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The Spider Woman (1944)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,539 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 16 critic

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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Adrea Spedding
Dennis Hoey ...
Vernon Downing ...
Norman Locke
Alec Craig ...
Henchman Radlik
Arthur Hohl ...
Adam Gilflower
Mary Gordon ...
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mistress of Murder ! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 January 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point Holmes says to Watson, "If you ever see me getting too sure again, fancying myself more clever then Adrea Spedding, just whisper one word to me: pygmy." This line was inspired by the short story "The Adventure of the Yellow Face," in which Holmes tells Watson, "If it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you." See more »

Goofs

When the impostor posing as Matthew Ordway knocks a terrarium of black widow spiders onto the floor and Watson reaches for the gun among them, Holmes shouts "Stop it, Watson! Those insects are deadly!" Spiders are not insects, and Holmes, having just revealed Ordway to be an impostor on the basis of the man's lack of knowledge about spiders, should know this. See more »

Quotes

Adrea Spedding: I'm so sorry we have nothing in the house for burns. I so seldom get burned.
See more »

Connections

Follows The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"As Deadly as Moriarty"
11 April 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

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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