Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Ida Lupino, Alan Marshal, George Zucco
Directed by Alfred Werker
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Professor Moriarty, the arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, concocts a scheme to occupy Holmes' mind while he prepares a master crime that will cement his villainous reputation.

Rathbone and Bruce's second pairing as Holmes and Watson is one of their best films together, and looks great, with terrific production values, lush cinematography, and a tremendous villain portrayed by George Zucco, who's criminally robbed of higher billing in the credits.  It's a shame that this was the last of their films produced by 20th Century Fox, and in the characters' proper setting of Victorian London.  Although they made several enjoyable adventures for Universal Pictures' B-unit, they never again had the budget they have in this picture, which recaptures the look and feel of fog-drenched London exquisitely.  It's a shame that Rathbone and Zucco don't have more dialogue together in the picture because their interplay is wonderful, and Zucco's sinister voice is so well-suited to the character.  Composer Cyril Mockridge's funeral dirge which accompanies Moriarty before being revealed as a key plot point, adds the proper notes of menace to the mystery.

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