The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

dir. Alfred L. Werker. The dastardly Professor Moriarty, jubilant after his not guilty verdict for murder, teases an irritated Sherlock Holmes that his next job will be the crime of the century!  Preying on Holmes’s intellectual curiosity, Moriarty plots to distract him with an escalating series of deadly mind games. Absolute delight of a film. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are sensational as the ultimate Holmes and Watson, in their second appearance together. Perhaps the prototype for the modern “Buddy Cop” genre, it’s so much fun watching Holmes gently teasing Watson, occasionally losing his temper with him, before a good-humoured smile and a pat on the shoulder. The entire cast is excellent, especially the radiant Ida Lupino, as the tragic civilian caught in the battle between the two great minds. The complicated mystery that Holmes must solve is immensely satisfying. This is the last Sherlock Holmes film to be set in the Arthur Conan Doyle version of Victorian England, so farewell to the romance of the handsome cab, and the lamplighter illuminating foggy London streets.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.