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  • Spondonman10 December 2006
    I dusted this one off after nearly 10 years to see if it was really as bad as the previous reviewers stated. I'm glad to say at least I didn't waste my 67 minutes precious time watching (and then passing comment on) rubbish but imho rather a good grade B screwball comedy.

    Michael Lanyard (45 year old Warren William's first of nine films as the reformed cracksman) is being framed by an arch-enemy and his inept gang as part of a plot to steal some secret government plans. For most of the picture he also has to fend off the attentions of his jealous and lively girlfriend Val (21 yo Ida Lupino) and scatty stepdaughter Pat played by the always exuberant Virginia Weidler. Rita Hayworth played baddie Ralph Morgan's sexy sidekick, but seemed out of place, and I half expected Tom Dugan as the detective to launch into some wacky routine every time he appeared; thankfully he didn't. And at the surrealist party Lanyard was standing outside the upstairs window simply by means of an elaborate balcony with plenty of climbing plants on show – so no goof there (as stated in the goofs section) from the Columbia continuity department!

    To fans of this film genre, a pleasure from start to finish, to others, why bother?
  • Don't let a couple of previous negative comments about this film put you off from watching it the next time it appears on TCM. If you like stylish and witty mystery-comedies from the old days, then THE LONE WOLF SPY HUNT is definitely for you. Warren William is impeccable as the urbane, laid-back Lone Wolf, and Ida Lupino is endearing as his protective and frustrated girlfriend. The exchanges between them are both amusing and warm, and add another flavoring to the Nick and Nora Charles School of Relationships. Rita Hayworth stands out in an atypical role as the baddie's chilly girlfriend, while Virginia Weidler lends the right amount of natural tom-boyish charm in her role as the Lone Wolf's daughter, Patricia. (The film was titled THE LONE WOLF'S DAUGHTER in the UK.) Production values for this type of B-film are top-notch. TCM's fresh looking print shows them off exquisitely. Cozy up to this one with some nice hot beverage and enjoy!
  • As a lover of old movies from the Golden Age of cinema (from talkies to television), it's always fun to discover talented people on both sides of the camera that never got the kind of recognition they deserved. One of these was Warren William, who this writer first noticed in THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (1939.) Besides playing a Musketeer, his roles ranged from Julius Caesar to Perry Mason. Additionally, he played detectives Sam Spade, Philo Vance and the Lone Wolf, his most famous role. While the Lone Wolf series was never quite as good as the Thin Man's from all I've seen and read, this entry was entertaining for a good many reasons, most of all for having Rita Hayworth and Ida Lupino in the cast. Although a bit long in the tooth to be Ida's love interest (he was 45 when he made this picture, though he plays a 35-year old, which means he was really old enough to be Val Carson's dad, despite her line quoted above), he played the character with at least as much zest as William Powell imbued the Thin Man. Add to this some well-written and well-played supporting actors and you have a pretty fair crime/spy drama. It's not THE 39 STEPS, but it's still enjoyable to watch Michael Lanyard and gang in a mostly fine film series. Dale Roloff
  • While no reasonable reviewer would give any B-detective series movie a score of 10 (after all, they were not exactly deep and they tended to focus much more on entertainment instead of originality), for such a film, this Lone Wolf film scores a bullseye. As far as quality and watchability goes, I would place it on par with the average Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan or Saint film of the era. In fact, in many ways, this film seems a lot like one of the Saint films because the hero is a reformed gentleman thief who investigates crimes for kicks--and chases women along the way. While the film starred Warren William, I could have just as easily imagined Tom Conway or George Sanders (from the Saint and Falcon detective series) playing the lead in this film. This isn't meant as a negative per se--it's a very familiar but also very satisfying formula.

    Warren William was wonderful in the lead but he was also ably supported by a better than usual supporting cast. Having Ida Lupino AND Rita Hayworth playing the female leads was pretty amazing, as neither were exactly stars at the time and it was just a case of dumb luck in casting. In addition, the other supporting players all provided some needed depth to the film--something often lacking in B-movies.

    As far as the plot goes, it was pretty interesting but also purely secondary--not at all unusual for this type of film. You certainly don't watch this type of film because of the finely crafted mystery, but more for the personalities and style. In many ways, this sort of film is like a warm and familiar pair of old shoes you put on after a long day at work.
  • Viewed on Turner tonight, and found myself being fascinated with the diction. Especially Lupino and Hayworth (maybe because they're easier to look at). Good (and fun) dramatic emphasis, syllabled but natural. Understood every word from the entire cast. What a contrast from more modern productions where mumbling seems to be in vogue and my wife and I are constantly backing up to catch what was said. So, whatever happened to those diction coaches? This was 1939 sound recording technology for Pete's sake. Okay, now filling out the 10 lines that seem to be required. Yes this was B-movie fare, but good costumes, production values AND, all too rare, some fun for the kids. Also, we enjoy these older films for the time machine aspects, e.g., the cars, the decor, cityscapes and the cultural values in evidence. For instance, lots of furs on the gals in this one--one thing we're well without now, unlike the diction.
  • This was an interesting low budget film with Warren William,(Michael Lanyard) playing the Lone Wolf safe cracker who gets involved with secret weapons and their blueprints. Ida Lupino,(Val Carson) constantly follows everywhere he goes and even walks in while he is having a shower in his bathroom. Val knows that Michael likes plenty of women and she has her designs on him for marriage. There is plenty of laughs and Rita Hayworth,(Karen) plays the role of a sexy gal who tries to trap the Lone Wolf breaking into a safe and obtain these government secret weapons plans. Lupino and Hayworth were just starting out their careers on the silver screen and both became great movie stars and producers. Enjoy
  • blanche-228 August 2009
    Warren William is that ex-safecracker Michael Lanyard, The Lone Wolf, in "The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt." Criminals, led by Ralph Morgan, who are after some plans from the war department try to frame the retired crook for the theft.

    What makes this film a cut above the usual B detective film is the terrific cast. Not just any B movie has Ida Lupino and pre-electrolysis Rita Hayworth as the female leads. They are not only excellent in their roles but beautiful, Hayworth being on the side of the bad guys and Lupino playing Lanyard's young girlfriend. He complains about being old enough to be her father, which in real life, was true. Here, the character is 35. This would undoubtedly get a laugh from today's audience. He was 45 and in today's youth-obsessed society, could pass for 60. Virginia Wiedler plays Lanyard's tomboy daughter, lending the same kind of terrific support she did in "The Philadelphia Story." Being a big fan of Warren William, I'll watch him in anything. The persona he used for many of these types of roles - relaxed, unflappable, charming, and funny - seems to hit the right notes, even though in silents, he played the villain. He's like a poor man's William Powell, but in his own way, every bit as good.

    Lots of fun.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Warren William has stepped into the shoes previously worn by Melvyn Douglas and a rather miscast Francis Lederer in this saga of reformed jewel thief who has become the great American hero. He's framed for a jewel theft by an old foe (Ralph Morgan) and obviously there is something more going on than just revenge. He's caretaker to the pre-teen Virginia Weidler and keeps being stalked by flighty socialite Ida Lupino who just seems to be the cover model for the girl who can't say no. Morgan's involved with the gorgeous femme fatal Rita Hayworth who keeps involving William in her own part of the intrigue which gives several great bitchy scenes between her and Lupino. For her part, Ida is certainly a devoted companion, declaring "I don't want to be safe! I'd rather be with you!" when William becomes concerned about her safety.

    The highlight is a costume party where William steals the invitation sent to drunk Jack Norton, wearing a clock around his neck and coming as "midnight" (or in his case what it should be "last call"). A series of odd hats and other costumes makes this sequence deliciously funny with Lupino showing up having covered her face with a giant flower. Earlier, she had declared her shock upon walking in on William in the shower, telling his butler Jameson "Last time he took a shower, he wore his clothes! I wish he'd be more consistent!" Since Melvyn Douglas wasn't going to continue with the series as he should have with the second one, William is a perfect replacement, and would lead the series with mixed results into the mid 1940's. Lupino and Hayworth went on to much bigger things, but their interaction here is quite memorable. As a result, "Lone Wolf Spy Hunt" ends up being perhaps the best in the series, a very memorable programmer, and certainly a definite curiosity for the presence of these two beauties.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The plot of this Lone Wolf mystery is standard for a B mystery: a spy ring wants to steal the plans for an anti-aircraft gun and then plant evidence so the Lone Wolf, Michael Lanyard, will get the blame. The cast of characters is typical too: beautiful women, dumb cops and even dumber cohorts of the master criminal and a dashing, witty hero. But this one also has some especially amusing bits - chief among them Jack Norton in his usual role as a drunk. This time it's as Charlie Fenton at a surrealist party (the whole surrealist party was a riot and worth watching the movie just for that). Fenton comes to the part with a card board clock face on his chest and Lanyard, after sticking a few tree twigs about his clothes is dressed as the primeval forest. Priceless. Then there's the bit about Lanyard's driving around and around a diner trying to get a donut eating cop to come out and give him chase. And Virginia Weidler is wonderful as the Lone Wolf's tomboy daughter who wants to be a junior G girl. Shame that she appeared in no more series entries. The best line in the movie is that of Val's (Lanyard's girlfriend) Senator father. When Lanyard asks the Senator who attacked him, was it a man in a gray hat?, he says "yes, he looked like a Republican." Loved that throw away line. The only bummer in the movie is the role of Val played by Ida Lupino. Her character was an extraordinarily annoying wannabe wife of Lanyard. You'd think she'd get the hint when he was willing to go to jail rather than marry her. But no. She and Lanyard's daughter giggle about having the keys to his cell. Makes no sense. Even so, it's a highly enjoyable movie thanks to some very funny scenes indeed. Besides, what's not to like about Warren William? Also a plus is that TCM showed a beautiful print of the film.
  • Lone Wolf Spy Hunt, The (1939)

    *** (out of 4)

    The Lone Wolf made his film debut in 1917 but it wasn't until this film and Warren William stepped into the role that the character really took off. The former safecracker, Michael Lanyward, aka The Lone Wolf, has spies chasing him around Washington D.C., hoping that he'll help them get some government secrets dealing with an anti-aircraft gun. This is the first film I've seen of The Lone Wolf and it wasn't too bad of an experience. The film runs a fast paced 67-minutes and William is always worth watching. Ida Lupino steals the film as a woman who keeps hoping the Wolf will marry her. Some might find her annoying but that's part of her charm. Rita Hayworth plays the femme fatale with Ralph Morgan as a villain.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (Some Spoilers) He's at it again The Lone Wolf Michael Laryard, Warren Williams, knocking the ladies dead as well as knocking the bad guy out cold and on the seat of their pants as he does his patriotic duty for Uncle Sam in foiling a spy ring working for either Germany the Soviet Union or Japan, just take your pick,in their attempt of stealing this top secret blueprint for an antiaircraft artillery piece. Laryard despite his heroics in dealing with the spy ring has his hands full with his wannabe bride the cute and pasty Val Carson, Ida Lupino, who would smash any woman over the head with her trusty baseball bat who as much as looks at the suave & debonair Lanyard.

    The spy ring lead by Spiro Gregory, Ralph Morgan, at first try to blackmail Lanyard, a reformed Jewel thief and safe cracker, to help them crack open the safe at the Plamer Laboratory where half of the artillery blueprint is kept, the other half Gregory has. Only to have the cagey Lone Wolf escape and later with the help of Val crashes a custom party at Gregory's mansion dressed up as a tree branch,and steals the other half of the blueprint right under Gregory's nose.

    Also in the movie is an absolutely gorgeous 21 year-old Rita Hayworth,Karen,as Gregorys girlfriend who has the Lone Wolf making eyes at her which almost drives Val to belt her for trying to take her man away from her. Among the other characters in the movie is Lanyard's, he's a widower in the film,somewhat spoiled and bratty daughter Pat,Virginia Weidler. Who as a wannabe junior G-girl runs around the house with a cap gun shooting at the imaginary Red Weasel Gang. Not being able to get the Red Weasel she ends up instead plugging the butler Jameson, Leonard Carey, who refuses to roll over and play dead for her.

    We get to see Lanyard use his fists as well as his brains at the end of the movie as he slug's it out with the bad guys without as much as getting his hair mussed, or tuxedo wrinkled. Lanyard not only saves the day for the good old U S of A but both Val & Pat who ended up being captured by the Gregory Gang. Wanting to finally get as far away from Val as he can Lanyard admits to the police, who came to his rescue, anything that would put him safely behind bars. But his plans of freedom from Val, while losing all his freedom by being locked up in the clink, are soon to fall apart with both Pat and Val having the keys to his prison cell and more then willing, in getting the very reluctant Lone Wolf out, to use them.
  • The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt marks the first appearance of Warren William as the dapper retired cracksman, Michael Lanyard who now occasionally assists the police instead of trying to evade them for a job he's committed.

    Yet in this film William is indeed trying to shake the cops because they think he's stolen some highly secret war plans. Actually the guy doing it not only wants to get the plans, but he wants to make sure he frames William for the job and goes to all kinds of lengths to make that come about.

    I'm surprised that Warren William lasted in the role of the Lone Wolf. No fault of his because he's as debonair and charming as the role calls for. But the film did get a bit silly at times. Ida Lupino is the dizzy daughter of a U.S. Senator and Virginia Weidler is William's daughter. Between the two of them and their crazy machinations, the Lone Wolf was lucky to get the case solved at all. I don't think it was an accident that Weidler's character was dropped in future Lone Wolf series films.

    The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt is also known as being an early film that Columbia used to showcase one of their new discoveries, Rita Hayworth. Rita plays the moll of the leader of the spies and her beauty makes her stand out. No doubt she was going to be a star.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is the first time I've seen a Lone Wolf movie, and I was struck by the similarity to the Bulldog Drummond series from the same era. Not only did the main characters have a canine nom de plume, but each featured a comic relief butler and a fetching female hanger on that can't wait to get married. In the Drummond franchise, the marriage just around the corner bit was carried from film to film, though I don't know how the Lone Wolf series handled it. I'll have to wait and see.

    The caper involving Lone Wolf Lanyard (Warren William) also hints at those encountered by Drummond, Charlie Chan, and Mr. Wong, to name a few other detectives of the era, even though Lanyard isn't a detective per se, but a retired safe cracker who appears to be on the right side of the law. I found it odd that he considered himself 'old' at thirty five; it gives one a sense of how far we've come as a society that puts a premium on perpetual youth. Can you picture George Clooney admitting that he's old?

    The story involves a set of plans for a new anti-aircraft gun, with lead villain Gregory (Ralph Morgan) attempting to steal the prints and frame Lanyard for the theft. I couldn't shake the feeling that the whole thing was done pretty much tongue in cheek, as the Lone Wolf seemed to be the only competent character amidst a jealous girl friend (Ida Lupino), bumbling henchmen, inept detectives, and an aspiring G-Man, er, Woman daughter (Virginia Weidler) who likes to stick up the butler in repeated scenes. You even get Rita Hayworth as a femme fatale, a pretty classy villainess I must say. It's too bad attempts at humor often fell flat, like the Charlie Fenton gimmick at the surrealist party. Speaking of which, you can see the folks behind this 'B' grade mystery didn't have a big budget to work with, as party guests showed up with boxes or cellophane wrapped around their head, making Lanyard's tree branch outfit look almost creative.

    Hey, I did get a kick though out of that car chase around the coffee shop. By the third time around, someone figured out there should be a police car in front of it so the cops could give pursuit!

    If you're a fan of the earlier mentioned mystery and detective flicks of the Thirties and Forties like I am, you'll be able to have some fun with this one. They're interesting diversions and offer a glimpse of what audiences considered entertaining at the time. Just don't hold them under a magnifying glass.

    $38.70 for lunch!!!!
  • WARREN WILLIAM in the first of his Lone Wolf capers manages to be amusing, but IDA LUPINO as his scatter-brained girlfriend gets to be a little grating after awhile and there's too little of RITA HAYWORTH to comment on. It's a wonder Rita reached super stardom at Columbia after meager early roles like this as the sophisticated "other woman" type.

    The whole thing has the look and feel of "The Saint" series, where a reformed thief is giving the police a hard time in cracking a case. In this outing, William has been set up by the bad guys into looking like the thief who stole some highly important war plans. It's his job to get to the bottom of the mystery and solve it in time for the syrupy happy ending with Lupino batting her eyes at him.

    It's meager stuff as far as entertainment goes, interesting only to see what Ida and Rita were like at this stage in their careers. William seems at home in the title role and VIRGINIA WIEDLER is believable as his tomboyish daughter crazy about being a little detective herself.
  • Norm-3024 April 2000
    This is one of THE weakest entries in an otherwise GREAT "Lone Wolf" series. As the other reviewer mentioned, Ida Lupino's character is sooo "grating" that you'd like to smack her one!

    There is a blooper in this film: When Ralph Morgan is coming down the staircase (from the SECOND floor), the burglar alarm goes off. He runs UPSTAIRS to check out the alarm. Meanwhile, the Lone Wolf is outside the window, STANDING ON SOLID GROUND, watching him! (How can the ground be outside the SECOND floor?).

    Unless you're a die-hard LW fan, don't waste your time on this one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Lone Wolf" character was invented by Louis Joseph Vance and came to life on the silver screen beginning in 1917. Many actors have portrayed him throughout the years; but Warren William will play the character in this Columbia picture.

    "The Lone Wolf" has been identified as Michael Lanyard, retired safe-cracker. Ralph Morgan plays and international spy that is anxious to force Lanyard to bust open a safe that contains plans of an anti-aircraft gun for the U.S. War Dept. When Lanyard refuses, he is set up to take the fall for the theft. The crooks only have half of the plans and still need "The Lone Wolf" to get what is missing.

    A beautiful brunette named Karen(Rita Hayworth)lures Michael to crack the scientist's safe to get the missing plans. But the wily Lanyard takes the plans and leaves a useless set of baby carriage blueprints for the bad guys to find. Ida Lupino plays Lanyard's girlfriend Val, that seems to be good for getting in the way. Her father happens to be a Senator(Brandon Tynan), who ends up with possession of part of the plans. It becomes a game of cat-and-mouse with each of the two halves of the top secret document.

    Peter Godfrey directs this fast paced 71 minute drama. Other players in the cast: Virginia Weidler, Don Beddoe, Tom Dugan and Leonard Carey.