While searching for THE PEARL OF DEATH, Holmes & Watson encounter a master criminal and his terrifying backbreaking thug.
This vivid & suspenseful film makes a welcome addition in the series of movies highlighting the exploits of Baker Street's most famous inhabitants. There is danger around every corner and Holmes must match his intellect against raw brute evil as he attempts to recover the Black Pearl of the Borgias. As always, Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce are beyond praise as they bring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's celebrated characters to life. To the viewers' delight, Holmes finds he can be thoroughly duped and Watson uses his mouth for something other than gab.
Holmes' rivals for possession of the Pearl are little Miles Mander and pretty Evelyn Ankers. Together, they provide the master detective with one of his most challenging cases. All three characters (most especially the men) make good use of cunning disguises to try to find the diminutive treasure.
Dennis Hoey as the inept but courageous Inspector Lestrade and dear Mary Gordon as Mrs. Hudson return to roles they've already essayed very well in the past. The always reliable Ian Wolfe has the small part of a helpful crockery shop proprietor.
The most intriguing member of the cast is Rondo Hatton, a tragic sufferer from acromegaly, a terrible disease which deformed his body into a grotesque horror. He is most effective as the sinister Creeper, especially during his few moments with Rathbone at the film's climax, and he was immediately spun-off into cheaply produced chillers playing essentially the same character. Apparently he hated being exploited, but this was to end sadly with his sudden death in 1945.
Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Billy Bevan as a meal-bearing constable.
This film was loosely based on Conan Doyle's short story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons. It was preceded by THE SCARLET CLAW (1944) and followed by THE HOUSE OF FEAR (1945).
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