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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Released Sep 1, 1939 1h 25m Mystery & Thriller List
89% Tomatometer 9 Reviews 78% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings
Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) square off against their archenemy, Professor Moriarty (George Zucco), who has designs on the Tower of London's Crown Jewels. As a perfect distraction from Moriarty's schemes, Holmes and Watson are contacted by a woman (Ida Lupino) who claims that her family is in danger after her brother receives the same warning message her father got 10 years ago -- just before he was brutally murdered. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (9) Critics Reviews
Otis Ferguson The New Republic It is not the sort of thing to be considered as a Work of Art: my point is simply that it is an exciting story told with more real movie art per foot than seven reels of anything the intellectual men have been finding good this whole year or more. Jan 24, 2018 Full Review Yasser Medina Cinefilia Its detective mystery remains tied to dull situations that do not involve any substantial revelation or intrigue. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 5/10 Feb 28, 2023 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Superior mystery film. Rated: B+ Dec 28, 2009 Full Review Sean Axmaker Turner Classic Movies Online Basil Rathbone still remains the definitive screen Sherlock Holmes for many of the character's fans. Dec 6, 2009 Full Review Mark Bourne DVDJournal.com Director Alfred L. Werker shows off a flair for the material, and we get scenes that appear composed, lit, and shot expressly for the most evocative publicity stills. Apr 6, 2006 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: B+ Jun 14, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (95) audience reviews
Jelisije J A film that really doesn't offer no mystery and is the most straight forward checkers game between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/13/23 Full Review Stephen C The greatest 01 and 01/12 hours!!!!!!!! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Kyle E I cannot praise this masterpiece of a series enough. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever. In fact every one of the Sherlock Holmes are superb, but this is the definitive one. The plots are in general true to the books, which are just as excellent, save a couple of wholly forgivable liberties. The scripts are sharp, classy and sophisticated, and all the adaptations have a certain atmosphere to them, and that is exactly what I want. The music is just outstanding, not only beautiful but very haunting, and the background music is rich and just adds to the atmosphere of the series. And the scenery, camera work and costumes are flawless. As for the acting, one word, superlative. Jeremy Brett is without doubt the best Sherlock Holmes ever, he is just perfect as the character. He is true to the character of the books, while making some subtle differences along the way. This is all to do with interpretation, and where I am concerned, this is one masterful interpretation of a truly complex character. David Burke is suitably intelligent as Watson; while I am more familiar with Edward Hardwicke, Burke is just as good. Many great actors and actresses have come and given memorable appearances, and I cannot decide who impressed me most, because they were all great. All in all, an absolute must-see. It is a television masterpiece. 10/10 Bethany Cox Rated 5 out of 5 stars 11/15/22 Full Review Frances H A good outing for Sherlock and Watson, but not the best. One thing I don't care for in this series is that Dr. Watson is made a comic character and a figure of fun. That's why I prefer the Jeremy Brett and Edward Hargraves series over this one. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/05/22 Full Review robert p Probably the ultimate bad guy movie!!!!! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review matthew d One of the most enjoyable Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes mysteries! Alfred Werker's mystery film noir The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) is a magnificent installment in the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce series of movies based off of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic London detective. Basil Rathbone just embodies everything you want from Sherlock Holmes. He is genius, handsome, charming, calm, perceptive, cunning, obsessive, funny, and swift in his plethora of keen deductions through his use of inimitable observational prowess. Basil just walks on screen and you know he is private detective Sherlock Holmes. Similarly, Nigel Bruce is always hilarious as Holmes' steadfast friend, personal doctor, and foolish accomplice Dr. John Watson. Bruce bumbles and guffaws as the merest insinuation at his ineptitude and it makes me laugh every time. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce were born to play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Werker's direction brings the famous literary detective to life with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's dry wit, clever complex plotting, intriguing mystery, brilliant misdirection in several Red Herrings, and dark noir style. Writers Edwin Blum and William Absalom Drake have a fascinating sense of adventure and mystery with their excellently curious narrative. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes takes multiple Doyle stories and slaps them together into a wholly new and entertaining feature that remains one of 1939 finest pictures to this day as Sherlock Holmes must do mental battle against his archnemesis Professor Moriarty. George Zucco is excellent as the devious Prof. Moriarty. He has this harsh personality and deep voice that booms with Moriarty's nefarious malice. It's awesome to see Sherlock have a serious contender as a rival, which makes this film a particularly exciting one. I must mention the lovely actress Ida Lupino stars as Ann Brandon, who enlists Sherlock's help in a matter of great urgency. Lupino is so natural and graceful with a realistic worry on her face. She portrays Ann very sympathetically, while also conveying how perceptive she is when lied to as she's aware of the danger surrounding her. Alan Marshal's Jerrold Hunter is perfectly sinister and distracting as needed. Terry Killburn is fun as Sherlock's apprentice Billy. Henry Stephenson is good as Sir Ronald Ramsgate with his imperative concern over the potential theft of The Crown Jewels. E. E. Clive is very funny as the stubborn Inspector Bristol from Scotland Yard. In all, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes boasts a strong leading and supporting cast. Robert Bichoff's editing is swift with the sharpest cuts from scene to scene to provide a sense of urgency to this vital case of Holmes' for 85 pleasant minutes. Leon Shamroy's cinematography captures a grimly lit, eternally foggy, constant nighttime atmosphere of London with moody wide shots and stellar close-ups shots. His camera choices keep you enthralled by every moment of conversation and clue finding. Gwen Wakeling's costumes continue to impress with a dazzling couple of period dresses for Ida Lupino that are truly gorgeously fitted and designed. Richard Day and Hans Peters' art direction keeps you focused on little letters, various plants, and random windows to keep you constantly guessing by all the noir machinations of this Sherlock Holmes story. Lastly, Thomas Little's set decoration is quaint for Sherlock's cozy Baker Street abode and lavish for Ida Lupino's mansion estate. I love period films for their sense of fashion and impeccable style. In conclusion, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is one of Basil's best films and that is quite a compliment for such an accomplished actor. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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Movie Info

Synopsis Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) square off against their archenemy, Professor Moriarty (George Zucco), who has designs on the Tower of London's Crown Jewels. As a perfect distraction from Moriarty's schemes, Holmes and Watson are contacted by a woman (Ida Lupino) who claims that her family is in danger after her brother receives the same warning message her father got 10 years ago -- just before he was brutally murdered.
Director
Alfred L. Werker
Screenwriter
Edwin Blum, William Absalom Drake
Production Co
Twentieth Century Fox
Genre
Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Sep 1, 1939, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 30, 2021
Runtime
1h 25m
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