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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 1 September 1939 (USA)
The master sleuth hunts his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century.

Director:

Alfred L. Werker (as Alfred Werker)

Writers:

Edwin Blum (screenplay), William Absalom Drake (screenplay) (as William Drake) | 1 more credit »
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When a valuable pearl with a sinister reputation is stolen, Sherlock Holmes must investigate its link to a series of brutal murders.

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When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster. But Sherlock Holmes, who gets drawn into the case from nearby Quebec, suspects a human murderer.

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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.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Hillary Brooke
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce ... Dr. Watson
Ida Lupino ... Ann Brandon
Alan Marshal ... Jerrold Hunter
Terry Kilburn ... Billy
George Zucco ... Professor Moriarty
Henry Stephenson ... Sir Ronald Ramsgate
E.E. Clive ... Inspector Bristol
Arthur Hohl ... Bassick
May Beatty ... Mrs. Jameson
Peter Willes ... Lloyd Brandon
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Hudson
Holmes Herbert ... Justice
George Regas ... Mateo
Mary Forbes ... Lady Conyngham
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Storyline

Professor Moriarity has a scheme for stealing the crown jewels from the Tower of London. To get Holmes involved, he persuades a gaucho flute player to murder a girl. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Struggle of Super-Minds in the Crime of the Century!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Holmes rewards Billy with a sixpence, and Billy exclaims, "Blimey, a tanner!" Tanner was a slang word for the pre-decimalization silver sixpence. See more »

Goofs

The popular variety-hall song "I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" is performed at Lady Conyngham's party. This was composed in 1907, thirteen years after the film's 1894 setting. See more »

Quotes

Sherlock Holmes: The nose of the police dog, although long and efficient, points in only one direction at a time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening card: In all my life I have encountered only one man whom I can truthfully call the very Genius of Evil -- Professor Moriarty. For eleven years he has eluded me. All the rest who opposed him are dead. He is the most dangerous criminal England has ever known. Sherlock Holmes. 9 May 1894. See more »

Alternate Versions

When this movie aired on WPBS, the song that Basil Rathbone sings was changed from "By the Sea" to "I've got a Loverly Bunch of Cocoanuts." See more »


Soundtracks

I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside
(uncredited)
Written and Composed by John Glover Kind
Performed by Basil Rathbone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A lot of fun
16 December 2010 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes and of Basil Rathbone, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The plot is very silly, but is compelling enough and enjoyable throughout the whole duration. The film is well paced and well directed too mostly, while the production values are very nice. The photography, scenery and costumes are beautiful, but what I loved most about Sherlock Holmes was its evocative and haunting foggy London atmosphere. The script is of top-notch quality as well, often intelligent, funny and sophisticated.

The acting I had no qualms with either. George Zucco is an interesting Moriaty and does really well of not being too sinister or too hammy, his performance was a nice balance I felt. Nigel Bruce is decent as Watson, though I can see why people are annoyed by his interpretation of the character. I liked the enthusiasm and blimpish bluster Bruce gave, but there are times here when he does come across as a little too clownish. However, he does have some believable chemistry with Basil Rathbone, who is just superb as a more charismatic and sophisticated not to mention very eloquent Holmes.

Overall, a lot of fun and a case of where any minor flaws are completely overrided by the many strengths. Recommended! 9/10 Bethany Cox


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