Lemmy Caution

Created by Peter Cheyney
(1896-1951)

Arguably his most popular creation, Australian writer Peter Cheyney’s LEMMY CAUTION started out in This Man is Dangerous (1936), as a machine gun-toting FBI agent who always got his man, and wasn’t always very nice about how he “got” him.

Fortunately for the “reputation” of the Bureau,  in subsequent stories the lunkhead became a private investigator, although for the most part, he remained as nasty and menacing as ever.

In fact, it was the success of This Man Is Dangerous, Cheyney’s first novel, that allowed the writer to chuck his job as a police officer, and turn to writing full time–a gamble that certainly paid off. Besides nine more novels and numerous short stories, there were a hugely successful string of French films, starring American singer Eddie Constantine as a particularly Bogart-like Lemmy, a popular radio show in Australia and New Zealand, and more.

Although crazy popular in France and Europe back in the day, the Constantine films today are almost forgotten, except for the 1965 Jean-Luc Godard film Alphaville, which placed Caution in a dystopian future setting; a slice of sci-fi noir that wandered back and forth between parody and homage.

I’m still trying to figure it out…

NOVELS

  • This Man Is Dangerous (1936)
  • Dames Don’t Care (1937)
  • Poison Ivy (1937)
  • Can Ladies Kill? (1938)
  • Don’t Get Me Wrong (1939)
  • You’d Be Surprised (1940)
  • Your Deal, My Lovely (1941)
  • Never a Dull Moment (1942)
  • You Can Always Duck (1943)
  • I’ll Say She Does! (1945)

FILMS

  • BRELAN D’AS
    (1952;  English Title: “Full House”)
    Directed by Henri Verneuil
    Produced by Bernard Borderie
    Starring John van Dreelen as LEMMY CAUTION
    Essentially a grab bag featuring several popular detectives of the time, all clamoring to solve a mystery. The character of Lemmy intrigued the French public, and so…
  • LA MOME VERT DES GRIS
    (aka “The Gun Moll” and “Poison Ivy”)
    (1953, Pathe Consortium)
    Based on the Lemmy Caution novel Poison Ivy by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Jacques Berland & Bernard Borderie
    Directed by Bernard Borderie
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    American ex-pat singer and actor Eddie Constantine made a strong impression as Lemmy, and went on to play him in a long string of  French films, as well as making numerous cameos in several German films.
  • CET HOMME EST DANGEROUS
    (aka “This Manis Dangerous”)
    (1953, Sonofilm)
    Based on the Lemy Caution novel This Man Is Dangerous by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Jacques Berland
    Directed by Jean Sacha
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
  • LES FEMMES S’EN BALANCENT
    (aka “Dames Get Along”)
    (1954, CICO-Pathe)
    Based on the Lemmy Caution novel Dames Don’t Care by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Bernard Borderie & Jacques Vilfrid
    Directed by Bernard Borderie
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
  • VOUS PIGEZ?
    (aka “Diamond Machine”)(1955, France)
    Based on the Lemmy Caution novel Don’t Get Me Wrong by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Victor Trivas & Jacques Doniol-Valcroze
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
  • COMMENT QU’ELLE EST!
    (aka “What a Girl!”)
    (1960, Prodis)
    Black & white
    Based on the Lemmy Caution novel I’ll Say She Does! by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Marc-Gilbert Sauvajon & Bernard Borderie
    Directed by Bernard Borderie
    Produced by Charles Borderie, Raymond Borderie
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    Also starring Françoise Brion, André Luguet, Françoise Prévost
  • ÇA VA ÊTRE TA FÊTE
    (1960)
    Based on characters created by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Norman Krasna, Pierre Montazel, Clarence Weff
    Directed by Pierre Montazel
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    Also starring 
    Barbara Laage, Stefan Schnabel, Claude Cerval, Saro Urzì, Norma Burgo, Clarence Weff
  • COMMENT QU’ELLE EST?
    (aka “Women Are like That)
    (1960)
    Based on a novel by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Bernard Borderie and Marc-Gilbert Sauvajon
    Directed by Bernard Borderie
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    Also starring
    Françoise Brion, Alfred Adam, Renaud Mary, Robert Berri, Nicolas Vogel, Françoise Prévost, André Luguet, Fabienne Dali, Jacques Seiler
  • LEMMY POUR LES DAMES
    (aka “Ladies’ Man)
    (1962)
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    Also starring Françoise Brion, Claudine Coster, Éliane d’Almeida, Yvonne Monlaur, Jacques Berthier, Robert Berri, Guy Delorme, Lionel Roc, Paul Mercey, Jacques Hilling, Carita
  • À TOI DE FAIRE, MIGNONNE
    (aka ““L’agente federale Lemmy Caution,” “Your Turn, Darling”)
    (1963, Prodis)
    A French/Italian Production
    93 minutes
    Black & white, mono
    Based on Your Deal, My Lovely by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Marc-Gilbert Sauvajon & Bernard Borderie
    Directed by Bernard Borderie
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    Also starring Elga Andersen, Guy Delorme, Gaia Germani, Philippe Lemaire, Christiane Minazzoli, Enrico Pranzetti, Noël Roquevert
  • ALPHAVILLE Buy this video Buy this DVD
    (akaUne etrange Aventure de Lemmy Caution,”Alphaville: A Strange Case of Lemmy Caution” and “Tarzan Vs. IBM”)
    (1965, French)
    100 minutes
    Based on characters created by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Jean-Luc Godard
    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    Also starring Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff, Howard Vernon, László Szabó, Jean-Louis Comolli, Michel Delahaye, Jean-André Fieschi, Christa Lang, Jean-Pierre Léaud
  • ALLEMAGNE ANNÉE 90 NEUF ZÉRO
    (1991; aka “Germany Year 90 Nine Zero”)
    Based on characters created by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Jean-Luc Godard
    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION
    Also starring 
    Hanns Zischler, Claudia Michelsen, Nathalie Kadem, André S. Labarthe, Robert Wittmers, Kim Kashkashian, Anton Mossine
    The second collaboration between Godard and Constantine, although not officially a sequel to Alphaville. Also the final time that Constantine would play Lemmy.

CAMEO APPEARANCES IN FILM & TELEVISION BY EDDIE CONSTANTINE AS LEMMY CAUTION

  • PANISCHE ZEITEN
    (aka “Panic Time”)
    (1980; German)
    Film
  • KOTTAN ERMITTELT
    (1976-83; Austrian)
    TV series
    A long-running TV series, Eddie showed up in two episodes in 1983.
  • TIGER – FRÜHLING IN WIEN
    (aka “Springtime in Vienna)
    (1984; German)
    Film
  • MAKARONI BLUES
    (1986; Norweigian)
    Film

TELEVISION

  • LE RETOUR DE LEMMY CAUTION
    (1989)
    (TV mini-series)
    Starring Eddie Constantine as LEMMY CAUTION

RADIO

  • LEMMY CAUTION
    (1940s)
    Broadcast in Australia and New Zealand

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. The Alphaville poster was by Spanish artist by Macario “MAC” Gomez.

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