IMDb > Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
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Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943) More at IMDbPro »


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Bertram Millhauser (screenplay)
Arthur Conan Doyle (story)
View company contact information for Sherlock Holmes Faces Death on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 September 1943 (USA) See more »
THEIR NEWEST AND GREATEST ADVENTURE! (original poster-all caps)
During WWII several murders occur at a convalescent home where Dr. Watson has volunteered his services... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(5 articles)
User Reviews:
First glimpse at a new Holmes...or the resurgence of the old one See more (41 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes

Nigel Bruce ... Doctor Watson
Dennis Hoey ... Inspector Lestrade
Arthur Margetson ... Dr. Bob Sexton
Hillary Brooke ... Sally Musgrave
Halliwell Hobbes ... Alfred Brunton
Minna Phillips ... Mrs. Howells aka Mrs. Brunton

Milburn Stone ... Capt. Pat Vickery
Gavin Muir ... Phillip Musgrave
Gerald Hamer ... Maj. Langford
Vernon Downing ... Lt. Clavering
Olaf Hytten ... Capt. MacIntosh
Frederick Worlock ... Geoffrey Musgrave (as Frederic Worlock)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Martin Ashe ... Slinking Figure (uncredited)
Joan Blair ... Nora, Maid (uncredited)
Charles Coleman ... Constable (uncredited)
Harold De Becker ... Pub Proprietor (uncredited)
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Hudson (uncredited)

Peter Lawford ... Young Sailor at Bar (uncredited)
Dick Rush ... Constable (uncredited)
Eric Snowden ... Sailor Trying to Play Piano (uncredited)

Norma Varden ... Gracie, Barmaid (uncredited)
Heather Wilde ... Jenny, Maid (uncredited)

Directed by
Roy William Neill 
Writing credits
Bertram Millhauser (screenplay)

Arthur Conan Doyle (story) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Produced by
Roy William Neill .... producer
Cinematography by
Charles Van Enger (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.  (as Fred Feitshans)
Art Direction by
John B. Goodman 
Harold H. MacArthur  (as Harold McArthur)
Set Decoration by
Russell A. Gausman  (as R.A. Gausman)
Edward R. Robinson  (as E.R. Robinson)
Costume Design by
Vera West (gowns)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Melville Shyer .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Bernard B. Brown .... sound director
Paul Neal .... sound technician
Edwin Wetzel .... sound (uncredited)
Music Department
Hans J. Salter .... musical director (as H.J. Salter)
Frank Skinner .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
68 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Finland:K-7 (2013) | Finland:K-16 (1946) | Sweden:15 | UK:U | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (certificate #9405)

Did You Know?

References Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes story, The Musgrave Ritual.See more »
Anachronisms: The land grant / crown grant that was given to the Musgraves by a King Henry, lists King Henry as being King of "Great Britain, France Scotland and Ireland." This is in error, since there have been only "8" King Henry's in England's history, the last being "Henry VIII" in the 16th century. England didn't become part of "Great Britain" until 1707, with the "Act of Union" passed under Queen Anne. This occurred 160 years after Henry VIII's death. There is also some doubt regarding the use of "France", since France oftentimes either wasn't a united country or existed side-by-side with England, thus making for confusion. The English king in question, would likely have referred not to "France" as part of his kingdom, but to which territories (such as Normandy) he controlled.See more »
Dr. John H. Watson:Hurlston? Grim old pile. Very spooky.
Sherlock Holmes:Don't tell me that you met a ghost?
Dr. John H. Watson:No, not so spooky as that. Ghosts don't stab people in the neck, do they? Or do they?
Sherlock Holmes:Not well-bred ghosts, Watson.
See more »
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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
First glimpse at a new Holmes...or the resurgence of the old one, 21 February 2006
Author: james_oblivion from Nowhere Interesting

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death is the first film in the Universal Sherlock Holmes series (1942 -1946) to abandon the idea of Sherlock Holmes as a prototypical 007 spy-hunter, battling Nazi agents and keeping Britain safe from the Axis powers. The bizarre experiment which began, apparently without a shred of irony, with Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror was brutally maimed when Sherlock Holmes in Washington flopped. And so, the direction of the series changed (for the better) with the fourth outing, Sherlock Holmes Faces the point that it can almost be viewed as the starting point of a completely new Holmes series.

Here, the allusions to WWII are vague, at best. Gone are the overt references to the Nazis and the intrusive patriotic speeches...which merely impeded upon the proceedings in the previous films. Holmes is in his element here, solving a dense mystery by using deductive reasoning. The film is still modern, making use of such devices as automobiles, telephones, and electric lights. But this is all incidental. If we overlook the updating of the surface elements, the story itself is rather timeless. Telephones and automobiles were present in Conan Doyle's later Holmes stories, anyway...and the Gothic tone of this film (and several of those which followed) gives it an almost Victorian or Edwardian feel, despite being obviously set in the mid-20th Century. And most importantly, Holmes is back to the business he should never have abandoned.

Loosely based on The Musgrave Ritual, the film is entertaining and certainly of higher technical quality than its predecessors, despite the fact that the series was forever doomed to the ranks of the low budget B-picture. The camera work is evocative, with fluid motions and intriguing angles...which would become a staple of the Holmes series...and the direction is excellent, with Roy William Neill (who also began his role as Associate Producer with this film) really coming into his own as the driving force behind the franchise. Rathbone's Holmes (whose hair has, thankfully, undergone quite a transformation) is in better form here than in previous entries...detached and focused, he relies on reasoning, rather than chance, in order to solve the mystery that's presented to him. Nigel Bruce, as Watson, turns in his usual bumbling-yet-lovable performance. Dennis Hoey once again manages to out-bumble Watson as Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard...a canonical character who made his first Universal appearance in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, and would go on to appear in a total of six of the twelve films.

Overall, not the best film in the series, but a step in the right direction. Once the filmmakers got their proper footing, in regard to the series' new and improved direction, they produced much better work...peaking, many (myself included) would attest, in 1944 with The Scarlet Claw. Other subsequent Holmes titles, such as The Spider Woman and Terror By Night, also outshine, in my estimation, this fourth Universal venture. But this film marked the great change that heralded all the treasures to come...and as such, has amassed much favor among fans and critics alike. And rightly so.

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