Sherlock Holmes is intrigued when Dr. Watson's friend, Julian 'Stinky' Emery, visits and tells them of a strange robbery at his flat the previous night. Stinky is an avid collector of music boxes and has several quite expensive pieces in his vast collection. The previous night, someone broke into his flat and knocked him unconscious when he tried to intervene. All they took however was a simple wooden music box he had bought at auction that day for a mere £2. The box was one of three available for sale and as Holmes and Watson begin to trace the other purchasers, it becomes apparent that someone will stop at nothing, including murder, to retrieve all three. When Holmes learns the identity of the music box maker, he is convinced it contains directions to the retrieval of something very valuable that the government has kept from the public.Written by
One of several titles in the Sherlock Holmes series whose original copyrights were apparently not renewed and have thereby fallen into public domain; as a result, seriously inferior copies are presently being offered by a number of VHS and DVD dealers who do not have access to original studio masters. See more »
It seems unlikely that Holmes would be playing "Danny Boy" on his violin, a sentimental ballad more associated with the Irish community and popular with American film audiences at the time. The tune is not mentioned in any of the stories, where he played classical music, more likely Mendelssohn. See more »
This movie's final credit sequence rolled over a scene of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce leaving Dr. Johnston's house. This sequence was later removed by a TV distributor and has been replaced with a THE END frame from one of the earlier Sherlock Holmes films. See more »
The opening credits were also trimmed by the same distributor; the only version the restorers could find that had the film's title on it was from an old broadcast print whose image was blown up to match the size of the rest of the film. See more »
The last in a wonderful cycle of 14 movies that got launched by a different major production company but always kept the brilliant duo of lead actors Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes and his loyal assistant Dr. Watson. Some say this is a much weaker entry in the series but, quite frankly, I have no idea on what arguments those opinions are based, as this is another marvelously scripted and professionally directed detective adventure! When an old school friend of Dr. Watson is found murdered, Sherlock Holmes immediately suspects that this has something to do with his latest collector's item purchase, namely a wooden musical box. Two other identical boxes were made by a convicted burglar in prison and the altered melody hides a secret code that leads his accomplices to the location of two stolen Bank of England printing plates! True, the valuable-objects-hidden-at-different-locations premise is somewhat similar to the previous Holmes film "The Pearl of Death" and may therefore come across as unoriginal, but the screenplay contains more than enough variety to make "The Secret Code" another very compelling mystery film. Holmes female opponent, for example, is a truly clever woman who nearly succeeds in setting a trap for our brilliant detective during a very well-mounted sequence. Furthermore, "The Secret Code" (I refuse to use the completely irrelevant title "Dressed to Kill") is fast-paced and contains loads of terrific dialogues. As usual, Bruce's character Dr. Watson provides the story with a couple of neat comical moments, most notably the scene in which he tries to comfort a little girl who just got traumatized by imitating the sound of a duck...impressively, I may add.
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