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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 1 September 1939 (USA)
The master sleuth hunts his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century.

Director:

(as Alfred Werker)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as William Drake) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Sherlock Holmes
... Dr. Watson
... Ann Brandon
... Jerrold Hunter
... Billy
... Professor Moriarty
... Sir Ronald Ramsgate
... Inspector Bristol
... Bassick
May Beatty ... Mrs. Jameson
Peter Willes ... Lloyd Brandon
... Mrs. Hudson
... Justice
... Mateo
Mary Forbes ... Lady Conyngham
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Storyline

Professor Moriarity has a scheme for stealing the crown jewels from the Tower of London. To get Holmes involved, he persuades a gaucho flute player to murder a girl. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Struggle of Super-Minds in the Crime of the Century!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

1 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Holmes rewards Billy with a sixpence, and Billy exclaims, "Blimey, a tanner!" Tanner was a slang word for the pre-decimalization silver sixpence. See more »

Goofs

The balloon goblet with the flies is alternately covered and not covered in successive shots. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Sherlock Holmes: Very effective, my dear Watson!
Doctor John H. Watson: Elementary, my dear Holmes, elementary.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sherlock Holmes (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside
(uncredited)
Written and Composed by John Glover Kind
Performed by Basil Rathbone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Classy Crime Caper
25 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES takes him into deadly conflict with Britain's most dangerous criminal mastermind, Professor Moriarty.

20th Century Fox takes us back to the foggy London streets of 1894 in these exciting exploits of the world's most famous private consulting detective. The production values are of a high order in this story based on William Gillette's stage play about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's celebrated characters. Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce return as Holmes and Watson, perfectly portraying that legendary literary partnership with good grace and cheerfulness, Rathbone allowing some traces of humanity to infuse Holmes' cerebral haughtiness, and Bruce, bumbling and big-hearted, enacting the embodiment of a staunch companion and friend.

Unfairly relegated to 6th place billing is George Zucco, marvelous as Moriarty. He presents us with a consummate villain of enormous intellect & subtle nuance, a monster passionate about his exotic plants but indifferent to human life. It is highly enjoyable watching him plot a dastardly crime while engaging in a masterful duel of wits with Holmes.

The other roles are also very well cast and highlight some fine British character actors: lovely Ida Lupino as a young woman frantic over an unknown evil stalking her family; handsome Alan Marshal as her family's lawyer; dignified Henry Stephenson as the worried Constable of the Tower of London; E.E. Clive as the dogged Scotland Yard inspector; and Mary Forbes as a kindly noblewoman who befriends Miss Lupino.

Some rather brief performances also enhance the whole: Mary Gordon as Holmes' grandmotherly landlady and young Terry Kilburn as his page boy; Peter Willes as Miss Lupino's terrified brother; elderly Frank Dawson as Moriarty's harassed butler; Holmes Herbert as a highly frustrated Law Court Justice; and William Austin as a stranger who has a peculiar encounter with Watson on a London sidewalk.

Two lighthearted moments especially standout -- Rathbone delightfully in disguise, and, at the very conclusion of the film, Watson deftly turning the tables on Holmes.

This was the second in a series of Holmes films starring Rathbone & Bruce which began at Fox Studios. It followed THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1939) and, after the jump to Universal Studios, preceded SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR (1942) three years later.


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