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The Pearl of Death (1944)

Passed | | 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.


Roy William Neill


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




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


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


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


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


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 »


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


[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 »


Referenced in Sherlock: The Great Game (2010) See more »

User Reviews

Jeepers... it's The Creeper!
29 November 2011 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) allows arrogance to get in the way of common-sense, disarming a museum's alarm system to highlight its inadequacies, and giving criminal mastermind Giles Conover (Miles Mander) the ideal opportunity to make off with a legendary pearl in the process. Conover is quickly apprehended, but not before he has had a chance to stash the valuable gem inside a plaster Napolean bust.

In order to restore his tarnished reputation, Holmes sets out to locate the missing gem, following a trail of broken bodies and smashed crockery left in the wake of Conover's murderous henchman, a massive brute known as The Hoxton Creeper (Rondo Hatton), who is also looking for the pearl, snapping the back of anyone unlucky enough to have purchased one of the ornaments.

I have mixed feelings about The Pearl of Death: as perversely satisfying as it is to see London's greatest sleuth make a complete ass of himself for a change, I find it hard to accept that Holmes's mistake, a result of his pomposity, ultimately results in several innocent people being snapped like a twig by The Creeper; likewise, I struggle with the absurd level of buffoonery displayed by both Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) and Inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey)—while admittedly funny, it's extremely hard to swallow that they could really be that stupid.

In the end, it is Rondo Hatton's Hoxton Creeper that qualifies this film as essential viewing: born with the disfiguring condition acromegaly, which causes enlarged features, Hatton's ominous physical presence makes him a truly menacing foe, one guaranteed to send a chill down the spine (immediately before snapping it!).

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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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