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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

The last of fourteen films based on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson. See more »

Goofs

The reflected image in Hilda Courtney's makeup-mirror is the same orientation as the real scene, rather than being reversed, as it would be when viewed in a mirror. See more »

Quotes

Holmes: [Holmes and Watson are in a pub to see Joe Cisto, a piano player. Holmes introduces Cisto to Watson] I want you to meet a friend of mine, Dr. Watson. Joe Cisto.
Joe Cisto: Oh, well, any friend of Mr. Holmes is a friend of mine.
Watson: How are you, Joe?
Joe Cisto: He did me a good turn once that I'll never forget.
Holmes: Yes, I cleared Joe of a most unpleasant charge.
Joe Cisto: Murder no less.
Watson: Oh, really?
Holmes: By proving to the satisfaction of the police that he was busy at the time blowing open someone's safe.
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 »


Soundtracks

Ya Never Know Just 'Oo You're Gonna Meet
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Jack Brooks
Sung by an unidentifed man in the pub (dubbed by Delos Jewkes)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Watson the Duck!
8 January 2006 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

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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