PURSUIT TO ALGIERS

(1945)
With Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Marjorie Riordan, Morton Lowry, Leslie Vincent
Directed by Roy William Neill
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

    In PURSUIT TO ALGIERS, the people behind this series forgot that Sherlock Holmes was supposed to be a detective.  After introducing a literal boatload of suspects, the film quickly reveals who the villains are, taking all of the mystery away from the story and leaving Holmes with nothing to do except be a glorified bodyguard for an uninteresting character.

     In this tale of Holmes and Watson protecting a prince on a trip to Algiers, the emphasis is on Nigel Bruce rather than Basil Rathbone.  As an enthusiast of the original stories, I don't always appreciate what they did to the character of Dr. Watson, but as a movie fan, I love to watch Nigel Bruce hem, haw and bluster his way through a Holmes film.  He steals the show from his more luminous partner this time, especially with his beautiful rendition of "Loch Lomond", a musical performance that is unfortunately cut away from for several verses and not returned to until Bruce is winding down. 

     But when Nigel Bruce singing is my favorite part, and I spend half the film trying to figure out who Marjorie Riordan reminds me of (turns out she looks exactly like Jean Louisa Kelly of UNCLE BUCK and MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS), I've got to admit this isn't much of a Holmes film at all.

    Incidentally, this film was partly remade as a 1992 British two-part miniseries, Sherlock Holmes and The Incident at Victoria Falls, starring Christopher Lee and Patrick McNee as Holmes and Watson. 2½

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