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You've a magnificent brain, Moriarty. I admire it. I admire it so much I'd like to present it pickled in alcohol to the London Medical Society.

Basil Rathbone is Sherlock Holmes
The Hound of the Baskervilles
(1939)

Basil Rathbone's first Holmes outing and pre-WWII, so a period piece. Nigel Bruce is bumbling but affable and not yet a complete tit, the hound is convincingly ferocious and the set design is suitably claustrophobic (Baskerville Hall is wonderfully gothic and fog-bound). For such an up-beat Holmes, Rathbone's departing dialogue, "Come Watson, the needle!" is out-of-synch, even though it’s nice that they put the thought in to mention his addiction. Morton Lowry is especially good as the step brother of Sir Henry's totty.

***1/2

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 
(1939) 

The second and last period Basil Rathbone Holmes romp. More satisfying than The Hound of the Baskervilles, mostly due to George Zucco's marvellous turn as Moriarty. There's a wonderful scene early on with him chastising his butler for allowing one of his plants to die, ending with him calling the butler a murderer. It's right up there for charismatic lunacy. Nigel Bruce shows great comic timing as Watson, particularly in a scene where he plays dead in the road.


****


Sherlock Holmes & the Voice of Terror
(1942)

A bit ropey, really. Although the cinematography is lovely as ever. The Voice's actual modus operandi doesn't bear up to any scrutiny whatsoever.



**


The Woman in Green
(1945)

The best of the last few Rathbone Holmes, with a creepy child killer (well, the screenplay has been changed to young women, but the original intent is clear in his character) and a decent Moriaty.

****

Pursuit to Algiers
(1945)

This is mostly set aboard a cruise ship with three (!!!!) music numbers, but at least it has some decently OTT hit men and Watson gets to tell the tale of The Giant Rat of Sumatra (off-screen, alas).

**

Dressed to Kill
(1946)

A watchable final outing for Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes, blessed with an involving plot - the leading actress isn't especially appealing, though. There is a character called Stinky, which is jolly.

***1/2


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