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.