The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Mystery, Thriller


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) Poster

The master sleuth hunts his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century.


7.4/10
5,841

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  • Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
  • Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
  • Mary Forbes and Ida Lupino in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
  • Frank Dawson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
  • Ida Lupino in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

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3 June 2005 | Snow Leopard
Good Cast, Atmosphere, & Action
The cast, atmosphere, & action in this version of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" are all good reasons why it is an enjoyable feature. The story is very loosely based on a play that itself had freely adapted some of Doyle's characters and plot ideas, and thus the plot is essentially entirely new, yet the Victorian atmosphere and Basil Rathbone's portrayal of the great detective give it a pretty good "Holmes" feel.

The basic story idea has Professor Moriarty scheming to exploit one of Holmes's few weaknesses, and although the plot in itself does not come from the novels, it is a perceptive way of using the characters. There are some loose ends in the story that would have been tied together except for some studio-decreed cuts; the notes that accompany the DVD release are quite helpful in covering what was omitted.

George Zucco makes fine use of his screen time as Moriarty, and Ida Lupino makes her character a demure and appealing heroine in distress, while showing some good spirit at the right times. Nigel Bruce's Watson has a rather different feel from Doyle's character, but he gets some good moments of his own here, and Bruce does well with them.

For a great many Sherlock Holmes fans, nothing can now rival the magnificent Jeremy Brett versions from the 1980s and 1990s, with their marvelous atmosphere, careful story adaptations, and Brett's penetrating portrayal of Holmes. But until those were made, Basil Rathbone's portrayal of the detective was as good as any of the many actors who had played him. This movie and its predecessor "The Hound of the Baskervilles" are among the most enjoyable of all of the Rathbone features, for their atmosphere and their lively stories.

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Genres

Crime | Mystery | Thriller

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