Holmes, retired to Sussex, is drawn into a last case when.arch enemy Moriarty arranges with an American gang to kill one John Douglas, a country gentleman with a mysterious past. Holmes' ... See full summary »
Leslie S. Hiscott
Sherlock Holmes has retired. But when MacDonald asks him to take on another case, he says yes. There has been some mysterious murders, and there are no visible causes for the deaths. At the... See full summary »
Professor Moriarity has a scheme for stealing the crown jewels from the Tower of London. To get Holmes involved, he persuades a gaucho flute player to murder a girl. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Released in the landmark movie year of 1939, this is my favorite Sherlock Holmes film. It is set in the proper period, has a reasonable budget, excellent sets, and fog so thick one would have to cut it with a razor. The story has to do with Professor Moriarity's scheme to steal the crown jewels. More than anything, however, the movie is a vehicle for Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, whose interpretations of Holmes and Watson are so engaging and larger than life that several decades later actors are still compared (usually unfavorably) to these two whenever they attempt to take on these roles. Rathbone makes an impressive Holmes,--cunning, gentlemanly, high-minded, somewhat competitive, intensely focused. One of the many things that makes Rathbone so perfect as Holmes is that while he may fall short of the mark in his portrayal of the character Conan Doyle created in print, he is an ideal movie Holmes. There's an heroic quality to him. Rathbone was more than a bit of a swashbuckler on screen, as is obvious in his many duels with Flynn and Power, and he brought some of this edgy, assertive quality to his interpretation of Holmes, and as is so often the case when an actor varies somewhat from a character created in fiction (Bogart is a far cry from Hammett's "blonde Satan" of a Sam Spade), this can actually work in his favor. Rathbone is Hollywood's Sherlock Holmes, and I can't imagine a better one. Bruce often played Watson as a bumbler later in the series, but in the early entries was more serious and competent. His movie Watson is overall somewhat comical, and creates a charming contrast to the grim, determined Holmes, and works for me because I like a little respite from the seriousness of a mystery, any mystery, since the genre is melodramatic, and hard to take when it gets too heavy. With Bruce on hand it never does.
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