IMDb > The Spider Woman (1944)
The Spider Woman
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The Spider Woman (1944) More at IMDbPro »

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Bertram Millhauser (screenplay)
Arthur Conan Doyle (story)
View company contact information for The Spider Woman on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 January 1944 (USA) See more »
Grim mystery to hold you breathless! See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(8 articles)
User Reviews:
It's an open and shut case... with air-holes drilled into it. See more (40 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes

Nigel Bruce ... Doctor Watson

Gale Sondergaard ... Adrea Spedding
Dennis Hoey ... Inspector Lestrade
Vernon Downing ... Norman Locke
Alec Craig ... Henchman Radlik
Arthur Hohl ... Adam Gilflower
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Hudson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sylvia Andrew ... Charwoman (scenes deleted)
Marie De Becker ... Charwoman (scenes deleted)
Jimmy Aubrey ... News Vendor (uncredited)
Frank Benson ... Toy Doll Attendant (uncredited)
Lydia Bilbrook ... Susan (uncredited)
John Burton ... Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Harry Cording ... Fred Garvin - Henchman on Roof (uncredited)
Teddy Infuhr ... Larry (uncredited)
George Kirby ... News Vendor (uncredited)
Stanley Logan ... Robert (uncredited)
Wilbur Mack ... Casino Patron (uncredited)
Belle Mitchell ... Fortune Teller (uncredited)
Edmund Mortimer ... Casinl Patron (uncredited)
John Roche ... Casino Croupier (uncredited)
Angelo Rossitto ... Obongo - Pygmy (uncredited)
Gene Roth ... Henchman Taylor (uncredited)
Arthur Stenning ... Plainclothesman (uncredited)
Donald Stuart ... Artie - Shooting Gallery Attendant (uncredited)
Florence Wix ... Casino Patron (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
Original Music by
Hans J. Salter (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Charles Van Enger (director of photography)
Film Editing by
William Austin 
Art Direction by
John B. Goodman 
Martin Obzina 
Set Decoration by
Russell A. Gausman  (as R.A. Gausman)
Edward R. Robinson  (as Edward Ray Robinson)
Costume Design by
Vera West (gowns)
Sound Department
Bernard B. Brown .... sound director
Paul Neal .... sound technician
Music Department
Hans J. Salter .... musical director (as H.J. Salter)
Frank Skinner .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman" - USA (review title)
"Sherlock Holmes in the Spider Woman" - USA (DVD title)
See more »
63 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Finland:K-7 (2013) | Sweden:15 | USA:Approved (certificate #9470)

Did You Know?

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 »
Factual errors: 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 »
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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes (1985) (V)See more »


Chicago Opening Happened When?
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
It's an open and shut case... with air-holes drilled into it., 27 November 2011
Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England

Adrea Spedding (Gale Sondergaard), the evil mastermind of The Spider Woman, concocts a particularly absurd scheme in order to make herself filthy rich: she convinces wealthy men with cash flow problems to use their life insurance policies as collateral against a loan; then she bumps them off, not with anything as simple as a gun or dagger, but by releasing a pygmy into the ventilation ducts where they live, and having him release a poisonous spider into their bedroom while they sleep. So excruciating is the pain from the spider's bite, that the men hurl themselves to their death rather than endure the agony. With no clues as to why the men have killed themselves (the obedient spider obviously having wandered back into the vent having done his duty), the press report these mysterious deaths as 'pyjama suicides'.

Holmes (Basil Rathbone) naturally suspects otherwise and cooks up with own crazy plan to discover the truth: whilst enjoying a relaxing fishing break in Scotland with trusty sidekick Watson (Nigel Bruce), the great detective fakes his own death, and then adopts a series of silly disguises to investigate the case, soon coming face to face with The Spider Woman, who proves to be every bit as devious and deadly as Holmes' old nemesis Moriarty, but better looking.

This preposterous plot makes for one of the most entertaining films in the series, Holmes' sporting patently false facial hair for his roles as a rude postie and a down-on-his luck Indian Rajni Singh, Watson making a complete fool of himself with an eminent entomologist, and Spedding ordering pint-sized Obongo from the Congo, the Prancing Pygmy (Angelo Rossitto, one-half of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome's Master Blaster) back into his case! The film also benefits from a suitably silly ending in which Adrea tries to do away with Holmes in a manner so convoluted it would shame Austin Powers' Dr. Evil: she ties him up in a fairground shooting gallery, his heart directly behind one of the targets, and leaves it up to an oblivious Watson to do her dirty work!

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Not the movie I was looking for - where are the mechanical spiders? P_Bear
Pigmy-creature? yeoffthecat
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