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Dressed to Kill (1946)

Approved | | 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.

Director:

Roy William Neill

Writers:

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

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 ... Colonel 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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Queen . . . of a Crime Cult !

Genres:

Crime | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

(video) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Black & White and Color)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Watson falters, an instant, as he opens the lid of the musical box after removing it from the biscuit jar, causing the lid to mostly fall closed again for a second, before he lifts if open fully. Yet, the tinkly music continues to play seamlessly, without any interruption from having the lid closed again momentarily. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Inspector Hopkins: I still don't understand how you solved it, Mr. Holmes.
Holmes: It's entirely due to Doctor Watson. He gave me the clue when he mentioned Doctor Samuel Johnson.
Inspector Hopkins: Well, congratulations, Doctor.
Watson: Oh, thank you, Inspector. I don't think I could have done it entirely without Mr. Holmes' help, you know.
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

Originally, this movie ended with the final credits superimposed over a shot of Holmes and Watson leaving Dr. Johnson's house. This footage was trimmed by TV distributors and is now lost, so the MPI restorers had to tack on a THE END sequence from another film to finish this Sherlock Holmes film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Crime Wave: 50 Movie Mega Pack (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314
(1867) (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauss
Played on a music box at the toy store
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Their Last Bow
8 July 2005 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

An exceedingly cunning female is DRESSED TO KILL as she challenges Sherlock Holmes for the possession of three nondescript music boxes from Dartmoor Prison.

Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce step in front of the movie cameras one last time as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary characters in this intriguing murder mystery. While it's fun to see the plot get solved the real enjoyment comes from simply being in the company of two very fine actors as they breathe life into their roles. As Sherlock Holmes, Rathbone gives us the great detective in all his cerebral glory, putting his whole intellect into breaking an exceptionally difficult code. Bruce, as Dr. Watson, is all bumbling geniality, quietly loyal to his friend, and, for one delightful moment, even quacking like a duck while trying to soothe a distraught child. Rathbone & Bruce gave us one of cinema's iconic partnerships, forever influencing how we cast Doyle's stories in the theater of our minds.

As in all the previous Holmes films a sturdy supporting cast keeps the intricate plot moving along: Patricia Morison as the exceptionally clever woman in search of the music boxes; Holmes Herbert as a punctilious auctioneer; Edmund Breon as an eccentric collector; Frederick Worlock as a crooked colonel; Henry Cording as a sinister chauffeur; Patricia Cameron as a pretty toy shop owner; Ian Wolfe as the Commissioner of Scotland Yard; and dear Mary Gordon back for her final turn as Mrs. Hudson.

Movie mavens will recognize Olaf Hytten as the auction house bookkeeper; Marjorie Bennett as the top shop clerk; comic Charles Hall as a curious taxi driver; and Wally Scott as the busker in the pub whose encyclopedic knowledge of tunes comes in very handy for Holmes. All are uncredited.

This film, which borrowed the merest wisp of an idea from Sir Arthur's A Scandal in Bohemia, followed TERROR BY NIGHT (1946) and was the last in the cinematic series, although Rathbone & Bruce also played Holmes & Watson many scores of times on the radio.


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