Noir Lite

“He’s dead! Laminated!”

“This is a job for Michael Lanyard!”

I was hoping to amuse Fiona with the above ribtickling remark, but she just stared, so I put on my best Oliver Hardy voice and said, “You know what a lanyard is, don’t you,” and she laughed loudly, not at me and my wit, but at the memory of Oliver Hardy.

THE LONE WOLF MEETS A LADY is a standard-issue Columbia B pic, efficiently directed by Sidney Salkow with his customary anonymity (I doubt even Harry Cohn could pick him out of a line-up) but it has Warren William, the starving lion, and Eric Blore and whatnot. Something about stolen diamonds.

These things generally start out dull (“I’ve just met these people and already I’m not interested!” I declared, paraphrasing Adam Belinsky) then perk up when the leads appear (WW and EB are a delightful team, you can take Boston Blackie and stick him), then run out of steam midway, revived only by interesting bit players, here Shemp Howard as a burglar with echolalia and Luis Alberni as a Greek laundryman (well within his range).

Blore in full dither.

By the end, having been sleeping irregularly, Fiona was drifting off, and managed to hallucinate a new ending, based on the Lone Wolf’s enthusiasm for winter sports, which is a minor plot point in this one (skis and snowshoes in back of car: the quest refused).

“Oh… what was… oh, was that his crampons?”

Not that crampons are really a winter sports thing, anyway. But I’ve always liked Guy Grand’s conceit in The Magic Christian, of splicing upsetting new shots into classic films to startle the unwary. Fiona has a Guy Grand of the unconscious.

The Sidney Salkow signature shot: a buncha guys standing around in the dark.

THE LONE WOLF MEETS A LADY stars Perry Mason; Sir Alfred MacGlennon Keith; Helena – in love with Demetrius; Oberon – King of the Fairies; Mandrake the Magician; Mr. Bel-Goodie; Bloodgood; Mrs. Truesmith; Florenz Ziegfeld; Bert Pierce; Louis Louis of the Hotel Louis; Walt Spoon; and Shempeth.

4 Responses to “Noir Lite”

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

    I’ve got a Guy Grand editing idea: splice a sequence from the Japanese “Babycart” series — “Lone Wolf and Cub” — into this “Lone Wolf” programmer

  2. I always think of Blore as being WW’s cub, anyway.

  3. Always enjoyed WW’s ability to do cold-blooded sleazes AND goofy mock-Barrymores. Loved his Perry Mason films, which author Erle Stanley Gardner hated. For whatever reason William was replaced by a couple of generic boy scout types. The largely humorless television version was much closer to Gardner’s vision.

    There’s a character for a mystery: A once-serious author made rich by howlingly unfaithful film adaptations of his otherwise obscure work. Would he kill the golden goose? Would he kill to protect it, distancing himself less to evade the law than to preserve his right to gripe about the corruption of his art?

  4. Yes, the Perry Masons are one of the best ‘thirties series. I particularly like their inconsistent casting, with a new Della Street in every film and Allen Jenkins turning up in different parts. The tone also shifts pretty wildly, with some comparatively straight and some out-and-out farces.

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