Lone Wolf and Blore

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A classic Langian image — the phantom technological interrogator!

Since our friend Marvelous Mary is perhaps the western world’s most passionate fan of Eric Blore, but depends for her supply entirely upon us, I thought it was time we all tried the LONE WOLF series, in which EB co-stars as Jamison, faithful valet to the Lone Wolf himself, Michael Lanyard, played by Warren William and later Gerald Mohr.

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Naturally, we started not at the beginning, with THE LONE WOLF SPY HUNT (though WW’s first Wolf movie is rumoured to be the best, Blore does not appear, so it CAN’T BE) but with sort-of the end, WW’s final entry, PASSPORT TO SUEZ. Apart from the two movies directed by Edward Dmytryk, which we’ll definitely watch out for, it’s the only entry in the series with a top-notch (or second-from-top-notch) director (OK, the very first film treatment of Louis Joseph Vance’s detective hero, in 1917, was directed by Herbert Brenon, kind of a major figure, and Roy William Neill, before he tackled Sherlock Holmes, directed THE LONE WOLF RETURNS in 1935 with Melvyn Douglas, who did not return). But this one is the work of that cyclopean pirate, Andre de Toth.

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Mr. Veronica Lake the bullet-headed Hungarian directs nimbly, and the breathless comings and goings of the plot — a new eccentric character actor introduced and despatched every ten minutes — kept our attention glued. Warren William, always more a Starving Lion than a Lone Wolf, is suitably suave and unflappable. And, best of all, flapping enough for two, there’s abundant Blore, as Lanyard’s timorous, ovine accomplice, continually abducted and trussed up, delivering himself of several of the lines he was born to say:

“I hope you don’t think this is my favourite form of recreation, sir.”

“This is the very rope he tied me up with. Lovely lovely! There are moments when a man’s felicity reaches its zenith.”

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The script throws in characters called Rembrandt, Cezanne and Whistler, just for a laugh, waiting for somebody to notice.

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Memorable scene where a grinning man comes out of a wall. He continues to grin until shot, a couple of scenes later, and he’s very arresting, but I didn’t recognise him as Jay Novello, so good as the drunken mayor in WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR, DADDY?

The support includes Ann Savage, Lloyd Bridges (as a Nazi called Fritz!) and Sig Arno. Or, put another way…

PASSPORT TO SUEZ stars Perry Mason; Mother; Sir Alfred McGlennan Keith; J. Edgar Hoover; Steve McCroskey; Phillip Musgrave; Geoffrey Musgrave; Jake Bjornsen; Mayor Romano; Smoke; Frances Chan; Carrefour; and Toto.

10 Responses to “Lone Wolf and Blore”

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

    J’Adore Blore!

  2. Fiammetta Cesana Says:

    Hello David, I hope you are very well !
    I am writing to you today on the behalf of the magazine I work for as feature editor. We’d love to publish a review by you.
    If you are interested in this collaboration, I can give you all the details via email about our publication (printed and online based).
    All my best!
    Fiammetta

  3. Fiona Watson Says:

    Mary will have to fight me for the title of the Western World’s Most Passionate Blore Fan. Whady’a say Mary? Crochet hooks at dawn?

  4. I forgot to mention that this movie was all the more suited to Mary’s tastes since it includes secret codes transmitted by lacemaking.

  5. crochet ! crochet! not lacemaking… aside from that technical textile fact… What was that delightful line… ‘Don’t you know there’s rationing?’ and excessive amount of rope… and the other one escapes me… I think Fiona has far exceeded me in Bloire knowledge I’m trailing far behind…

  6. Oh yes, Blore is complaining about always getting tied up. “Where do they get the rope? Don’t they have rationing?”

    They call it lace, though, don’t they? I guess the filmmakers were as vague about crafting as I am.

  7. bensondonald Says:

    I trust you’re aware Eric Blore voiced Toad in Disney’s “Ichabod and Mr. Toad” (or “Wind in the Willows” as that segment was titled for separate release). The film also featured Basil Rathbone as narrator. Rathbone made a posthumous vocal appearance in “The Great Mouse Detective”, when a few lines from a radio performance were attached to an off-camera Sherlock Holmes.

  8. I’ve never seen BasilTGMD, and always wondered if I should…

    Yes, Ichabod is one of Blore’s last perfs, I think. He’s perfect Toad casting, of course.

    Just watched another Lone Wolf, Dmytryk’s Countyer-Espionage, with Lloyd Bridges as a Nazi spy AGAIN.

    Blore: “This is no time for PERSIFLAGE, sir!”

  9. bensondonald Says:

    The Great Mouse Detective is a minor classic, more lively and witty than the post-Walt stodginess that came before and the increasingly hefty blockbusters that followed.

    Barrie Ingram voices Basil as quick-witted and overbearing, but the real star is Vincent Price as comic villain Rattigan. Price pulls out the stops, and the character design and animation keep pace with his performance. Only three songs, none of them intended to empower princesses or sell CDs. Price sings two of them. The background score is by Henry Mancini — his only Disney? — and manages to be funny and appealing in its own right.

    Nerd details: Alan Young, Uncle Scrooge on the original Duck Tales and Rod Taylor’s pal in The Time Machine, voices a mouse toymaker. Candy Candido, who grunted for all Malecifent’s goons in the original Sleeping Beauty, voices a peg-legged bat.

  10. I knew there was a reason I was interested at the time, and Uncle Winnie is it! Next time this appears in a charity shop, I’m snapping it up.

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