Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (1944)

Article #305 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 1-14-2002
Posting date: 5-31-2002

Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of suicides of known gamblers. He begins by faking his own death to put the culprit off of her guard.

I don’t know how many of the Sherlock Holmes movies will qualify as fantastic cinema; this one gets by because of its use of spiders as a weapon of murder, which places it at least marginally in the horror category. I never got a chance to see many of these as a kid (despite being a strong fan of the original stories), so this is probably the first time in almost thirty years that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing one. They weren’t exactly faithful to the source, but if this movie is any indication, they were a great deal of fun nonetheless. I think a lot of it had to do with the ease that Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce worked together; they made a highly entertaining team, with Watson even beating Holmes to the punch with an observation at one point. Gale Sondergaard plays the villain in this one, and even though he isn’t listed in the credits (he doesn’t have a speaking role), I thought I recognized Angelo Rossitto as the pygmy. This is good, old-fashioned mystery fun.


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