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  • "Blake of Scotland Yard" is a cheap B-movie made by a 4th-rate studio. It's not entirely bad...though it's also not particularly good or worth seeing. The biggest problem is that the movie has lots of action and cops doing undercover work--but little in the way of acting or characters.

    This mystery film stars Ralph Byrd—a man later known for playing Dick Tracy. It begins with a meeting of representatives of the League of Nations. They are to watch a test by Sir James in which he will demonstrate a machine that will supposedly make war obsolete—a plot very similar to the one from "Arrest Bulldog Drummond"--made two years after "Blake of Scotland Yard".

    Sadly, this wonderful device is stolen by a goofy guy named 'The Scorpion' and his gang. The Scorpion is pure B-movie corn--a masked guy who, when not wearing a REALLY cheesy mask, runs around like a chimp who insists on always blocking his face from the camera. This is just silly and his identity COULD have been kept from the audience with competent direction...though I think there was no evidence of competence during the entire film.

    There are many way overdone scenes. One is a silly bit involving two of the most unconvincing drunks in film history. They made Foster Brooks' old drunk act seem subtle by comparison!! However, the worse bit was the character of a severely mentally challenged guy in the last portion of the movie. He is handled as insensitively as you possibly can do it. The guy is practically portrayed like an animal--making guttural noises, grunting and running about like a gorilla (wow--more simian-inspired moments in the film). The film should get some sort of award for setting back the public's acceptance of the mentally retarded at least 50 years with this awful bit. I wanted to laugh at it, but also realized such sick characters are no laughing matter--just sad and pathetic.

    Overall, a stupid film that is bad even for a low-budget B. Ralph Byrd's being in it isn't too surprising, as he appeared in MANY craptastic Bs over the years. Only of interest to weirdos like me who will watch most any B movie!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Don't be misled by Scotland Yard in the title of this movie, the only mystery here is how this film could ever be made. It starts out reasonably well, with the surreptitious passing of a coin from one shady character to another with instructions about a secret meeting. Apparently, a gang led by The Scorpion is after a death ray device unveiled by inventor Jerry Sheehan (Ralph Byrd) and his fiancée Hope Mason (Joan Barclay). The death ray knocks out an abandoned ship at sea at a range of 190 miles, and it's awesome power is seen as a deterrent to war for the civilized nations of the world.

    With that interesting premise, the movie quickly spirals out of control and into a never never land highlighted by a lot of activity with no purpose. Good guys and bad guys spend a lot of time slinking down alley ways, up and down stairs, back and forth through underground passages and in and out of a French cabaret. Heroes and villains are often disclosed no more than ten feet away from each other, each oblivious as to the presence of their foes. The only redeeming feature worth noting in this entire debacle is the actual demonstration of the death ray gizmo in an inspired moment of 1930's technical wizardry; you can turn off the film right there.

    And what's with the goofy Black Scorpion? This notorious villain slinks around entirely hunched over in a comical crouching position, with a lobster claw hand across his masked face. A feared denizen of the London underworld he is not, I'm at a loss as to how he put together a band of criminals.

    So what does the title have to do with the picture? Sir James Blake (Herbert Rawlinson) is a retired detective of Scotland Yard, and Uncle Jimmy to Hope Mason and her young brother Bobby. Odd that his character's name is in the title, while Byrd's performance receives top billing. The most intriguing thing about the movie for me was seeing a very young Dickie Jones in the role of Bobby Mason. He would grow up to be the Range Rider's sidekick in the early 1950's TV Western; for my money the best stunt rider ever.

    "Blake of Scotland Yard" receives at least one distinction from me, it's now in my Bottom Ten films of all time. Those who may be tempted to give it a try, I'll quote a character from the film - "I advise you not to follow".
  • There's plenty of action in "Blake of Scotland Yard", but it is frequently confusing and chaotic. It was apparently edited into a feature film from a serial of some 10-15 episodes, which would account for the sometimes bewildering rush of events. No doubt the full-length serial would provide more explanation, while also retaining the exciting action scenes.

    Sir James Blake's niece Hope and her friend Jerry are inventors who have come up with a device that they think will eliminate the threat of war. As they demonstrate it, a gang of criminals led by "the Scorpion" spies on them, and makes plans to steal the invention. When they do pilfer it, Blake and his associates must recapture the machine and also determine the identity of the elusive "Scorpion".

    There is a confusingly long list of characters, and they spend all of their time fighting, spying on each other, impersonating one another, and sneaking around through the secret corridors that seem to be a feature of every building they enter. They keep you in constant suspense as to what is going to happen next, and in constant confusion as to what has just happened. The claims made for the gizmo that is at the center of all this fuss also seem rather implausible.

    This movie could have been a lot better in a somewhat longer version that would make all of the action easier to follow.
  • I got this film in a 9 movies in one collection in a Wal-Mart bargain bin. The story is about a guy who creates "death-beam" like creation that could help Britian win wars (Sure would have been useful against Nazis). Anyway, the death-beam gets stolen and ... Thats the thing, I have no freaking idea whats going on. From what I can remember, people go into places and fight and talk and dance. This goes absolutely nowhere. Im stuck watching people mumble and fight. Seriously BORING.

    Well, I would have given this a one if it were not for the good fight scenes. They were impressive considering the film was made 70 years ago. In these scenes, people are punched and have chairs smashed against their backs. It almost reminded me of old James Bond fight scenes, just without the good camera shots. Still, they don't save the movie from being utter junk.

    Only watch this film if you are interested or just wanna waste some time.
  • confusing tiresome plot; exasperatingly inane action; tries to be cute by using current "in" references but ends up being oh so lame. The longer serialized version perhaps is a little better but I have not seen it. You keep asking yourself over and over again "Why did they do a stupid thing like that?" when you see 1)the heroine enter a dangerous scene pushing the youngster ahead of her or 2) they keep shooting guns and weapons out of each others' hands instead of actually shooting the attacker himself or 3) when one character hiding and spying tells(in a 90 decibel voice) his accomplice to talk more softly or they will be uncovered, 4) and so on ad nausea. Obviously meant for an uncritical 10-year-old audience.
  • This is the dire feature version of what I imagine is an equally dire serial. Ralph Byrd has invented a "death ray" that can blow up battleships more than a hundred miles away. He wants to give it to all the members of the League of Nations, which he imagines will bring world peace, but a criminal gang has stolen it and plans to sell it to a foreign power. Byrd goes searching through the dives of Paris under the direction of his uncle, Herbert Rawlinson, the eponymous Blake etc., instead of releasing the blueprints or building another.

    The group of criminals is led by the Scorpion, a stooped figure in a slouch hat and cape who holds a lobster claw over his face as a disguise. This goes on for 70 minutes without much happening except a badly executed Apache dance or two.

    How does the death ray work? It doesn't matter, because it's a Maguffin. A Maguffin derives from a story that Alfred Hitchcock liked to tell. A man gets on a train with a contraption, which he stows in the overhead rack. "What's that?" asks a fellow passenger. "It's a Maguffin." "What's a Maguffin?" "It's a device for trapping tigers in the Scottish Highlands." "There are no tigers in the Scottish Highlands." "Then that's never a Maguffin."

    Maybe it was Hitchcock writer Angus McPhail who told the story, but in the movies a Maguffin is something people want desperately. It sets the plot in motion. It doesn't really matter what it is. Hitchcock liked Maguffins, from the secret plans in THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS to whatever it was that James Mason stole in NORTH BY NORTH-WEST. Film makers still use Maguffins. Remember the briefcase in PULP FICTION? Whenever the briefcase was opened, a light illuminated the face of the actor looking into the case. What was in the case? A light bulb.

    Which is more than you get in this badly written, poorly executed, worse-printed movie.
  • ColeSear4 February 2011
    This film is not the true version of "Blake of Scotland Yard." This is a truncated feature-length version of a 15-Chapter Serial. Its more than 400% shorter than it was intended to be and hence that accounts for all the issues you will read about in other reviews. This is truly unfortunate because it means the ruination of a great serial. If you visit the serial's IMDb page (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028637/) you'll not that it's average user rating is double what it is here.

    Unfortunately, this false version is the only one which is available from Amazon so it truly is a case of buyer beware. Please don't judge this work by the worst version of it but instead look for a full version which is 15 chapters and 303 minutes long.
  • Sir James Blake is a retired Scotland Yard police officer who has helped invented a 'Death Ray', along with his niece, Hope; and her friend Jerry Sheehan. He doesn't intend this to be used for conquest though; he intends to give it to the League of Nations so it can be used to prevent all aggressive military action. As well as guaranteeing peace it will put the munitions industry out of business. After a successful demonstration the device is stolen buy people working for a character known as Scorpion. Now they must recover the device and identify the dastardly Scorpion.

    This seventy minute film is a heavily cut down version of a serial that totalled over five hours in length and it shows. It opens well enough with the demonstration of the device but after it is stolen it is almost non-stop action; sometimes that is a good thing but here it was just one scrap after another with little real sense of danger; it was repetitive rather than exciting. The villain is distinctly weak; a man who moves like an ape and hides his face behind a large lobster like claw. I'd normally comment on the quality of the acting but that seems more than a little unfair as most of their work on this story doesn't feature in this film. Overall not really something worth seeking out; if like me you got it on a DVD with a couple of other films it is worth watching once.
  • This has to be one of the worst films I have seen for a long time - lacking logic and continuity in the plot, and with a denouement that has a lot to do with the saving of a machine for posterity, but how the story got there is anyone's guess. Many scenes take place in blackness. There are a few well-staged fight sequences, but really nothing else to attract the attention.