The Woman in Green (1945)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Mystery

The Woman in Green (1945) Poster

Sherlock Holmes investigates when young women around London turn up murdered, each with a finger severed. Scotland Yard suspects a madman, but Holmes believes the killings to be part of a diabolical plot.


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5 October 2009 | hitchcockthelegend
| If we could just trace those missing fingers!
There is a vile murderer lose in London, not since the terror of Jack The Ripper has London been subjected to such gruesome doings. The killers trademark is that he severs the forefingers of his victims, the police are baffled. Enter Holmes and Watson, called into action once again, but even the intrepid Holmes is baffled. There is more to the case than meets the eye, and could there be on old adversary behind the murders?.

The Woman in Green is the eleventh of the fourteen Sherlock Holmes film's starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, and the eighth of the eleven directed by Roy William Neill. Partly based around Arthur Conan Doyle's-The Adventure of the Empty House, The Woman In Green {ambigious title in context of the films content} continues the dark path trodden in the previous film, House of Fear (1945). As Holmes ruefully observes another female victim on the slab in the mortuary he muses "fiend that did this," and then promises to crack the case. It's Holmes obsession with the case, and the macabre nature of the story that carries the audience thru it's very chatty first half. That the darkness lifts at the midpoint is no bad thing due to the introduction of a rather well known foe from Holmes' past. However one has to wonder, as good as the "twist" is, if the film would have been better off staying in darker territory? You see the second half eases in tone as Watson slips into, what is admittedly always great fun, comedy mode and the babe of the piece {a smashing Hillary Brooke} becomes focal along with he who shall not be named. It works of course, this is Holmes trying to crack a devilish case, one that will encompass a new form of trickery in the pantheon of villainy. And then there is some fabulous shots used by Neill, one particular sequence involving swirling water and a white flower is very memorable. While the ending, in true Holmes, Watson and villain style, does its job all told. It's just one can't help feeling that this should have been far better than it eventually turned out to be. Still a fine series entry mind, and arguably the last time a Rathbone film had that delicious dark undercurrent to it. 7/10

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