5 October 2013 | bkoganbing
Time to give the Mona Lisa back
Although shot on a dental floss budget by Republic, Scotland Yard Investigator proves to be an interesting little crime thriller and the leading actors Erich Von Stroheim and C. Aubrey Smith get a chance to carry a film for a change instead of being in support.
For reasons I don't understand Von Stroheim is given a full head of hair and we miss that bald menace, but even with a wig he's as coldly Teutonic as ever. Von Stroheim plays an art collector who has robbed a lot of valuable art objects over the years so that he could enjoy them in his privacy and deprive the world of same. Now with the close of World War II, he's out to get the biggest prize of all, the Mona Lisa which was given temporary shelter in the United Kingdom during the late war from another German art collector, Herman Goering.
C. Aubrey Smith is the man charged with keeping the Mona Lisa as director of Great Britain's national gallery, but then someone else steals it out from under Smith and Von Stroheim. Smith has to get it back before an international incident is caused by the theft between Great Britain and France.
Forrester Harvey is another player here, he's a cockney art dealer and fence and he pulls the caper off. The rest of the film is a cat and mouse triangular game between Smith, Von Stroheim, and Harvey.
Harvey by the way though he's a drunk is not a total fool. In some ways he's more entertaining than either of his adversaries.
Scotland Yard Investigator for its miniscule production values is pretty good, carried as it were on the backs of two very familiar character actors.