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Classic Mystery Collection: 7 Features [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Bulldog Drummond's Revenge
In the fourth of Paramount's "Bulldog Drummond" action-thrillers, the intrepid adventurer (John Howard) makes the grizzly discovery of a severed hand. Even more startling, attached to the wayward limb is a case filled with hextonite, a new and highly explosive substance desired by the enemy in general and one Draven Nogais (Frank Puglia) in particular. With his faithful servant, Tenny (E.E. Clive), fiancée Phyllis Clavering (Louise Campbell), and friend Algy Longworth (Reginald Denny) along for the ride, Captain Drummond trails the villain on board a train leaving Victoria Station for Paris. At first, the wily Nogais manages to elude his pursuers by disguising himself as a woman, but his plans to escape with the explosives are halted on the ferryboat to France. Despite the relative brevity of his role as Scotland Yard inspector Neilson, John Barrymore earned star billing in this series entry, which was based on H.C. "Sapper" McNeile's 1932 novel The Return of Bulldog Drummond. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Doomed to Die
In his final "Mr. Wong" mystery, Boris Karloff solves the case of who killed shipping magnate Cyrus P. Wentworth (Melvin Lang). Wentworth's flagship "The Wentworth Castle" had tragically caught on fire with a tremendous loss of life. Near suicidal, the shipping tycoon is helped into the next world by persons unknown but dunderhead police captain Bill Street (Grant Withers) points the finger at Dick Fleming (William Stelling), the son of a rival tycoon and in love with Wentworth's daughter Cynthia (Catherine Craig). Promising to eat his hat if young Fleming isn't the killer, Street can only watch as enterprising cub reporter Bobby Logan (Marjorie Reynolds) assigns Mr. Wong (Karloff) to solve the case. Which the eminent Oriental sleuth does to the point where Bobby can gleefully add salt to Street's less than edible headgear. The burning of the fictional "Wentworth Castle" was actual footage from the infamous 1934"Morro Castle" fire, a tragedy that took the lives of 137 passengers. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shock!
In this thriller, psychiatrist Dr. Cross (Vincent Price) kills his wife and expects to get away with murder, until he discovers that the slaying was observed by a next-door neighbor, Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw). As Janet attempts to convince her husband (Frank Latimore) of the doctor's dastardly deed, Cross shows up to advise him that Janet is in dire need of some in-depth counseling. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

Dick Tracy, Detective
Dick Tracy, Detective (originally just Dick Tracy) was the first of four RKO Radio B-pictures based on Chester Gould's classic comic strip. Though Ralph Byrd is most closely associated with the role of Tracy, the title character is played herein by Morgan Conway (Byrd would be seen as Tracy in the last two series entries). The jut-jawed detective takes on a vicious criminal named Splitface (Mike Mazurki), who upon escaping from jail vows to murder the jurors who found him guilty and their alternates. He manages to knock off three before the police force figures out what's happening. Galvanized into action, Dick Tracy and his partner Pat Patton (Lyle Latell) track Splitface to a deserted riverboat (a leftover set from the 1945 RKO feature Man Alive) where the villain is holding Tracy's girlfriend Tess Truehart (Anne Jeffreys) and adopted son Junior (Mickey Kuhn) captive. When asked about Dick Tracy Detective in 1990, Anne Jeffreys flatly denied she'd ever played Tess Trueheart until she caught up with the film on videotape. She'd completely forgotten the whole experience. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

British Intelligence
Though set during WW1, British Intelligence was obviously thrown together to capitalize on the outbreak of WW2. A remake of the 1930 espionager Three Faces East, the film stars Boris Karloff as Valder, the sinister butler of a British cabinet minister. It is quite possible that Valder is a German spy, and equally likely that the mysterious Helene von Lorbeer (Margaret Lindsay) is likewise working for the enemy. In fact, the audience is never quite certain who the good guys and bad guys really are until the climax, which takes place during a German zeppelin raid of London. As a balm to 1940 audiences, the film includes an early comedy scene in which German military protocol is upset by a clumsy corporal (Willy Kaufman) who bears a startling resemblance to a certain Nazi dictator. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bulldog Drummond's Peril
Though John Barrymore is top-billed in Bulldog Drummond's Peril, the aging matinee idol is consigned to the supporting role of Inspector Nielsen. Drummond is portrayed by John Howard; once more, he is on the verge of marrying the ever-patient Phyllis Clavering (Louise Campbell). And yet again, the ceremony is interrupted by a late-breaking crime. The villains this time are trying to steal synthetic diamonds. Bulldog Drummond's Peril was the 5th in Paramount's B-picture "Drummond" series. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bulldog Drummond Escapes
Paramount's "Bulldog Drummond" series got off to a start with 1937's Bulldog Drummond Escapes. Up-and-coming Ray Milland stars as soldier-of-fortune Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond, who on this occasion comes to the aid of pretty heiress Phyllis Clavering (Heather Angel). The heroine is being held against her will by scheming "family friend" Merridew (Porter Hall), who hopes to get his mitts on her inheritance. With the help of his silly friend Algy (Reginald Denny) and Scotland Yard inspector Nielsen (Sir Guy Standing), Drummond manages to rescue Phyllis several times -- and, reciprocally, is rescued by her on one occasion. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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