austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Stalked in the Forest Too Close to Hide

The Lone Wolf And His Lady brings the Lone Wolf movies to a conclusion, with another new actor (Ron Randell) playing jewel thief Michael ``The Lone Wolf'' Lanyard, and Eric Blore replaced by Alan Mowbray as gentleman's gentleman Jameson. William Frawley at least is thrown in as Inspector Crane, so he's familiar, though not as Crane. Mowbray looks kind of like Blore, but there's just not the good cheer in his performance.

June Vincent stars as Grace Duffy, new police beat reporter for a failing newspaper. After an introduction that actually tries a font joke --- the established reporters haze her with the idea of an eight-point banner headline, and she sees right through it --- and gives you a pretty fair idea what the whole product is like, Duffy and Lanyard kind of meet cute a second time (the first was in a diner, where Jameson refused to let Duffy's girlfriend have a beer and ice cream) and before you know it, the Lone Wolf is writing his memoirs for the newspaper, and also covering a precious jewel's exhibition. A couple lines are put in to try suggesting he still feels the urge to steal diamonds, an odd rogue bit of characterization considering we know the jewel is going to get stolen, he's going to be blamed for it, and so on.

The series made a few attempts at stretching outside the rogue-detective genre into spy-adventure which mostly didn't work. This entry seems to be trying to get into being a journalist-adventure story. But Lanyard isn't a journalist and the attempts to make him sort-of one are too halfhearted to make it a journalist-adventure story, and Grace Duffy fits too snugly in the Temporary Girlfriend post to pull off that part of the story. Wanting to break out of the rather strict confines of the standard Lone Wolf story is admirable, but then so many of the key plot beats are included that the movie ends up ungainly.

Mostly, though, there's not enough of the wit and bounce that made the earliest entries fun. There's a scene near the climax where Lanyard uses his understanding of how jewel cutters work to see through one of those double-crosses which come in scenes near the climax in this sort of film, and if there were more thoughts like that then maybe the movie would be more compelling. As it is, this was the last of the Lone Wolf movies (there was a TV series) and it's not making a case that it should've had more chances.

Trivia: In 1629 investors Sir Fernando Gorges and Captain John Mason divided the region of the Province of Maine which they hoped to colonize between them, using the Piscataqua River as the boundary. Mason named his portion, to the west, New Hampshire; Gorges named his, to the east, New Somersetshire. Source: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein. (And I just learned from Pomfret's Colonial New Jersey: A History of the connection this makes to the towns along the Raritan!)

Currently Reading: Before The Fallout: From Marie Curie To Hiroshima, Diana Preston.

Also, for those interested in the progress of Project Gemini, fifty years ago saw a big decision about the ejection seats, and the first launch schedule, which got kind of near the actual schedule in that eventually, yes, Gemini did launch.

Tags: lone wolf, movies, pulp heroes

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