Plot: What’s it about?
In Bulldog Drummond Escapes, we find the retired Captain Drummond (Ray Milland) has been hired to protect a young heiress (Heather Angel), who also happens to be very beautiful. He is charged to protect her at all costs and he does just that, but in between the fists fights and chases, he finds himself in an unusual predicament. As time has passed, Drummond has fallen in love with this woman, which of course presents all sorts of problems to his mission. But his love for her drives him to be even more protective, which is never a bad thing. Can Drummond fend off a ring of spies, keep his new love safe, and also balance his own emotions? In Bulldog Drummond’s Secret Police, we find Drummond on the trail of a mad scientist, but that isn’t the only issue on his mind. As he chases down this scientist, he thinks about his girlfriend and how he wishes to marry, but he is careful to keep his mind on present tasks. The chase leads to an old eerie castle, loaded with cobwebs, dark shadows, and torture devices. Can Drummond keep his brain on task as he is thrust into a myriad of dreams and danger?
This is a very cool double feature release, which is light on the extras, but come on folks, you’re getting double the flicks, right? I’d never seen either of these, but at the insistence of my father, I gave them a spin and I am pleased that I did. I was impressed with the storylines and characters a lot, which is a compliment when the films run just over/under an hour in length. As I am sure some of you know, these are part of a series of films with Drummond as the lead, so I assume some character work is established in the previous efforts as well. But even so, these both work well as stand alone pieces also, as I had fun watching them. I do think the time issue makes them feel a little compressed at times, but that keeps the pace up and that matters in films such as these. I didn’t care much for Ray Milland’s (Frogs, Aces High) turn as Drummond, but John Howard (Lost Horizon, Green Hell) is terrific and as a result, his picture is the better of the two. Howard assumed the role many times and perhaps that is why he excels here, thanks to the experience. In the end, this release is a good one for of the series, who can pick up two solid installments for one low price, very recommended.
Video: How does it look?
Each film is presented in the original full frame aspect ratio and despite their age (1937/1939), these movies still look good. Of course, these films don’t appear in pristine form, but I was pleased with the sharpness present and the prints look clean indeed. Some nicks, debris, grain, and other flaws are present at times, but nothing like what I had expected. Given the age of these materials, I think these transfer represent the best the flicks have looked on home video. The black levels seem well balanced at all times also, which of course is crucial to any black & white film. I think Bulldog Drummond’s Secret Police looks better, but both are very well presented here.
Audio: How does it sound?
Both films use their original mono tracks, which more than handle the basic needs of the material. Aside from some very simple sound effects and infrequent musical cues, the dialogue dominates the audio presence, which is how it should be. But those other elements need to sound good also and here, they sound as good as you could expect. You won’t be too impressed, but the track is clean and clear enough to finish the task at hand. I have no real complaints with the audio on these films, aside from some age related issues that don’t lessen the tracks much.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.