Lone Wolf in London

A later entry in a series of B films Columbia put out in the 1940s, Lone Wolf in London (Leslie Goodwins) is another story of reformed jewel-thief Michael Lanyard who solves crimes. Unlike other unofficial detectives, however, Lanyard often (always?) remains under suspicion as the prime suscpect. The narrative identifications they set up are therefore odd: on one hand, there eventually is no much maintenance of the enigma, as in many noir films, certainly the ones taking their cue from the Hammett and Chandler style of writing. On the other hands, Lone Wolf in London's narration offers little clue that allows the spectator to read Lanyard's integrity or duplicity. I kept thinking of that Cahier essay on Lang ("Two Fictions of Hate") and the dual identification (Nazi/anti-Nazi) that Hangmen Also Die engenders. Not only does Lanyard catch a thief by thinking like a thief, the spectator is put in the position of having to think like a thief in order to root for the thief's capture.


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