Sherlock Holmes investigates when young women around London turn up murdered, each with a finger severed off. Scotland Yard suspects a madman, but Holmes believes the killings to be part of a diabolical plot.
A convicted thief in Dartmoor prison hides the location of the stolen Bank of England printing plates inside three music boxes. When the innocent purchasers of the boxes start to be murdered, Holmes and Watson investigate. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
During the UCLA Sherlock Holmes Restoration Project (1993-2003) they were unable to find any 35mm elements of the main title for this film. The restored version uses a blow-up from a used 16mm television syndication print which was dissolved into the proper point. The main title of the restored version shows a decrease in resolution, increased grain and a reduction in image registration. See more »
Dr. Watson is repeatedly described as having "no ear for music". Yet in two previous films of the series, he is seen both singing and playing the tuba. See more »
[remarking on one of his music boxes]
Charming, isn't it?
They all sound to me like a lot of mice running about a tin roof.
See more »
This movie's final credit sequence rolled over a scene of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce leaving Dr. Johnston's house. This sequence was later removed by a TV distributor and has been replaced with a THE END frame from one of the earlier Sherlock Holmes films. See more »
An exceedingly cunning female is DRESSED TO KILL as she challenges Sherlock Holmes for the possession of three nondescript music boxes from Dartmoor Prison.
Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce step in front of the movie cameras one last time as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary characters in this intriguing murder mystery. While it's fun to see the plot get solved the real enjoyment comes from simply being in the company of two very fine actors as they breathe life into their roles. As Sherlock Holmes, Rathbone gives us the great detective in all his cerebral glory, putting his whole intellect into breaking an exceptionally difficult code. Bruce, as Dr. Watson, is all bumbling geniality, quietly loyal to his friend, and, for one delightful moment, even quacking like a duck while trying to soothe a distraught child. Rathbone & Bruce gave us one of cinema's iconic partnerships, forever influencing how we cast Doyle's stories in the theater of our minds.
As in all the previous Holmes films a sturdy supporting cast keeps the intricate plot moving along: Patricia Morison as the exceptionally clever woman in search of the music boxes; Holmes Herbert as a punctilious auctioneer; Edmund Breon as an eccentric collector; Frederick Worlock as a crooked colonel; Henry Cording as a sinister chauffeur; Patricia Cameron as a pretty toy shop owner; Ian Wolfe as the Commissioner of Scotland Yard; and dear Mary Gordon back for her final turn as Mrs. Hudson.
Movie mavens will recognize Olaf Hytten as the auction house bookkeeper; Marjorie Bennett as the top shop clerk; comic Charles Hall as a curious taxi driver; and Wally Scott as the busker in the pub whose encyclopedic knowledge of tunes comes in very handy for Holmes. All are uncredited.
This film, which borrowed the merest wisp of an idea from Sir Arthur's A Scandal in Bohemia, followed TERROR BY NIGHT (1946) and was the last in the cinematic series, although Rathbone & Bruce also played Holmes & Watson many scores of times on the radio.
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