Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)

SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943)
Article #1479 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-2-2005
Posting Date: 8-30-2005
Directed by Roy William Neill
Featuring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Marjorie Lord

When a secret service agent is kidnapped and then murdered by spies to locate a secret document, Sherlock Holmes is called to Washington on the case.

Fantastic content: None to speak of in this one. The book that listed it lists all the Sherlock Holmes movies in the series despite the fact that only a few of them had anything of the fantastic in them.

Unlike SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR, this entry in the modern-day Sherlock Holmes series at Universal eases up considerably on the propaganda, largely confining it to a few closing comments near the end of the movie. It’s one of what I’ve come to call the “bad-haircut Holmes” movies; personally, I’m glad Rathbone eventually got away from that distracting coiffure he has here. All in all, though, it’s a very entertaining entry in the series, and it’s almost Hitchcockian at times; I love the party sequence where the item everyone is hunting for passes from hand to hand with no one aware of its significance. This movie also has the novelty of featuring both a former Moriarty and a future Moriarty; George Zucco had played him in THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, and Henry Daniell would play him in THE WOMAN IN GREEN. I also like the sequence aboard the train where we see the agent pass on the document to any one of several people. The bumbling of Nigel Bruce’s Dr. Watson character is kept to a minimum here, largely confined to Holmes having a few jokes at his friend’s expense. Incidentally, the incredibly familiar face of the clerk in the antique shop is Ian Wolfe, who appeared in four of the Sherlock Holmes movies. The movie also contains a reference to the ‘Blue Room’, of all things.

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