DEADLIER THAN THE MALE. Rank, UK, 1966. Universal, US, 1967. Richard Johnson (Hugh Drummond), Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Nigel Green, Suzanna Leigh, Steve Carlson. Screenwriters: Jimmy Sangster, David Osborn) & Liz Charles-Williams, based on a original story by Jimmy Sangster and the character Bulldog Drummond created by Herman C. McNeile (as Sapper) & Gerard Fairlie. Directed by Ralph Thomas.

   If my count is correct, there were 22 films between 1922 and 1951 in which Bulldog Drmmond was the leading character. Various actors played the role, with John Howard getting the nod the most often. Others include Ronald Colman, Ray Milland, Tom Conway and Walter Pidgeon. Spurred on by the success of the James Bond films, Deadlier Than the Male was the first of two additional outings for the character in the late 60s; Some Girls Do (1969) was the second.

   By this time, though, I can easily imagine that audiences had more or less forgotten the character. The role played by Richard Johnson could easily have been any debonair insurance investigator. I may be mistaken, but in Deadlier than the Male, I do not believe he is even called “Bulldog” Drummond.

   He’s brought in on the case when a series of accidents have taken out some of the top level executives of various oil companies. Responsible, although he doesn’t know it at first, are two eye-catching female assassins (Elke Summer, she of the cantilevered bikini, and almost as luscious Sylvia Koscina). But even with such eye candy on hand, the story doesn’t really get into high gear until Drummond’s arch enemy Carl Peterson reveals himself as the man behind the killings.

   In spite of all the action that takes place in the last thirty minutes, I found the overall product only semi-satisfactory at best. As I mentioned earlier, there was a sequel, so this first of the two must have done all right, but unless someone can tell me otherwise, the adventures of Bulldog Drummond essentially ended with the second of the pair, content perhaps as being the model and/or inspiration for the many other characters of derrng-do who followed in his footsteps.



NOTE: For Dan Stumpf’s much more personal take on this film, posted on this blog almost nine years ago, go here.