THE LONE WOLF SPY HUNT. Columbia, 1939. Warren William (Michael Lanyard), Ida Lupino, Rita Hayworth, Virginia Weidler, Ralph Morgan. Screenplay by Jonathan Latimer, based on the novel Red Masquerade (Doubleday, 1921) by Louis Joseph Vance. Director: Peter Godfrey. Shown at Cinevent 26, Columbus OH, May 1994.

   Warren William is, as I have pointed out before, one of the great favorites of film convention audiences (both Cinevent and Cinefest), so his stint in The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt was eagerly awaited by the conventioneers. Well, everybody has an off day, and it appeared to me that Williams’ dapper suavity was showing its age and formulaic quality here.

   He was not helped by co-star Ida Lupino, an intelligent actress requited to throw ignored girl friend fits that were noisy but sour rather than funny or wry. Lupino was uneven as an actress, sometimes betrayed by her natural ability to command attention whatever she did, even when it seemed out of key with the movie.

   Virginia Weidler was arch as Williams’s precocious daughter (a role she patented in The Philadelphia Story), although the writer of the program notes thought her “delightful.” A reminder that not all “B” movies were little gems.