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The Spider Woman (1943)

Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of so-called "pajama suicides". He knows the female villain behind them is as cunning as Moriarty and as venomous as a spider.

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(screenplay), (story) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Vernon Downing ...
Norman Locke
Alec Craig ...
Radlik
Arthur Hohl ...
Gilflower
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sylvia Andrew ...
Charwoman (scenes deleted)
Marie De Becker ...
Charwoman (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

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Here is crawling death sent to Sherlock Holmes by the most fiendish killer of all... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

21 January 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The seventh of fourteen films based on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, Holmes appears to be fly-fishing in white water rapids. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
News Vendor: Read all about the pyjama suicide. Here you are, governor. Thank you, sir. Thank you. Read all about it, another pyjama suicide.
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Connections

Followed by Terror by Night (1946) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Female Of The Species Is More Deadly Than The Male
4 December 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Sherlock Holmes matches wits with THE SPIDER WOMAN, a fiendish femme fatale responsible for a series of ingenious London murders.

Holmes & Watson face one of their most dangerous enemies in this highly enjoyable little crime mystery. Angry arachnids, toxic gas, Hitler's deadly heart and a very sinister little boy are only some of the elements Holmes must contend with in order to solve the latest crime spree to baffle the Metropolitan Police. Behind it all is the malice of a clever, cruel & cunning woman who gleefully challenges the great detective to do his best to stop her.

The movie is not without its faults. The brief running time and abrupt conclusion are unfortunate, and the ultimate reason for all the murders is really not all that exciting, but the vivid characters and dangerous adventure more than compensate for the film's shortcomings.

Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce remain perfect in their leading roles. Rathbone obviously relished playing the cerebral genius and he gets to spice out his characterization with a couple of dead-on disguises. Bumbling Bruce only grows more lovable with each passing film, playing his part with fierce loyalty as well as charming naiveté.

Oscar winning actress Gale Sondergaard portrays the title role with deadly feline guile, teasing Holmes the way a cat plays with a mouse. Alec Craig & Arthur Hohl steal a few screen moments as eccentric entomologists. Back for their recurring roles are Dennis Hoey as dogged Inspector Lestrade and dear Mary Gordon as Mrs. Hudson.

This film -- which was based on wisps of plot from Conan Doyle's

The Final Problem, The Empty House, The Speckled Band, The Sign of Four, and The Devil's Foot -- followed SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943) and preceded THE SCARLET CLAW (1944). Miss Sondergaard reprised her villainous role two years later in THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946).


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