Saturday, 16 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (1944)

Roy William Niell directs again in this enjoyable though flawed movie. In this one Adrea Spedding (Gale Sondergard) is Holmes' foe, and a formidable one at that. After facing death in the previous film, Holmes apparently dies right at the start of this one. Of course we all know it must be a ruse, and to throw the mastermind behind a series of apparent suicides off their tracks. Though a master of disguise, Sherlock Holmes proves himself to be a definite rookie when it comes to accents as he impersonates a celebrated Indian soldier, but that disguise is quickly thrust off.

The strength of the main mystery is what keeps this film going, along with a few moments of light relief thanks to the ever-bumbling Watson and Lestrade (Mrs Hudson the housekeeper is quite fun in this one too), so the weaknesses of the film including an end-scene escape from Holmes that really pushes believability don't ruin it. This particular director seems intent on giving Basil Rathbone the most preposterous speeches at the end of his films - perhaps a test of Rathbone's acting ability?! - but all in all this one's very watchable.

See also: Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection review

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog

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