78 user 29 critic

Dressed to Kill (1946)

Passed | | Crime, Mystery | 7 June 1946 (USA)
Sherlock Holmes sets out to discover why a trio of murderous villains, including a dangerously attractive female, are desperate to obtain three unassuming and inexpensive little music boxes.


Roy William Neill


Leonard Lee (screenplay), Frank Gruber (adaptation) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce ... Doctor Watson
Patricia Morison ... Mrs. Hilda Courtney
Edmund Breon ... Julian 'Stinky' Emery (as Edmond Breon)
Frederick Worlock ... Col. Cavanaugh (as Frederic Worlock)
Carl Harbord Carl Harbord ... Inspector Hopkins
Patricia Cameron Patricia Cameron ... Evelyn Clifford
Holmes Herbert ... Ebenezer Crabtree
Harry Cording ... Hamid
Leyland Hodgson ... Tour Guide
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Hudson
Ian Wolfe ... Commissioner of Scotland Yard


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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Queen . . . of a Crime Cult ! See more »


Crime | Mystery


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Mention is made by Watson of two stories from the original canon; "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Solitary Cyclist." See more »


The first scenes show prisoners wearing clothes with wide arrows, a design introduced in the 1870s but discontinued in 1922. See more »


Watson: I say, Holmes?
Holmes: What?
Watson: It's morning.
Holmes: Allow me to congratulate you on a brilliant bit of deduction.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

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 »


Follows The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) See more »


London Bridge is Falling Down
Traditional children's song
Played on a music box at the toy store
See more »

User Reviews

The Last Of The Wonderful Rathbone-Bruce Holmes Movies
24 September 2007 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I have to agree with about everyone here on two things: 1 - it's sad to see this great combination of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce end its run of Sherlock Holmes films, and 2 - it's too bad it ended with a mediocre film.

The story involves several music boxes which are made in prison and sold at an auction. Whoever buys them, gets killed. (I was sorry to see Dr. Watson's friend "Stinky" bite the dust so early, as he was one of the more interesting characters.)

The main culprit is a deadly female who reminds Holmes of an ex-foe he has great respect for: "Irene Adler." This character is "Hilda Courtney" (Patricia Morrison).

Actually, if I was grading this, I'd give it a C for "average." It's not the worst one in the series, as some people think, but it's not riveting, either, and I can see why the guys decided to "pack it in" after this one. The end of World War II also signaled the end of this series as a number of them were WWII stories.

It was a wonderful ride. I own all of them in the series and have a high regard for everyone connected with the set. I still think Rathbone is THE Sherlock Holmes and always will be.

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Release Date:

7 June 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Prelude to Murder See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(video) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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