Friday, March 27, 2015

Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939)


The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt had so much potential. That is something I hate about films sometimes when they have the potential to be good and it is wasted. There are so many reasons why The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt had potential: a cracksman turned “spy-smasher” as the poster claims; Warren William, Ida Lupino, and Rita Hayworth; and some good comedic moments. And all of that fell flat.
            I did pay attention to the story when it began. But as soon as it got a tad bit boring my ADHD kicked in and my mind wandered mercilessly. That happens and it cannot be helped. Well actually it could if I kept my phone away from me so I am not tempted to scroll through Tumblr. Anyway, blah blah blah, here is what I got out of the story when I did manage to focus on it only because Tumblr was not loading.
             On a rainy night Michael Lanyard (Warren William) meets two men out on the street. The men put a blind fold on him and walk him into a house to an office. He is placed in front of a man at a desk in a dark room in order for the man behind the desk to remain unknown. The man behind the desk tells Michael he has a job for him opening a safe and he will be paid ten thousand dollars. Michael refuses and they let him leave. The man behind the desk is Jameson (*at least I think that is the correct character. Seriously my brain did not want to fully pay attention*). He is looking to steal plans from the military. Jameson intends on framing Michael because apparently he has an old score to settle with Michael. Jameson has one of his men smoke another type of cigarette for the night before they go off to steal the plans.
            The following morning detectives are called to the Department of War where the plans have been stolen. The detectives reveal that there are only two men who can crack a safe like the one that was broken into and only one of them smokes the brand that was found on the floor and that man is Michael Lanyard aka The Lone Wolf. The detective cannot wait to finally put Michael behind bars.
            When Michael comes home he is greeted by his very upset and very pissed off girlfriend Val Carson (Ida Lupino). Michael left Val that afternoon to go off with a blonde woman and stuck her with the tab. Not long after his return and subsequent lecture from Val, the detectives arrive to speak to Michael. He tells them about the blonde he went out with that afternoon for his alibi. His alibi winds up backfiring because the blonde comes to the house and Val threatens her pretty well.
            Val literally drags Michael to a bar after she put handcuff on the two of them so he would not run away so they can talk. Again Michael’s eye wanders over to a young woman at the bar who is staring at him like she knows him. The young woman named Karen (Rita Hayworth) comes over to the table and gives the story that they had done a job together in Budapest a few years previously. He leaves with Karen to discuss business much to Val’s frustration. Turns out Karen tricked Michael into coming with her to crack a safe that Jameson wants open. It is all part of Jameson’s plan to frame Michael.
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            I did not write down in my handy dandy notebook where I take notes on the films I watch what happened at the end. I thought I would remember what happened but I do not. Just know everything is fine, Michael manages to get out of his jam using his intelligence and with some help from Val.
            The cast was not bad. Warren William I just love seeing in films. Put it this way, if I was alive back in thirties William would have been my older actor crush and I would have had it hard for him. The man was just so charming he was not handsome I just love the way he carried himself. The way I feel about Warren William is the same way I feel about William Powell. Neither man was particularly handsome but I just love their charm and personality. William usually played assholes while Powell played wonderful charming men (yes I know Powell started his career playing bad guys in silents). Ida Lupino, god I feel terrible for her in this film. Val was such an annoying character. I could not stand her at all. I will say Val redeemed herself a little in one scene where she creates a story to help out Michael with the detectives but that is it just one scene she was good in! Thank goodness Lupino would get better roles later not too long after this. Rita Hayworth as the bad guy was great. She was cast perfectly. I loved all her scenes.

            The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt was a letdown. I had been looking forward to watching it for the cast and the story sounds good in writing. Yet another film that had potential and blew that potential sky high. It was interesting to see Ida Lupino and Rita Hayworth in early roles before their careers took off in the 1940s. They were both in their early twenties. Besides the cast The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt is really not that great. Or that could be my ADHD riddled mind and exhaustion talking. I would be willing to give this film another chance at another time when I do not have thirty million things going on at once.
 Image result for the lone wolf spy hunt 1939