austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

I'm Lost In A Crowd

The Lone Wolf In London is the next of the postwar Lone Wolf movies, again with Gerald Mohr as Lone Wolf Michael Lanyard, and Eric Blore back as Jameson. It opens in London again, only this time it was Jameson who was in Britain throughout the war, contradicting the previous movie and the movies made during the war. Clearly the only explanation is a multiplicity of alternate B-movie timelines to be merged at some future Crisis on Infinite Wolves.

There's been a jewel theft, of course, and Scotland Yard assume it's got to be the Lone Wolf, who drops in to say how he's looking for just those missing stones. He's writing a book, you see, about the great gems of the world, and is all done except for this, and he hasn't got anything about them.

The excuse used to, at great length, get Lanyard into investigating the theft is that he's now broke after all the expense gone to in researching his book, and Jameson's savings as a war worker in the British Isles were lost to gambling debts, and the publisher won't give an advance given Scotland Yard's suspicions, which seems pretty snotty of them considering he has to have been broke before the jewels were stolen just the previous scene.

Lanyard gets hired as intermediate to pawn some jewels for an aristocrat in diminished circumstances, without identifying the aristocrat, and knows that can't possibly end well for him. But he takes it anyway, and goes wandering through the city not looking for anything particular, which ultimately gives Jameson a couple of scenes to do a romance plot, and gives Lanyard the clues he'll need for the jewel thing. Meantime there's a diversion into a London pawn broker, who's Chinese, possibly because that was the actor they had on set that day, possibly because the combination makes Bruce the Chinese pawn broker in London oddly individual enough not to feel like a stereotype.

After what amounts to a lot of setup we finally plunge into some moderately interesting action, people shuffling around a couple of sets and people getting shot and police approaching Lanyard while he points out not only hasn't he got the jewels but he's been under surveillance by police the whole time. There's a lot of shuffling back and forth until Lanyard finally reveals the solution, partly in a nicely proper drawing room, with a solution that as best I can tell has to have been derived from his own genre-awareness rather than anything that's been shared with the audience, and partly in a dressing-room confrontation where he got the answer from, again, I think, just knowing how this sort of movie turns out.

The climactic scene --- at the aptly named London Airport, by the way --- works pretty well, as long as you don't pay attention to how the timing of it could only work if Lanyard had the power to foresee the future in precise detail. But I was pleasantly surprised that a character I had fingered as extra or just dropped actually turned out to be important.

Lanyard pretty well calls it, ``a series of well-planned miracles by my uncommonly brilliant collaborator, Claudius Augustus Lucius Jameson'', except they left out the planning part.

Trivia: Admiral Sir John Byng, the only British admiral ever executed for cowardice, was shot 14 March 1757 on the quarterdeck of the Monarque, a captured French warship in Portsmouth Harbour. Source: To Rule The Waves: How The British Navy Shaped The Modern World, Arthur Herman.

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

PS: Introducing a Very Small Number, by which I mean ε, and also a little bit about this fellow Cauchy.

Tags: lone wolf, movies, pulp heroes
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