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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Movie: Counter-Espionage


Counter-Espionage
Based on characters created by Louis Joseph Vance
1942


Mr. Lanyard, this is no time for persiflage. (Jamison)

Given that spy stories have never really been a strong interest of mine it's probably not surprising that this installment of The Lone Wolf series didn't reach out and grab me. And yes it is a Lone Wolf movie, one of the few out of the twenty or so produced that doesn’t include the words Lone Wolf in the title. If it were me I'd have gone with something more Lone Wolf-ish and skipped the uninspiring Counter-Espionage, but what do I know.

This installment finds The Lone Wolf (Michael Lanyard) and his valet Jamison in London during World War II. Early on we see Lanyard cracking a safe and it appears that he might be reverting to his old thieving ways. Apparently some nefarious Nazi spy types are in town and they're trying to get their evil mitts on the plans for a beam detector or some such havoc-wreaking gadget. It looks like Lanyard just might be the guy to help them out. Or perhaps not.

The tone throughout is surprisingly light, given that we're in London during a time when air raids were a common part of daily life. Lanyard's old nemeses, Detective Dickens and Inspector Crane are on hand, rather improbably, a result of some flimsy pretext manufactured for said purpose, and of course they are convinced that he's gone back over to the dark side.

About the only other thing worth noting about this one is that at one point Jamison (whose name flip-flops from Jameson to Jamison in various Lone Wolf movies) kills time by going to see a movie called Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring. Which I'd have rather watched than this one, quite honestly. That's not to say that there was anything wrong with Counter-Espionage. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

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