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

Thursday, April 8, 2010

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR


SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR (1942). Director: John Rawlins.

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) is called in when war-torn England is demoralized by a Nazi broadcaster -- the "voice of terror" -- who predicts and chortles over horrendous acts of sabotage. This was the first of Universal's "modern-dress" Holmes films, and while it can't compare with certain other entries in the series, on its own terms it's quite entertaining. Holmes works with the members of a council, one of whom may be a traitor. Evelyn Ankers plays an obvious prostitute, Kitty, who helps bring down the leader of the Nazi forces in England. Nigel Bruce (Watson), Thomas Gomez, Reginald Denny, and Henry Daniell all offer flavorful supporting performances. Hillary Brooke, who had a much bigger role in The Woman in Green -- in which Daniell played Moriarty -- has virtually a bit part as an Army driver in this. An unseen Edgar Barrier of The Giant Claw and many others does the "voice" for the broadcasts. This is supposedly based on an original Doyle story entitled "His Last Bow," but that was actually a collection of stories. It's safe to say Holmes never battled the Nazi's in Doyle's 19th century tales.

Verdict: Despite the obvious problems, this is not bad at all. ***.

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