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


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.

2 comments:

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.