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
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>
Every great hero needs at least one arch enemy that nearly is his equivalent in intellectual faculties and ingenious working methods. For Sherlock Holmes this nemesis is Professor Moriarty and the fact that he appears in this film first, moreover portrayed by the more-than-brilliant cult star George Zucco, makes "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" maybe the single best entry in the long-running Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce movie cycle! The sublime interactions between Holmes and Moriarty lift the quality of this film up to an higher level and, for the first time ever, you get the impression that our master detective is up against an opponent who really forces him to use ALL of his intellect for once. Almost purely for the fun of it, Professor Moriarty decides to embarrass Sherlock Holmes and steal the hugely valuable crown jewels right from under his nose. Through well thought out red herrings and distractions, Moriarty manages to confuse Holmes and to mess up his sense for priority, giving him with a perfect opportunity to steal the jewels. This installment is less of a horror film because the emphasis merely lies on the nuanced acting performances as well as on the light-hearted rivalry between Holmes and Watson. The Victorian setting & timing is excellent, and you should enjoy it as much as you can here, because the series got uplifted to the actual 1940's after this, resulting in a lot of redundant wartime propaganda. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are splendid as usual, but the show is undeniably stolen by George Zucco in his familiar role of criminal mastermind. Particularly the sadistic yet sophisticated conversations with his butler are pure class. The only elements that slightly disappointed me was the rushed and action-packed ending which stands in contrast with the rest of the patiently scripted story. Nevertheless, highly recommended!
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