19 July 2007 | ma-cortes
First-rate Holmes movie with an exceptional villain and patriotic feeling in WWII
This jingoist outing concerns the usual battle Holmes vs. Moriaty , but this time in an effort to save the British war against the Nazis . Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) and Watson (Bruce), the detecting duo living in 223 Baker Street , again are up against their old enemy Dr. James Moriarty (Lionel Atwill , he earlier performed Mortimer in Hound of the Baskerville , 1939). The film starts in Switzerland where Holmes saves from the Nazis to an inventor scientific of a bomb-sight , named Dr. Tobel (Post). Back in London , Tobel hand over four parts of the device to diverse scientists . But Doctor Tobel is kidnapped by Moriarty . Sherlock must solve his disappearance and some vitally important . Sherlock helps Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard (Dennis Hoey , this was was the first of Universal's Sherlock Holmes series in which he appeared) resolve the case . Holmes only holds a clue left by his girlfriend (Kareen Verne) , the detective with an extraordinary mechanism gets decode it . But scientists dead bodies are accumulating , they have appeared murdered and Moriarty knows the keys , as well . Holmes disguised as a sailor goes out to investigate , finding the Moriarty's shelter . The picture is based on ¨The dancing men¨ by Arthur Conan Doyle . This is a Rathbone-Bruce effort for the WWII along with ¨The voice of terror¨ in which we are asked for believe the magnificent detective could have lived in this century . Both stories are completely patriotic and flag-waging movies . In fact , on the end there's an advertising about buying of war bonds with evident propaganda .
The movie is an excellent Holmes thriller with gripping wartime setting , unanswered mysteries and unstopped suspense . In the film appears the ordinaries from Holmes series : his nemesis Moriarty , Mistress Hudson , Inspector Lestrade (a funny Dennis Hoey) and , of course , the bumbling Dr. Watson . Basil Rathbone performance is splendid , he's the best cinema's Holmes , similar to television's Peter Cushing and Jeremy Brett . Rathbone as whimsical sleuth is top notch , he's in cracking form , intelligent , broody and impetuous . He's finely matched in battle of wits with Moriarty , his arch-enemy , a first-range villain : Lionel Atwill . Nigel Bruce plays Watson with humor , jinx , goofy and mirth . He's the perfect counterpoint to Holmes. Besides , appearing briefly distinguished secondaries as Paul Fix and Whit Bissell . This classic gets an atmospheric black and white cinematography , but available colorized in a horrible version . Adequate music score fitting to suspense by Frank Skinner . This was the second Holmes feature to be produced and professionally realized at Universal and it was the first to be directed by Roy William Neill , the usual saga director and habitual in the Universal monsters movies .