Monday, June 11, 2012

Rita's a Spy!!!

This week, we visit one movie that was part of a greater series.  The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939) was just one in a series of films about reformed thief Michael Lanyard.  The series started in the silent era, and continued into the late 1940's.  Among the actors to play Lanyard were Melvyn Douglas, Francis Lederer, and Warren William, who plays Lanyard in our film - his first in a series of 9 films. 

The plot is somewhat convoluted.  Lanyard is being set up by a spy ring, led by Rita Hayworth (as Karen), who want to force him to steal government plans.  The delight here is less the plot and more the byplay between William and Ida Lupino (as Lanyard's love interest Val Carson) and between William and Virginia Weidler (as Lanyard's daughter Patricia - the only Lone Wolf movie in which he HAS a daughter).  

The two women are a riot. Val stalks Michael, trying to get him to make more an emotional commitment to her. At the same time, he is dealing with his rather precocious child. A would-be detective herself, she is thrilled to receive a gift of handcuffs (which she uses to force their butler, Jameson (Leonard Carey) to actually "die" when she "shoots" him).

You may not remember the actual plot of this film, but you will laugh a lot.