THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

(1939)
With Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Ida Lupino, George Zucco
Directed by Alfred Werker
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

"What the heck is Moriarty doing with that...eeewww!!!"    A handsomely produced followup to THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES of the same year.  A bit talky at times, but with a cast featuring Rathbone, Bruce, Lupino and Zucco, at least the talk is well-played.  Rathbone is superb (as always) as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's greatest literary creation, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the World's Greatest Consulting Detective, but the depiction of Dr. Watson as "an incorrigible bungler", though entertainingly played by Bruce, remains an irritation to fans of the more admirable Watson of the original stories.  Lupino, not yet a star, is excellent as the film's damsel in distress, while George Zucco plays a understated, menacing Professor Moriarty.  The story itself, in which several mysterious elements are left unexplained, has little to do with any one Conan Doyle story, but the great author himself might have been delighted with much of it, such as the dual mysteries Moriarty constructs to confound Holmes, Holmes's disguise as a musical hall performer, and a final battle atop the Tower of London. Not to be confused with the entertaining B-films Rathbone and Bruce later did for Universal - this 20 Century Fox release is an A-film all the way.  Nicely directed by the man who would later helm one of Laurel and Hardy's worst films, A-HAUNTING WE WILL GO. 4 - JB

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