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

Thursday, January 28, 2010


SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943). Director: Roy William Neill.
The third of Universal's "modern-dress" Holmes films presents the absurdity of United States intelligence officers calling in the British Holmes when certain documents on microfilm go missing. (Despite Holmes' genius, surely there are smart and swift U.S. agents to do the job?) Holmes and Watson take their first trip to the United States, where they cross swords with both Henry Daniell and George Zucco. Zucco had been a famous British spy and is now head of an international spy ring. Marjorie Lord is the doll, and Thurston Hall plays the lovable Senator Babcock. This is not without entertainment value -- and as usual Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are marvelous -- but this just doesn't have that certain Holmesian atmosphere. While not exactly a fish out of water, Holmes really isn't in his element in this, either.
Verdict: Better the moors than Washington. **1/2


Colin said...

Never liked this entry in the series much - and the hairdo from hell didn't help either.

William said...

Hairdo from hell, LOL! Do you mean Holmes'?

Yes, this is definitely one of the lesser entries in the Holmes series.

Colin said...

Yep, Rathbone's swept forward combover thingy was a major distraction for me. Thankfully it was quickly dispensed with (by the next film?)and the slicked back look was reinstated. It's odd how little things like that can really annoy you, isn't it.