12 May 2009 | kevinolzak
Predictable latter entry lacks excitement
One of the few entries that has never aired on Turner Classic Movies, "The Lone Wolf in Mexico" (1946), like the Monogram Charlie Chan entry "The Red Dragon" (1945), features a studio-bound Mexico City with no interesting exteriors (1944's "The Falcon in Mexico" at least was partially shot outdoors and has the look of authenticity). The budgets for Columbia's Lone Wolf were about the same as RKO's Falcon but this latter entry suffers from overly familiar territory. On vacation south of the border, Michael Lanyard (Gerald Mohr) visits a shady gambling casino run by Henderson (John Gallaudet) which substitutes fake diamonds for the genuine article. He meets up with a former flame (Jacqueline De Wit), her croupier husband (Bernard Nedell), and a debt-ridden beauty (Sheila Ryan) who wants our hero to recover some gems that she'd hocked. A decent cast enlivens the proceedings, especially the welcome return of Eric Blore as faithful manservant Jamison. Nestor Paiva (Lucas in "Creature from the Black Lagoon") plays the police inspector and Chris-Pin Martin has an unbilled part as an amusing taxi driver who sleeps on the job. After Warren William exited the series with 1943's "Passport to Suez," Columbia revived it in 1946 with "The Notorious Lone Wolf," bringing back Eric Blore but replacing William with Gerald Mohr, who played the unbilled murder victim in a previous Wolf, 1942's "One Dangerous Night." Following the release of "Mexico" in Jan 1947, Mohr made one final appearance in "The Lone Wolf in London," easily the best of the three, with a standout performance from Universal beauty Evelyn Ankers playing a femme fatale in one of her last roles. A very busy actor, especially on television, Mohr has perhaps been unjustly maligned for his three Wolf entries, all of which ploughed the same material that audiences had grown tired of (he died in 1968). Columbia tried once more with "The Lone Wolf and His Lady" (1949), which sat on the shelf for a full year before it was released. Ron Randell replaced Gerald Mohr while Alan Mowbray replaced Eric Blore. The 1954 TV series which followed featured former Saint Louis Hayward in the title role.