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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:

Alfred L. Werker (as Alfred Werker)

Writers:

Edwin Blum (screenplay), William Absalom Drake (screenplay) (as William Drake) | 1 more credit »
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Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Hillary Brooke
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce ... Dr. Watson
Ida Lupino ... Ann Brandon
Alan Marshal ... Jerrold Hunter
Terry Kilburn ... Billy
George Zucco ... Professor Moriarty
Henry Stephenson ... Sir Ronald Ramsgate
E.E. Clive ... Inspector Bristol
Arthur Hohl ... Bassick
May Beatty May Beatty ... Mrs. Jameson
Peter Willes Peter Willes ... Lloyd Brandon
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Hudson
Holmes Herbert ... Justice
George Regas ... 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

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second film in the Sherlock Holmes series starring Basil Rathbone as the detective and Nigel Bruce as Dr Watson. This was set in 1894 London. All the subsequent films in the series were contemporary. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Doctor John H. Watson: [Regarding a rabbit's foot] I've always thought those things in very poor taste. Fancy going about with a dead animal's foot dangling from your pocket!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: In all my life I have encountered only one man whom I can truthfully call the very Genius of Evil -- Professor Moriarty. For eleven years he has eluded me. All the rest who opposed him are dead. He is the most dangerous criminal England has ever known. Sherlock Holmes. 9 May 1894. See more »

Alternate Versions

When this movie aired on WPBS, the song that Basil Rathbone sings was changed from "By the Sea" to "I've got a Loverly Bunch of Cocoanuts." See more »

Connections

Version of Sherlock Holmes (1951) 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

See more »

User Reviews

 
Classy Crime Caper
25 July 2004 | by Ron OliverSee 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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