Thursday 15 March 2007

The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance (1941) Sidney Salkow

This fourth Warren William Lone Wolf movie starts off with a laugh. A necklace falls onto a cat which walks out of the jewellers right in front of safecracker Michael Lanyard aka the Lone Wolf and Jamison his butler and partner in crime (both retired). In trying to catch it they get caught up in a bank security system and spark off a bet with long term adversary Inspector Crane and his numb brained Sergeant Dickens. Two months salary if Lanyard can keep out of trouble for 24 hours. Needless to say there's not much likelihood of that happening, retired or not. Wherever the Lone Wolf goes there's trouble.

This time there's also Lloyd Bridges who gets held up in the next hotel room while a former private investigator is murdered on the window ledge outside. It all ties up to something or other that Johnny Baker, Bridges's character, has invented and of course there's a girl involved too, a movie star played by June Storey, far better known for the ten westerns she made with Gene Autry. We soon discover that the invention is a extra secure mail car that the government is about to use to transport engraving plates for currency. It's up to Lanyard, Jamison and Gloria Foster, the movie star, to stop the crooks from forcing Baker to crack the safe car.

This one impressed. Warren William isn't as confidently in charge of things this time around but he's still fine. Eric Blore is more restrained and more of a partner, and thus also less annoying and more fun than usual. Similarly the cops are a little more realistic while still keeping very uch true to their characters and that's all to the good. Storey and Bridges don't get much to do, unfortunately, but what little they do get is accomplished enough. Everyone chips in without anyone letting the side down. Probably the best of the first four Lone Wolfs with William and the first one to really compare to his work elsewhere.

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