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

Thursday, January 7, 2010


THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1939). Director: Alfred L. Werker.

"There's death in every note of it."

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) matches wits with Professor Moriarty (George Zucco) when the latter -- who has just managed to get off on a murder charge -- boasts that he will commit a spectacular crime right in front of the former's nose. Ida Lupino is a woman who fears for her brother's life -- does this tie in with the professor's plans? Despite the fact that the movie sort of clues us in early on as to what's going on, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is still suspenseful and exciting, with some eerie scenes relating to a club-footed killer. The haunting flute dirge that figures in the story is quite creepy. Little Terry Kilburn makes an impression as Billy, the page boy who appeared in some of the stories. Based on a play by William Gillette. Rathbone is excellent,as is Zucco as his nemesis. At one point Rathbone/Holmes masquerades as a music hall singer! This follows The Hound of the Baskervilles and was the second of two 20th Century-Fox films with Rathbone as Holmes. Followed by Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, the first of 12 Universal "modern-day" Holmes adventures with Rathbone.

Verdict: There are some loose ends, but overall this is a pip! ***1/2.

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