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The Pearl of Death (1944)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 1 August 1944 (USA)
When a valuable pearl with a sinister reputation is stolen, Sherlock Holmes must investigate its link to a series of brutal murders.

Director:

Roy William Neill

Writers:

Bertram Millhauser (screenplay), Arthur Conan Doyle (story "The Six Napoleons") (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce ... Doctor Watson
Dennis Hoey ... Lestrade
Evelyn Ankers ... Naomi Drake
Miles Mander ... Giles Conover
Ian Wolfe ... Amos Hodder
Charles Francis Charles Francis ... Digby
Holmes Herbert ... James Goodram
Richard Aherne Richard Aherne ... Bates (as Richard Nugent)
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Hudson
Rondo Hatton ... The Creeper
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Storyline

When a pearl with a sinister reputation for causing misfortune to its owners is stolen from a museum by a master criminal because of Sherlock Holmes' show-boating, he is naturally obliged to find it. Soon, he learns of a series of brutal murders that seemed to have been commited by a malevolent man mountain known only as the Creeper. Now, Holmes must deal with the seemingly overwhelming menace of this man and his boss in order to retrieve the pearl. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE SECRET OF THE GEM OF DOOM! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes in Pearl of Death See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Rondo Hatton would play a different CREEPER in two follow-ups not related to this film, "House of Horrors" and "The Brute Man, " both completed in 1945, but released following Hatton's death, which occurred on February 2, 1946. See more »

Goofs

At around 44 minutes, the newspaper says "srriking" instead of "striking". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Courier: Who's there?
First Ship's Steward: Steward, sir.
Courier: I say, we're not at Dover yet, are we?
First Ship's Steward: No sir, but there's a message for you, sir, in the wireless room.
Courier: I'll be right there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

US War Bonds promo tagged onto the end of the film reads: "You're not giving-just lending-when you buy war savings stamps and bonds-on sale here." See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Slight Case of Murder (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Holmes' Creeping Menace
11 February 2005 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

While searching for THE PEARL OF DEATH, Holmes & Watson encounter a master criminal and his terrifying backbreaking thug.

This vivid & suspenseful film makes a welcome addition in the series of movies highlighting the exploits of Baker Street's most famous inhabitants. There is danger around every corner and Holmes must match his intellect against raw brute evil as he attempts to recover the Black Pearl of the Borgias. As always, Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce are beyond praise as they bring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's celebrated characters to life. To the viewers' delight, Holmes finds he can be thoroughly duped and Watson uses his mouth for something other than gab.

Holmes' rivals for possession of the Pearl are little Miles Mander and pretty Evelyn Ankers. Together, they provide the master detective with one of his most challenging cases. All three characters (most especially the men) make good use of cunning disguises to try to find the diminutive treasure.

Dennis Hoey as the inept but courageous Inspector Lestrade and dear Mary Gordon as Mrs. Hudson return to roles they've already essayed very well in the past. The always reliable Ian Wolfe has the small part of a helpful crockery shop proprietor.

The most intriguing member of the cast is Rondo Hatton, a tragic sufferer from acromegaly, a terrible disease which deformed his body into a grotesque horror. He is most effective as the sinister Creeper, especially during his few moments with Rathbone at the film's climax, and he was immediately spun-off into cheaply produced chillers playing essentially the same character. Apparently he hated being exploited, but this was to end sadly with his sudden death in 1945.

Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Billy Bevan as a meal-bearing constable.

This film was loosely based on Conan Doyle's short story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons. It was preceded by THE SCARLET CLAW (1944) and followed by THE HOUSE OF FEAR (1945).


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