guggins, the scrawny henchman), Ruth Rogers (maid), Sam Savitsky (foreign agent), John Sutton (Inspector Tredennis).
"Bulldog" Drummond movies began in 1922 and continued for thirty years as one of the first successful hero-serials in England, long before there was a 'James Bond.' Drummond is a wealthy man about town, with girlfriend Phyllis who along with her maiden aunt Meg try their best to get Phyllis married to Drummond, usually failing. In many of the episodes Phyllis and her aunt provide the comic relief as Bulldog Drummond saves the world, but in this episode, Phyllis plays a major part in the plot.
Our movie opens on the evening before their wedding. Some nut has been sending cryptic messages to the police and the newspapers about a mysterious 'stinger' that everyone should beware of. The notes are finally traced to an eminent electrical engineer that has quit his work and disappeared. As Drummond's best friend Algy (Reginald Denny) arrives to pick Drummond up for the bachelor party, he give Drummond a note that came to him from the 'Earl of Destiny' saying that the world is about to end, and only the note writer can save it from destruction. Drummond and Algy decide to stop over at the writer's home before heading to the bachelor party. They discover that all of the electric lights in the area are flickering, and then there is a great explosion. When they get into the electrical genius's apartment, they find him dead, next to a strange machine. As the scientist is dying, he murmers, "Look out for the stinger." As Drummond is pondering the saying, the police arrive and arrest Drummond and Algy for murder. At the police, Colonel Nielsen, who Drummond always refers to as 'Inspector' instead of 'Colonel', lets them go, but tells them to stay away from this case. Of course Drummond must snoop about every mystery that he encounters, and when they return to the electrical engineer's apartment to investigate again, the strange machine that was next to the dead scientist is gone, without a trace.
The next meaningful plot element is a note that is mysteriously attached to the back of Drummond's coat warning Drummond that if he pursues this mystery, someone very close to him may be in danger. Drummond is on the way to the church when he discovers the note, and immediately knows that it means his fiance Phyllis is the threatened one. He visits Phyllis and her aunt where they are preparing for the wedding, informing them that the wedding is off, and that she and her aunt should go on the round-the-world honeymoon trip aboard an ocean liner leaving in the morning. Drummond later discovers that the evil foreign agent in control of the mysterious death machine is on board the ship with Phyllis and her aunt, but in trying to board the ship he struggles with a villain and both go into the ocean, presumed washed out to sea and drowned. Meanwhile, on board ship, the evil foreign agent with the strange machine of death forms a friendship with Phyllis and her aunt, with evil plans in mind.
Has Bulldog Drummond died at sea, leaving his fiance and her aunt to suffer the consequences of the evil foreign agent? Will Phyllis and her aunt fall prey to the evil man with the machine of death? Will the evil foreign agent sell the machine of death to a foreign government that will use it to destroy England? Pop your corn, grab a chilled soda and enjoy a great detective mystery from the grand land of England with Bulldog Drummond, Algy and Phyllis.