Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret which he will do anything to protect, even if that means driving his wife insane.
A woman on the run from the mob is reluctantly accepted in a small Colorado town. In exchange, she agrees to work for them. As a search visits town, she finds out that their support has a price. Yet her dangerous secret is never far away...
The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Sherlock Holmes takes on a case that the press has dubbed the pajama suicides. Eminent men are going to bed in the safety of their own homes, with everything seemingly being normal, only to commit suicide in the night. Holmes fakes his own death in the hopes of giving him a freer hand in the investigation and is convinced that a woman, a female Moriarty as he describes her, is behind the deaths. The dead men were all eminent and very wealthy. He impersonates a wealthy retired Indian military officer in the hope of drawing out the woman and he soon meets Adrea Spedding but she quickly sees through his disguise and proves herself to be the challenge Holmes predicted she would be. She is a worthy adversary and soon traps him setting him up in a carnival shooting gallery that seems to assure his death. Written by
The first time Sherlock Holmes refers to the deadly spider that caused all of the suicides and nearly killed him, he calls it an "insect". Spider are "arachnids", which have 8-legs and 2 body segments, unlike "insects" which are 6-legged and have 3 body segments. Holmes is unlikely to make such a mistake. See more »
Sherlock Holmes in The Spider Woman faces a female master criminal, one as Basil Rathbone describes 'as deadly as Moriarty'. Gale Sondergaard is in the infamous title role and she's got the brain of a Professor Moriarty and the charm of a Mata Hari.
In fact as the film begins Holmes and Watson are finally on a long postponed fishing trip in Scotland and they are discussing a series of suicides of wealthy men, men dying with no apparent cause. Forensics certainly was not what it is today or Gale Sondergaard's method of execution might have been discovered.
Holmes fakes his own death, the better to put the still unknown villain at some ease and for him to assume some disguise. Rathbone's disguise as an Indian Maharajah is a good one, but Sondergaard sees right through it. Then it's a battle of brains and wits.
The Spider Woman is a good if not great Holmes feature totally dominated by Gale Sondergaard's evil character. Sondergaard even got another crack at the role of the Spider Woman. She earned it with this film.
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