Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery


Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943) Poster

During WWII several murders occur at a convalescent home where Dr. Watson has volunteered his services. He summons Holmes for help and the master detective proceeds to solve the crime from ... See full summary »


7/10
3,791

Photos

  • Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
  • Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
  • Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
  • Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
  • Basil Rathbone, Hillary Brooke, Nigel Bruce, and Milburn Stone in Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
  • Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


21 February 2006 | james_oblivion
6
| First glimpse at a new Holmes...or the resurgence of the old one
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death is the first film in the Universal Sherlock Holmes series (1942 -1946) to abandon the idea of Sherlock Holmes as a prototypical 007 spy-hunter, battling Nazi agents and keeping Britain safe from the Axis powers. The bizarre experiment which began, apparently without a shred of irony, with Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror was brutally maimed when Sherlock Holmes in Washington flopped. And so, the direction of the series changed (for the better) with the fourth outing, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death...to the point that it can almost be viewed as the starting point of a completely new Holmes series.

Here, the allusions to WWII are vague, at best. Gone are the overt references to the Nazis and the intrusive patriotic speeches...which merely impeded upon the proceedings in the previous films. Holmes is in his element here, solving a dense mystery by using deductive reasoning. The film is still modern, making use of such devices as automobiles, telephones, and electric lights. But this is all incidental. If we overlook the updating of the surface elements, the story itself is rather timeless. Telephones and automobiles were present in Conan Doyle's later Holmes stories, anyway...and the Gothic tone of this film (and several of those which followed) gives it an almost Victorian or Edwardian feel, despite being obviously set in the mid-20th Century. And most importantly, Holmes is back to the business he should never have abandoned.

Loosely based on The Musgrave Ritual, the film is entertaining and certainly of higher technical quality than its predecessors, despite the fact that the series was forever doomed to the ranks of the low budget B-picture. The camera work is evocative, with fluid motions and intriguing angles...which would become a staple of the Holmes series...and the direction is excellent, with Roy William Neill (who also began his role as Associate Producer with this film) really coming into his own as the driving force behind the franchise. Rathbone's Holmes (whose hair has, thankfully, undergone quite a transformation) is in better form here than in previous entries...detached and focused, he relies on reasoning, rather than chance, in order to solve the mystery that's presented to him. Nigel Bruce, as Watson, turns in his usual bumbling-yet-lovable performance. Dennis Hoey once again manages to out-bumble Watson as Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard...a canonical character who made his first Universal appearance in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, and would go on to appear in a total of six of the twelve films.

Overall, not the best film in the series, but a step in the right direction. Once the filmmakers got their proper footing, in regard to the series' new and improved direction, they produced much better work...peaking, many (myself included) would attest, in 1944 with The Scarlet Claw. Other subsequent Holmes titles, such as The Spider Woman and Terror By Night, also outshine, in my estimation, this fourth Universal venture. But this film marked the great change that heralded all the treasures to come...and as such, has amassed much favor among fans and critics alike. And rightly so.

Critic Reviews


More Like This

Sherlock Holmes in Washington

Sherlock Holmes in Washington

The Spider Woman

The Spider Woman

Pursuit to Algiers

Pursuit to Algiers

The Pearl of Death

The Pearl of Death

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror

The Scarlet Claw

The Scarlet Claw

The House of Fear

The House of Fear

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

Terror by Night

Terror by Night

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Woman in Green

The Woman in Green

Dressed to Kill

Dressed to Kill

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery | Romance | Thriller

How Jillian Bell Will Make a 'Splash' With Channing Tatum

Jillian Bell, star of the new comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon, shares her comedic influences and dishes on an '80s reboot with Channing Tatum.

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

See what IMDb editors are watching this month, and visit our guides to what's on TV and streaming, family entertainment, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com