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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mistress of Murder! 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

Production Co:

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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 uncredited actor who played the pygmy was an achondroplastic dwarf in blackface makeup. A real pygmy would have been taller and better-proportioned. See more »

Goofs

A candy wrapper containing chemicals that created poison gas when tossed into a fire was later examined by Holmes but the wrapper was unburned. See more »

Quotes

Sherlock Holmes: [on the pyjama suicides] Directing them is one of the most fiendishly clever minds in all Europe today. I suspect a woman.
Dr. John H. Watson: You amaze me, Holmes. Why a woman?
Sherlock Holmes: Because the method, whatever it is, is particularly subtle and cruel. Feline, not canine.
Inspector Lestrade: Popycock. When a bloke does himself in, that's suicide.
Sherlock Holmes: Unless a bloke is driven to suicide; in that case it's murder.
Dr. John H. Watson: Driven? That *sounds* like a woman, doesn't it?
Sherlock Holmes: Definitley - a female Moriarty. Clever. Ruthless. And above all, cautious.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Dressed to Kill (1946) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very decent Holmes mystery
17 June 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

I'm becoming a huge fan of Universal's classic Sherlock Holmes series. The more of them I see, the more I enjoy the series and the more I am impressed by Basil Rathbone's excellent portrayal of the great literary detective. This mystery follows a mysterious series of suicides and it sees Holmes and his good friend Dr Watson at their best once again. While I wouldn't consider this entry in the series as one of the very best, it's certainly very good and anyone who likes this sort of thing will no doubt enjoy themselves. Really, though, Holmes could be investigating what makes steam come out of the kettle and it would be invigorating and exciting just thanks to the way that Basil Rathbone plays the man. The mannerisms, the voice and the screen presence of the great actor combine to create a fantastic representation of the eloquent detective and you really can't imagine anyone but Basil Rathbone playing Sherlock Holmes in these films. One problem with this entry in the series, however, is that it's very short at just an hour long and this ensures that the film can never really get it's teeth into the central mystery plot line, and it feels somewhat underdone because of this. However, this is made up for with some great sequences, most notably the one in which Doctor Watson meets an entomologist that Holmes has hired, which I say is the best scene in any Sherlock Holmes movie, ever. These sorts of films work because they're a lot of fun to watch, and this instalment is no different. If you like Sherlock Holmes mysteries; this isn't as good as the likes of Hound of the Baskervilles, The Scarlet Claw and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; but it stands up as an admirable entry into the series in it's own right!


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