Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)

Ah well... not entirely sure if this one's set in wartime or not, but the plot is about a secret document stolen by "the other side" and there are hundreds of military personnel in the movie. It's not exactly a strong Sherlock Holmes movie, but it is kind of fun.

The reason for that is, with an admittedly weak plot and a directorial style that sometimes seems to border on travelogue when Holmes and Watson first arrive in Washington (after a fairly long opening sequence that doesn't involve the dynamic duo at all), there is quite a lot of humour here - from Watson's obsession with sport and American culture to some dialogue that stands out as quite inspired compared to some often quite banal scripting here. The Americans rarely have accents that sound even remotely American here, but somehow that just adds to the awful (but compelling) cheesiness of the whole thing.

George Zucco returns as a villain (he played Professor Moriarty in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), but his villainous character here is rather bland and uninteresting. Roy William Neill directs this but doesn't do as well as with Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (released in the same year) - and the closing speech by Holmes is even more dreadful here.

Combining Sherlock Holmes with the war effort was always going to be dubious in terms of the quality of film it produced, and this isn't a particularly good one - however because of the wry humour in evidence at times it's pleasantly amusing on the whole, if rather absurd.

Holmes: What form was this document in?
Mr. Ahrens: It was typed - on two sheets of legal paper.
Watson: Two sheets! That’s too bulky to swallow!
Holmes: And dry, Watson, fearfully dry - especially legal papers!

See also: Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection review

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


Anonymous said...

I have been waiting for this movie since last year. They told me that it is a nice movie!
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CaptainD said...

You must be thinking of the new Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. - and yes, it is very good! :-D