Blake of Scotland Yard (January 30, 1937)
Released on January 30, 1937: Blake of Scotland Yard battles the evil scientist Scorpion, who has stolen a new destructive death ray.
Directed by Robert F. Hill
Written by Robert F. Hill, William Buchanan and Basil Dickey.
The Actors: Ralph Byrd (Doctor Jerry Sheehan), Herbert Rawlinson (Sir James Blake), Joan Barclay (Hope Mason), Lloyd Hughes (Doctor Marshall, the Scorpion), Dickie Jones (Bobby Mason), Lucille Lund (Duchess), Nick Stuart (Julot), Sam Flint (Chief Inspector Henderson), Gail Newbury (Mimi, policewoman), Jimmy Aubrey (the hag and Baron Poinka), Theodore Lorch (Daggett the butler), George DeNormand (henchman Pedro), Bob Terry (henchman Peyton), William Farrel (Count Basil Segaloff), Frank Wayne (Charles, footman), Dick Curtis (henchman Nicky), Victor Adamson (newsboy), John Bagni (cafe waiter), Bruce Bennett (henchman Adolph), John Elliott (landlord and League of Nations representative), Henry Hall (Scotland Yard Detective), John Harron (Sergeant Dickens), George Morrell (Admiral Blandon), Francis Walker (henchman).
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Directing can be very dangerous!
Robert F. Hill, born in Port Rohen, Ontario Canada in 1886, and by the start of the next century, as Thomas Edison was tinkering with motion pictures, he became a part of the Edison film operation, usually acting as the villain. The tall skinny actor went to Hollywood and worked for Universal, where they discovered that he was an excellent director, able to produce movies ahead of schedule and under budget. When Universal wanted to expand into Japan they sent Hill and his wife. In Japan Hill made friends with an American Consul who told him that when another country built a movie studio in Japan a group of Japanese hoodlums attacked the studio, sending the foreigners packing. This frightened Hill enough that he had a doctor fake a note saying that his wife needed immediate medical attention that she could only get in the U.S. As a result, he returned to the U.S. and Universal sent another director to build the studio in Japan. After completion a group of locals threatened the director and he abandoned the studio, which was then taken over and used by the locals. Back in Hollywood Bob Hill became famous for his movie serials, like this one. Serials were full length motion pictures cut into one-reel segments, shown one at a time each week before the main feature. There was plenty of action, and a 'cliff-hanger' moment at the end of each segment that made it appear that the heroes were in desperate trouble that they might not survive. For this copy the fifteen separate chapters were spliced together into one continuous motion picture. This particular adventure would always be remembered by Hill because it is the one where he got shot in the head! Yup, really. You would think that movie studios would always use blanks in their guns, but they were using real guns with real bullets in this one. During one scene a bullet ricocheted and hit the director in the head.
Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and drizzle lots of warm melted butter on it before you watch as the mysterious and evil Scorpion steals the Death Ray, a fabulous new invention that can blow up a battleship from 170 miles away. Blake from Scotland Yard follows the elusive villain from London to Paris and back, in search of the stolen Death Ray.
Dickie Jones and Herbert Rawlinson
Dickie Jones and Joan Barclay see the Scorpion
Dickie Jones as little Bobby Mason
Herbert Rawlinson as Sir James Blake, of Scotland Yard
Herbert Rawlinson and George Morrell
Herbert Rawlinson title card in Blake of Scotland Yard
Jimmy Aubrey as the old hag in Blake of Scotland Yard
Joan Barclay title card in Blake of Scotland Yard
Joan Barclay close-up from Blake of Scotland Yard
John Bagni as a Paris waiter in Blake of Scotland Yard
John Elliott, Ralph Byrd and Joan Barclay
John Elliott in Blake of the Scotland Yard
Lloyd Hughes title card in Blake of Scotland Yard
Lloyd Hughes in Blake of Scotland Yard
Ralph Byrd and Joan Barclay in disguise at a Paris
Ralph Byrd and Joan Barclay with the death ray
Ralph Byrd title card in Blake of Scotland Yard