Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


THE SPIDER WOMAN (1944). Director: Roy William Neill.

This is one of the best of Universal's "modern-dress" Sherlock Holmes movies. Holmes (the always wonderful Basil Rathbone) investigates when there is a series of "pajama suicides" of prominent men. A mysterious if somewhat familiar Indian Prince turns up at the gambling houses where some of the dead men interacted with Adrea [sic] Spedding (Gale Sondergaard), who sometimes goes about with a little mute boy named Larry. [There's a fascinating scene with this boy in Holmes' office. Although he has no dialogue, the kid is marvelous but, unfortunately, uncredited.] Sondergaard, who is outstanding, makes an excellent sparring partner for Rathbone. And watch out for one of the most hideous spiders you've ever seen! Supposedly based [very loosely I'm sure] on a story by Doyle.

Verdict: Creepy and very entertaining, with a great cast. ***1/2.


Colin said...

Yep, one of the very best of the series. A nice creepy atmosphere all the way through.

William said...

This and Scarlet Claw are probably the best.