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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:

Marked... for sudden and violent Death! A Girl risked everything for it! 20 men lost their lives for it! Who was the Creeper? 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

Shooting lasted from April 11-May 1, 1944, released September 22. 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 »

Connections

Follows Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Another good Holmes entry from Universal
22 February 2006 | by james_oblivionSee all my reviews

The Universal Holmes series was on a roll at this point, having just released what is probably the best film in the series, The Scarlet Claw, earlier the same year. This one is a bit of a step down, but on a par with earlier films like Sherlock Holmes Faces Death and The Spider Woman...and on a much higher level than the first three flag-waving WWII propaganda films.

This entry is based on the Arthur Conan Doyle story, The Six Napoleons. And while numerous changes were made, it actually follows the original story more closely than any of the other Universal pictures did. Most of the films were either very loose adaptations, amalgams of several different Holmes stories, or original scripts that were merely inspired by the Conan Doyle canon. This one, however, follows the general outline of the original story, while adding various subplots along the way. Overall, it works, even if it does seem to veer off-track at a few points.

These films were produced at breakneck speed (it was not uncommon for three Holmes films to be released in a single year) with fairly low budgets, but Roy William Neill knew how to achieve great results with his limited resources. As with its immediate predecessors, the camera-work in The Pearl of Death is strong and evocative, the direction is confident and effective, and the performances are, at least for the most part, fine to excellent. Rathbone's Holmes is once again in his proper element here, and Rathbone makes the most of the character.

The Pearl of Death is just a step below The Scarlet Claw, in my estimation...which still makes this outing quite enjoyable. Anyone who liked The Spider Woman, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, or The House of Fear will definitely appreciate this one. Out of the dozen Holmes films that Universal churned out between 1942 and 1946, this is one of the eight that I would say deserve to be called "great."


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