Lone Wolf Spy Hunt The (1939)
Whereas actor Warren William was in the latter third of his career and notoriety by the time he helped to revive (by playing) the titled Louis Joseph Vance character (aka Michael Lanyard) actresses Ida Lupino Rita Hayworth and Virginia Weidler still had most of their fame to realize. William would go on to play the role four more times but this would be the best of the recycled B movie detective comedy drama series. Directed by Peter Godfrey with a screenplay by Jonathan Latimer that was a reworking of Vance’s novel The Lone Wolf’s Daughter the cast also includes Frank Morgan’s older brother Ralph Tom Dugan Tom Beddoe Leonard Carey Ben Welden Brandon Tynan and Helen Lynd. Additionally recognizable character actors Irving Bacon Dick Elliott and Marc Lawrence (are among those who) appear uncredited.
Known as the Lone Wolf Lanyard is a reformed jewel thief with an eye for the ladies that Spiro Gregory aka Groman (Morgan) wants to enlist to crack a safe that contains secret military plans. Hayworth plays Groman’s assistant Karen who will use the Lone Wolf’s weakness for beautiful women against him (e.g. try to interest him in the scheme) much to the dismay of Lanyard’s wannabe fiancée Val (Lupino) daughter of Senator Carson (Tynan). Weidler plays Lanyard’s daughter Pat who’s a bit of a prankster – she insists that their butler Jameson (Carey) play along and play dead when she shoots him with her cap-gun. When Lanyard refuses to help Groman the gang leader decides to frame the Lone Wolf for the crime anyway having his henchman Jenks (Welden) leave some of the former thief’s unique brand cigarettes at the scene of the crime. Fortunately Police Inspector Thomas (Beddoe) and Sergeant Devan (Dugan) smell a rat and are easily convinced by Lanyard’s alibi a lunch date with Marie Templeton (Lynd).
Since the author of the stolen plans had hidden half of the documents at his laboratory Karen is employed to entice Lanyard to crack a different safe there. This time Lanyard performs the task but also switches the plans with some others for a baby carriage. To protect and entrap her man Val lies to the police becoming Lanyard’s second alibi when she says that the two of them were getting married at the time. But Groman employs his henchman (including Lawrence) to capture the Senator – Lanyard had given him the real plans – and give chase by automobile to Val and the Lone Wolf who circles an Italian restaurant while honking hoping to alert the policemen inside (Bacon and Elliott). Eventually though all appears hopeless for Lanyard whose daughter is caught while following the suspects. But the Lone Wolf figures out a way to use Pat to escape with the plans while he kicks out the lamp cord and battles the criminals before the police arrive just in time to save everyone including the Senator and the inventor.