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

Thursday, March 4, 2010


THE HOUSE OF FEAR (1945). Director: Roy William Neill.

"No man goes whole to his grave."

Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) is called in when members of a club in Scotland called the Good Comrades are being murdered off one by one. The bodies are always found in a deplorable condition as the victims are crushed or burned and so on. Loosely based on Doyle's story The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips -- which was about the revenge of the Ku Klux Klan -- this is basically an original screenplay which is bizarre and intriguing [even if today it might not hold up forensically]. Paul Cavanagh may not have appeared in every Sherlock Holmes movie, but it certainly seems as if he did -- in this he's Dr. Simon Merrivale, who may have gotten away with murdering his wife. Sally Shepherd is creepy as the cook and housekeeper Mrs. Monteith. Rathbone and Bruce are as wonderful as ever.

Verdict: Eerie and quite entertaining. ***.

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