austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I'm On The Hunt

Counter-Espionage is a curious entry in the Lone Wolf series: it takes Lone Wolf Michael Lanyard and Sidekick Jamison and drops them off in London mid-Blitz. Why? Well, I guess he wanted to hang around with naturally long-lived Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson or something. Look, it's a series of B-movie detective pictures and the Blitz was hot, that's all.

After some muttering about how we-the-Brits are just muddling through and there's this spy ring not being arrested it's agreed the spy ring ought to be smashed. Soon there's an abduction, the theft of the Beam Detector Plans, and everything's soon gone except for an ``L'' ring. Surely, the Lone Wolf must be guilty of this if not for the last 7,000 crimes he was suspected of. And what do you know, but he's in town. And by wild luck, Inspector Crane and Detective Dickens are in town as consultants and just happen to have free time. So everything can carry on with interruptions for air-raid warnings and firefighters putting out rubble.

These movies weren't very long, which has the advantage that necessary stuff can be done without too much time spent making it plausible. Crane et al run into Lanyard in the nearest air-raid shelter, where he's tried flirting with a woman who just happens to be the daughter of the burgled man and fiancee of the abducted man. Lanyard naturally takes the only logical path to clearing his name: swiping a policeman's gun and abducting Scotland Yard's Inspector Stafford.

This is all an efficient way to get himself in good with the real spy ring, of course, who figure Lanyard has the Beam Detector Plans, which makes sense until you wonder who did steal the plans after all? Soon the headlines are out about the Lone Wolf being wanted for murder and espionage and all's in order, with accents and thick fog, with the twist that the audience is plainly shown the document authorizing Lanyard as a top-secret agent for the Crown and so there's trying to figure out who knows this secret and who doesn't. While Lanyard swiftly rounds up the plans he still has to break the spy ring, as the person who signed the secret note about his secret agent stuff died in an automobile accident, which is just what always happens on this sort of thing.

Lanyard's search for where the spy ring was takes him on a blindfolded search of London, attempting to find distinguishing background sounds, while figuring out reasons for police who catch him not to turn him in, that sort of thing. It brings things on a walk through dimly-lit sets while hearing tests go on. But there's also a stuff full of dialogue like, ``He's not as clever as I thought.'' ``There's always a first time, even for the cleverest.'' ``Which is often the last''. Anyway, it all wraps up in a series of double-crosses and fake-outs and clears Lanyard by leaving me confused about just what did happen.

Trivia: During its five years of life, the National Association (baseball's first major league) had 26 different teams in 17 cities, 11 of which failed to last one season. In 1872 five of the eleven teams folded before playing all their scheduled games. Source: Labor and Capital In 19th Century Baseball, Robert P Gelzheiser.

Currently Reading: The Pine Barrens, John McPhee.

PS: Little Enough Differences ... I plunge, maybe unwisely, into a key piece of analysis, because I want to talk about something different from this, but need this to go ahead.

Tags: lone wolf, movies, pulp heroes

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