In August 2012 I wrote a far more detailed article about Arsene Lupin Returns at WarrenWilliam.com. Read that article HERE.
I gave warning that this would be airing over on my Warren William fan site, but I thought I'd jot down some more general notes about Arsene Lupin Returns over here after watching it again this afternoon.
First thing that struck me was how minor a female lead can be. Sure, Virginia Bruce is there, she's beautiful, but she's not much else. Engaged to the Melvyn Douglas character and being somewhat wooed by the Warren William character, her part could have been played by any actress as there's just not much to be done other than stand around and be adored. The stolen necklace which the mystery story is tied around belongs to her family as well, so there's that I guess. But all in all, character actor George Zucco, who plays the Prefect of Police, gets nearly the same amount of camera time as Bruce and has a far more important part. I only mention this because the IMDb lists Zucco 8th on Arsene Lupin Returns' cast of characters while Bruce is credited second as she is on anything else I've seen dealing with this title. What a cushy paycheck that must have been for Ms. Bruce!
That said, I liked Arsene Lupin Returns, and not just because it featured my favorite actor playing cocky and confident throughout (and really Warren William could probably be co-billed with Mervyn Douglas as the leads here). I had remembered it faintly but fondly and so was somewhat surprised when I clicked my remote control for more info and the little synopsis that came up only rated Arsene Lupin Returns 1-1/2 stars. Now I don't know who rates the movies for, what, I guess, my cable company, and I'm not trying to tell you that this little mystery piece is a classic, but I really can't see how it rates below 2-1/2 stars as it's not only solid but better than a run of the mill picture from this period.
I've finally got a secure image of character actor E.E. Clive in my head now--in other words he's evolved in my consciousness from just a name amongst the cast to a discernible face. This is what happens when you watch Arsene Lupin Returns, Bachelor Mother, and The Invisible Man all in one week. Now that I know who he is I'd like to learn a little more about who he was. That one may take some work, but we'll see.
Nat Pendleton I can give or take from movie to movie. He was getting on my nerves a little here, but then he actually made me laugh a couple of times (especially when Zucco is introduced to he and Clive as the Prefect of Police, the two old crooks don't really take the info gracefully!), so I was all right with him here.
Monty Woolley is here as well, which was a nice surprise because he's the one cast member I couldn't remember (you'd think that'd be Bruce, but I hate to dwell on that).
Melvyn Douglas is growing on me. I've always kind of ignored him before, but I'd recorded a couple of the pairings with Joan Blondell that TCM aired last month and now I'm looking forward to watching them for more of a reason than Blondell. I thought he and Warren William worked pretty well together and I wonder if the final scene in Arsene Lupin Returns actually implied any hopes at the time for a sequel featuring them.
[message type="success"]In August 2012 I wrote a far more detailed article about Arsene Lupin Returns at WarrenWilliam.com. Read that article HERE.