austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Smell Like I Sound

The Notorious Lone Wolf resumes the Lone Wolf series with a four-week-long scene at the airport in which Jameson (Eric Blore), Inspector Crane (William Davison), and supernumeries explain how even though it's been four years absolutely nothing has changed about former jewel thief Michael Lanyard, which should make clear to anyone who missed it that they changed the actor for the Lone Wolf. Up till now he's been played by Warren William; now, it's Gerald Mohr. That name may not mean much to non-old-time-radio fans, but Mohr played about half of all the detectives in the golden days of radio, so he can step into this part and be tolerably convincing. There's also a lot of talk about how Lanyard and Jameson haven't seen one another in four years and he's been out of the country, which seems inconsistent with earlier entries in the series.

Lanyard wants to spend time with his girlfriend, whom he hasn't seen in four years and is new to the audience, but circumstance conspires against him: the overly helpful maid Olga, for one (she's dispatched to a few romantic scenes with Jameson, following the formula), and a radio phone survey, and Inspector Crane comes to investigate the theft of the Shalimar Sapphire. Lanyard sensibly points out he's been in the country just long enough to get to his girlfriend's and knew nothing of the Sapphire, and refrains from mentioning the last 400 times he was accused of theft he was innocent and found the guilty party. Eventually Lanyard is forced to investigate because his girlfriend's sister Edith thinks her boyfriend is dropping her for a nightclub dancer. At the nightclub the Vaguely Arabian Sultan and Vizier who lost the emerald are waiting for an (undelivered) information drop on the stone, and Lanyard gets suspected of being responsible for it after all. But it gets a bit of music into the show, too.

With the stuff about a Sheik and his Vizier there's all sorts of room for embarrassing racial gags, and, they're always lurking around just ready to happen but not quite getting there. Lanyard and Jameson impersonate the Vizier and the Sheik, and use this to pull off an investigation that works mostly because the characters in this level of movie are more interested in going through with the plot than in having anything that makes actual sense, and are aided by how there's just the one jeweler in all New York City which keeps the number of false leads down, so it won't surprise you to know the actual Sheik and Vizier spend considerable time kidnapped on flimsy grounds. There's some ingenuity involved here, particularly in the use of one of those fancy new Army Surplus walkie-talkies, but it's mostly content to be the kind of movie that lets the audience not pay close attention.

The case of Edith and her boyfriend goes wholly unresolved, or even mentioned after the nightclub scene, as if everyone forgot this was part of the plot. That gives a pretty good sense what the tone of the movie is.

Trivia: The United States vs Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola was the second court case to open under the pure food and drugs laws of 1906. It opened in court 13 March 1911. Source: The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug, Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K Bealer.

Currently Reading: In The Country Of Brooklyn: Inspiration To the World, Peter Golenbock.

Tags: lone wolf, movies, pulp heroes

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