Sunday, September 30, 2007

Barbara Mertz; The Lone Wolf's Spy Hunt

Happy belated birthday to Barbara Mertz a/k/a Elizabeth Peters. One of the nicest and most talented writers our genre has ever produced.

While I was reading through some research books yesterday I made the mistake of turning on Turner Class Movies. The first thing I saw was a speeding car an the flame of a gun fired from the shadows. I'm thinking 1930s. So much for research.

Fortunately for me the picture had been running only a few minutes because it turned out to be The Lone Wolf's Spy Hunt written by Johnathan Latimore and featuring two very young starlets named Ida Lupino and Rita Hayworth.

Warren William who was so bad as Perry Mason is just as bad here. I know he's supposed to be dashing and debonair but he's always struck me as too stolid for that. I'm probably being unfair (no way, Ed, you unfair?) because he reminds me of Basil Rathbone or Nasal Rathbone as Mad once referred to him. That carefully considered delivery as if the lines are being fed to them through an earpiece.

The plot has to do with goverment plans for a secret airplane. The plot, of course, doesn't matter much. The dialogue is what propels it and Latimore's good at it.

The centerpiece is the eye candy. I wouldn't have thought it possible for Ida Lupino to warrant as much attention as Rita Hayworth but...Lupino is so cute and pretty and fetching as the dippy daughter of a U.S. Senator--so adept at fast drama-queen patter--that even given Rita's regal beauty, she steals scenes from Hayworth.

This came from the Columbia B factory in 1939 and is fun in a dated and dorky way.

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