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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 1 September 1939 (USA)
The master sleuth hunts his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century.

Director:

(as Alfred Werker)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as William Drake) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Jerrold Hunter
...
Billy
...
...
Sir Ronald Ramsgate
...
Inspector Bristol
Arthur Hohl ...
May Beatty ...
Mrs. Jameson
Peter Willes ...
Lloyd Brandon
Mary Gordon ...
...
Justice
...
Mateo
Mary Forbes ...
Lady Conyngham
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Struggle of Super-Minds in the Crime of the Century!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alan Marshal, George Zucco, and Mary Gordon (uncredited) also appear in the 1936 movie, After The Thin Man. See more »

Goofs

At c.10 minutes Holmes' left-hand fingers barely move and his right hand is equally immobile when he plays his violin, pizzicato, emphasizing that he is miming throughout. See more »

Quotes

Dawes: You wanted to see me, sir?
Professor Moriarty: I'm away for a few weeks, Dawes, and I come back to find my anthurium magenta, my incomparable anthurium magenta, withered, ruined...
Dawes: I can't understand it, sir; I took good care of all the plants.
Professor Moriarty: Did you water them?
Dawes: Every day, sir - just as you told me, sir.
Professor Moriarty: Then how does it happen that I find a spider's web spun across the spout of the watering can?
Dawes: That can happen overnight, sir.
Professor Moriarty: Overnight, huh? Then you didn't water them today?
Dawes: There's been so much to do, sir, ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Followed by The House of Fear (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside
(uncredited)
Written and Composed by John Glover Kind
Performed by Basil Rathbone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good Cast, Atmosphere, & Action
3 June 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

The cast, atmosphere, & action in this version of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" are all good reasons why it is an enjoyable feature. The story is very loosely based on a play that itself had freely adapted some of Doyle's characters and plot ideas, and thus the plot is essentially entirely new, yet the Victorian atmosphere and Basil Rathbone's portrayal of the great detective give it a pretty good "Holmes" feel.

The basic story idea has Professor Moriarty scheming to exploit one of Holmes's few weaknesses, and although the plot in itself does not come from the novels, it is a perceptive way of using the characters. There are some loose ends in the story that would have been tied together except for some studio-decreed cuts; the notes that accompany the DVD release are quite helpful in covering what was omitted.

George Zucco makes fine use of his screen time as Moriarty, and Ida Lupino makes her character a demure and appealing heroine in distress, while showing some good spirit at the right times. Nigel Bruce's Watson has a rather different feel from Doyle's character, but he gets some good moments of his own here, and Bruce does well with them.

For a great many Sherlock Holmes fans, nothing can now rival the magnificent Jeremy Brett versions from the 1980s and 1990s, with their marvelous atmosphere, careful story adaptations, and Brett's penetrating portrayal of Holmes. But until those were made, Basil Rathbone's portrayal of the detective was as good as any of the many actors who had played him. This movie and its predecessor "The Hound of the Baskervilles" are among the most enjoyable of all of the Rathbone features, for their atmosphere and their lively stories.


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