In the last of the series...
Set in Dartmoor and London's antique auction rooms, giving viewers a glimpse of London in the 1940's, Holmes is pitted against a female adversary, played by Patricia Morison. A criminal, John Davidson, has stolen and hidden the plates for £5 notes from the Bank of England. Their hiding place is contained in a cipher located in three identical music boxes made at Dartmoor Prison and auctioned in London.
In the mean while, Stinky, or Gilbert Emery, visits Watson to tell him of a strange theft. Stinky collects music boxes and someone has stolen a cheap one, leaving the expensive boxes behind. When the innocent purchasers of the boxes are murdered, including Watson's old friend, Holmes and Watson investigate. Holmes is captured by the thieves and left in a vacant garage, hanging from a beam, his hands bound, while a poisonous ga sfills the room. He emerges triumphant for his (Rathbone's) last bow on the screen.
Running Time: 72 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR (Suitable for Children)
Basil Rathbone stars in his fourteenth and final movie as Arthur Conan Doyle's super detective. An interesting plot, andmystery for Holmes and his faithful assistant Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce), to solve.
Directed and produced by Roy William Neill, who was are cognized stylist among movie directors, Neill's work is characterized by meticulously lit scenes and carefully layered shadows, with restrained mobile camera movements. Neill was the final arbiter in all things Holmes-ian on the set of the Universal series. He produced all the movies in the Holmes series except Sherlock Holmes and The Secret Weapon.
Rathbone in particular had become Sherlock Holmes,with his piercing eyes, knife-sharpened features and finely playedtrademark habits (the violin, the relentless drive and enthusiasm, thenever-ending desire for knowledge). During his film career, Rathbone was twice nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor and even won a Tony award. Rathbone would be forever linked to the great Sherlock.
And even though Watson is absent-minded, and frequently silly, he is charming. The chemistry between Rathbone and Bruce is superb.
When I was about 10 I got really into the Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watsonstories. I can remember talking about them with my grandmother who used to tell me that she loved the Basil Rathbone Holmes movies. This was back before VCRs and DVD players so at the time there was no way for me to be able to see the movies themselves, so I had to take her word for it.
Still, those conversations stuck in the back of my mind, so when I saw this movie for sale I decided to order it, if for no other reason out of respect for my grandmother.
I'm glad I did. This is one of the better Sherlock Holmes stories, involving the elusive Professor Moriorty, a baffled Dr. Watson and Holmes acting as mysterious as ever - yet figuring it all out in the end.
Rathbone does a great job in the role and I can see why my grandmother was impressed.
CAST & CREW:
Roy Williams Neill
Arthur Conan Doyle
Frederick Worlock - Colonel Cavanaugh
Carl Harbord - Inspector Hopkins, Scotland Yard
Patricia Cameron - Evelyn Clifford
Holmes Herbert Ebeneezer Crabtree, Auctioneer at Gaylord Art Gallery
Harry Cording - Hamid, Cavanaugh's Driver
Leyland Hodgson - The Tour Guide
Mary Gordon - Mrs. Hudson
Ian Wolfe - Commissioner of Scotland Yard
Frank Baker - Photographer (uncredited)
Guy Bellis - Doctor (uncredited)
Wilson Benge - Minister on Museum Tour (uncredited)
Marjorie Bennett - Antique Shop Assistant (uncredited)
Ted Billings - Pub Extra (uncredited)
Lillian Bronson - Minister's Wife (uncredited)
Tom Dillon - Scotland Yard Det.Sgt. Thompson (uncredited)
Topsy Glyn - The Kilgour Child (uncredited)
Charlie Hall - Cab Driver (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten - Alfred, auction house bookkeeper (uncredited)
Delos Jewkes - Singing Busker (uncredited)
Tiny Jones - Pub Extra (uncredited)
Guy Kingsford - Convict/Undercover Man from Scotland Yard (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien - Police Detective (uncredited)
Wally Scott - Joe Cisto, Pub Pianist (uncredited)
Anita Sharp-Bolster - Teacher on Museum Tour (uncredited)
Sally Shepherd - Tobacconist (uncredited)
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