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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

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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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 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 set of Holmes' digs is different to that of latter films in the series maybe due to the change in film studios. Also see the staircase from the front door to his rooms. See more »

Goofs

(at around 40 mins) Holmes closes the door in a closeup shot smoking his pipe. As the camera cuts to a wide shot the pipe is gone. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Sherlock Holmes: Very effective, my dear Watson!
Doctor John H. Watson: Elementary, my dear Holmes, elementary.
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 sings was changed from "By the Sea" to "I've got a Loverly Bunch of Cocoanuts." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Angel: Release (2003) 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

Good Cast, Atmosphere, & Action
3 June 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

The cast, atmosphere, & action in this version of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" are all good reasons why it is an enjoyable feature. The story is very loosely based on a play that itself had freely adapted some of Doyle's characters and plot ideas, and thus the plot is essentially entirely new, yet the Victorian atmosphere and Basil Rathbone's portrayal of the great detective give it a pretty good "Holmes" feel.

The basic story idea has Professor Moriarty scheming to exploit one of Holmes's few weaknesses, and although the plot in itself does not come from the novels, it is a perceptive way of using the characters. There are some loose ends in the story that would have been tied together except for some studio-decreed cuts; the notes that accompany the DVD release are quite helpful in covering what was omitted.

George Zucco makes fine use of his screen time as Moriarty, and Ida Lupino makes her character a demure and appealing heroine in distress, while showing some good spirit at the right times. Nigel Bruce's Watson has a rather different feel from Doyle's character, but he gets some good moments of his own here, and Bruce does well with them.

For a great many Sherlock Holmes fans, nothing can now rival the magnificent Jeremy Brett versions from the 1980s and 1990s, with their marvelous atmosphere, careful story adaptations, and Brett's penetrating portrayal of Holmes. But until those were made, Basil Rathbone's portrayal of the detective was as good as any of the many actors who had played him. This movie and its predecessor "The Hound of the Baskervilles" are among the most enjoyable of all of the Rathbone features, for their atmosphere and their lively stories.


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