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A 1983 film adaptation of the play Bullshot Crummond, which parodied 1930's British heroes like Bulldog Drummond and Biggles. The play was written by Ronald E. House, Diz White, John Neville-Andrews, Alan Shearman, and Derek Cunningham -- who also took roles in the theatre production and/or the film. The characters they played are:
- Rosemary Fenton: The Ingenue, The Ditz, a Damsel in Distress who seeks the aid of...
- Captain Hugh "Bullshot" Crummond: The Cape, Ace Pilot, Comedic Hero, Destructive Saviour, and Arch Enemy of...
- Count Otto von Bruno: a Notorious Hun and Master of Disguise; who along with the evil...
- Fraulein Lenya: a Femme Fatale, carry out the dastardly kidnapping of...
- Professor Rupert Fenton: an Absent-Minded Professor, and the Narrator of this Two Fisted Tale of adventure and intrigue!
The film and play homage and spoof numerous tropes of the genre, including:
- Applied Phlebotinum (also Homemade Inventions and Mad Scientist Laboratory): Various devices for creating Involuntary Lingual Slippage, Vocal Reiteration (voice mimicking), Converse Forcefield (immobilisation beam), and Gaseous Particle Propellant (marijuana dispenser).
- Bald of Evil. Otto's boast that Bullshot will soon be out of his hair earns him a puzzled look from his henchman Crouch.
- Battle Butler: Dobbs (for the hero) and Crouch (for the villain).
- Biggus Dickus: Archy walks in on Bullshot dressed in his underclothes, excited by the fact that he's got a case to solve. The exact nature of his excitement is...obvious.
- Bragging Theme Tune: A jaunty 1930's-style song praising Bullshot plays over the end credits. An instrumental version is played by a band during the first meeting between Bullshot and Rosemary.
- Celibate Hero: "Is this seemly, Mrs. Platt-Higgins? Playing popular music and your husband only ten years dead?"
- Contrived Coincidence: Parodied mercilessly.
- Covert Pervert: Especially true of Rosemary, but there's a general idea that the characters aren't the pure, sexless Brits they present themselves to be. Not that it's lacking on the villain side either -- Otto oggles an unconscious Rosemary in the back seat of his Mercedes, but he can't get the divider to stay down and hide what he's doing. Lenya spies on Bullshot getting out of the bath and is quite impressed. And Crouch always seems to be manhandling the Damsel in Distress around by her breasts.
- Combat Pragmatist: Bullshot takes off his jacket to engage in Good Old Fisticuffs, whereupon Otto kicks him in the groin while his arms are immobilised.
- Death Trap: Bullshot escapes from several 'inescapable' deathtraps via a combination of outrageous luck, arcane knowledge, and all-round awesomeness. His Crowning Moment of Awesome is related here:
"When you directed Dobbs to the room where I was paralysed there was one small thing you hadn't accounted for -- that he would be wearing a regimental club tie which is 100% silk! The static electricity temporarily neutralised the forcefield, giving me time to take advantage of the inflammable properties of the brandy that you offered me earlier. Within the small amount of neck movement available to me under the magnetic paralysis, I formed my nasal cavity into a type of Liebig condenser, thereby concentrating the alcohol fumes in one place. I then forced the fumes down each nostril with such intensity that they were combusted by the lighted end of the dynamite, thus forming a natural blowtorch which completely severed the fuse, rendering the dynamite totally harmless. The rest was easy."
- Double Entendre: Plenty of 'em.
- Education Through Pyrotechnics: When Professor Fenton's clumsy daughter causes an explosion in his lab he exclaims: "I told you never to do that! That's how we lost Mummy!"
- The End - or Is It?: Otto's plane crashes at the end of the movie, though they Never Found the Body, and we conclude with a Photo Montage from Rosemary and Bullshot's marriage. The last photograph shows a scowling Otto disguised as their chauffeur.
- Evil Laugh (naturally)
- General Failure: Bullshot keeps running into former members of his WW1 regiment "The Royal Loamshires" who've been mutilated due to his incompetence. They include an aircraft mechanic who had his hand amputated when Bullshot started the propeller while he was checking the oil, 'Hawkeye' McGillicuddy who was blinded when Bullshot sent him down a hole to see if some ammunition was live, and Crouch -- the short, ugly henchman of von Bruno, who was a handsome six-footer until the day Bullshot ran over him in a tank. The opening scene (set in WW 1) has Bullshot giving a practical demonstration on why smoking at night will get you killed, which results in one of his men getting shot by a sniper.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Myra the giant octopus reaches into some extremely personal places.
Bullshot: "I can't control this thing between my legs! It's got a mind of its own!"
Rosemary: "It's so...big!"
Bullshot: "Never mind that! Beat it off!"
- Heel Face Turn: Crouch
- Honor Before Reason: In an aerial duel in World War One, Bullshot forgoes the chance to kill Otto von Bruno when he sees the machine-gun on his Fokker D7 has jammed. Bullshot flies alongside and salutes his worthy adversary, only to receive an "ancient Teutonic gesture" in response. The act of chivalry is unfortunate, for as the Narrator points out: "The events you are about to witness would never have occurred, if he'd finished off that Fokker in the first place."
- Improbable Aiming Skills: "By rapidly calculating the pigeon's angle of elevation in the reflection of your monocle, then subtracting the refractive index of its lens, I positioned myself at a complementary access...and fired. It was no challenge at all."
- I Resemble That Remark
Bullshot: "So, you intend taking on the Second Most Dangerous Man in Europe by yourself do you? Have you given a moments' thought as to what you intend using for brains?"
Rosemary: "How dare you! I've done pwetty well without bwains so far!"
- It Will Never Catch On: Bullshot scoffs at the idea that England could ever be run by a woman, or that the future world economy will be based on oil. The movie was made when Margaret Thatcher was in power, and a decade after the OPEC oil crisis.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Spoofed by having Bullshot thrusting out his jaw when he walks on-screen.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Professor Fenton is being interrogated via a malfunctioning Involuntary Lingual Slippage device.
Lenya: "And where is your beloved Rosemary hiding?"
Professor Fenton: "She's not my beloved Rosemary, she's a pain in the ARRRRRRGH!"
- Lethal Chef: Rosemary's rock-hard scones are a Running Gag.
- Lingerie Scene: The Cat Fight between Rosemary and Lenya.
- Love At First Sight: Bullshot and Rosemary fall in love the moment they lay eyes on each other. Orchestra music swells as Bullshot bends down to kiss her hand...only to have a waiter shove a menu in front of his face. Neither will admit their feelings until they're both facing imminent death through drowning whilst imprisoned in giant concrete eggcups.
- MacGuffin: Professor Fenton's formula for synthetic fuel. In the play it's synthetic diamonds, to be used to ruin the world's economy.
- Magic Bullets: Averted -- while blasting away at a killer spider in his hotel, Bullshot nearly hits several people in the dining room below. He then spends the next few minutes running about searching for the "mad gunman" who's shooting up the place.
- Rousing Speech: Subverted -- Bullshot gives a patriotic talk on why England should rule the globe, but his tirade and body language become increasingly bizarre until Rosemary realises he's experiencing the classic symptoms (notably deluded ranting) of spider venom.
- Sherlock Scan: Bullshot has amazing powers of observation and deduction, but fails to notice when the villains are right under his nose.
- Something They Would Never Say: Despite a hilarious malfunction of the Vocal Reiteration device that forces Otto to talk at a sped-up rate, Rosemary doesn't suspect when her father tells her "I want you to London the formula bring." Only Bullshot realises than an Oxford man would never use a split infinitive, and so it must be a trap!
- Stock Sound Effects: Doctor Who fans will recognise the sound of the Converse Forcefield as that of the Tesh blasters in "The Face of Evil".
- Tempting Fate: "Oh you Scotland Yard chaps see spies behind every bush. What could possibly happen out here in the English countryside?" Cue dramatic music as we see the villains lurking in the bushes. After they've successfully kidnapped the Professor, Otto boasts "No-one can stop us now!" Cue dramatic music as Bullshot strides into view, his Lantern Jaw of Justice out-thrust.
- Unholy Matrimony: Lenya and Otto.
"There is a bond of evil between us!"
- The Vamp: Lenya finds Bullshot very attractive, and enjoys letting Otto know it. After Otto bites the dust she turns her attentions toward Professor Fenton.
- Un Entendre: Bullshot is shocked by the apparently rude nature of Rosemary's pro-feminist speech.
Rosemary: "Times are changing, Hugh Crummond. I feel it in my bweast."
Bullshot (gulps): "Please! That's trench language!"
Rosemary: "Not the soft words of the flapper or the housewife, but the exposed words of a new woman, a naked woman. Soon to be joined in her march to freedom by her sisters, who will eat and sleep together, and drive twactors for a living! Who needs a man's crutch? Your sex is all washed up!"
- Upperclass Twit: Lord 'Blinky' Brancaster in the movie, and Algy (a Shout-Out to Biggles) in the play.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In the play Bullshot suffers from vertigo, whilst in the film he over-reacts dramatically to the killer spider. The ever-screaming Rosemary is calm on both occasions.
The theatrical version also has:
- Acting for Seven: The show is meant to be performed by only five actors, one of whom plays seven characters -- Professor Fenton, Crummond's friend Algy, a country policeman, a waiter in a hotel restaurant, a one-armed Scotland Yard Inspector (actually Wolfgang Schmidt, Master of Disguise), and Bolshevik thug Marovitch. The actor playing Otto also plays Salvatore Scalicio (a Chicago gangster) in a quick-change scene where he repeatedly switches between Otto and Salvatore.
- Cliff Hanger: The end of Act One. "Does this mean the end of Captain Crummond?"
- Good Guns, Bad Guns
Otto: "Not zo fast -- zis is a Luger!"
Professor Fenton: "That means you're Hun! You're both Huns!"
- Ho Yay: Between Bullshot and Algy.
- Incredibly Obvious Bug
- One Head Taller: Inverted as the playscript specifically recommends that the actress playing Rosemary be taller than Bullshot.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Restaurant Waiter (on seeing Bullshot dressed as a pipe-smoking Arab): "May I hang your disguise in the cloakroom, sir?"
- Red Right Hand: Marovitch has a hunchback, a patch over one eye, a large scar and walks with a limp.
- Special Effects Failure (In-Universe): A Running Gag is the play's over-ambitious effects including an airplane crash, a car chase (with both chaser and chased using the same prop car), a fake pet falcon, a fight where the actor playing Bullshot is substituted for a dummy, and a scene where Otto 'mimics' Professor Fenton's voice (by lip-syncing it while the Professor's mouth is covered).