Sherlock Holmes in Washington Cover OK. So what do we have here? A review, is it? Oh, good. I like a good review. I just hope it isn't written in a first person narrative. Or else I just might scream 'blue murder', whilst reminiscing about that 71-minute movie made in 1943. You know. This one Directed by: Roy William Neill, and Starring: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Marjorie Lord, with Henry Daniell.

Sherlock Holmes in Washington - Sherlock Holmes in Movie Poster

Now at the bequest of the British government, both Doctor Watson (Nigel Bruce) and myself have been asked to travel to Washington D.C., because they believe their enemies have kidnapped one of their agents, Alfred Pettibone (Gerald Hamer), who has in his possession a secret document of the utmost importance.

However, prior to Alfred's final fate being revealed to us a day or so later, I am able to figure out two very important facts that are rather pertinent to this case. Firstly, whilst examining Alfred's living quarters, I discover that he managed to transfer the secret document in question into a micro-film format. And secondly, whilst in America, inspecting the train-carnage he was ultimately taken from, I then deduce that he must have sleekly handed this micro-film to a lady passenger before his abduction. 

Yes. That is correct, my friend. I am a very-very cleaver chap. But let's face it, I am the one and only Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), don't you know. And that's most probably why what next transpires fumbles into play when I read in the newspaper that a lady passenger -- called Nancy Partridge (Marjorie Lord) -- is about to get married. As a match-box gets spiked - a married lady gets swiped - antique furniture points us in the right direction - and later on, at a Senators office, a dubious ploy unfathomably saves us all from frowning at some mutual affection.


Now the way I see it, there are only two things I can gripe about after sitting down and watching 'Sherlock Holmes in Washington'. Initially, I thought the overall mystery was kind of easy to figure out, mainly because most of it was spelt out to us within the first fifteen-minutes of this film. And secondly, in places the structure of this piece was rather mumbled in tone, because it didn't always centre on my pal Sherlock Holmes and his trusted aide, Doctor Watson.

Sherlock Holmes in Washington on DVD
Admittedly. My gripe does appear rather petty within the scheme of things. Not really sounding as analytical or as jovial as I normally do. Having said that, though, I honestly don't have anything else more negative to say about this f*cking amazing adventure!

The actors were all on top form -- especially Rathbone and Bruce -- whom literally inhabit their respective roles by this time in respective careers. The production values were fairly neat to watch too -- despite some obvious back-projection during certain driving sequences. Plus on top of that, the supporting cast supported the story, the story told a fairly decent tale, and the tale in itself will be something I'll be watching again soon because it was just that good.

Yeah. I'm not stoking your chimney, dear reader. In my eyes this film had everything in it that I love about this type of film. It was easy to follow. All the characters showed character. Cosmetically it was very plush and timely in appearance. And to me, personally, this flick had a very charming way about it that you don't often see nowadays.    

I mean, just take that 'follow the match-box' scenario it presented us with! Never in my whole life was I as captivated with a situation as gripping at this one. Especially how this object kept on falling from one hand to another to another, without anyone except Holmes truly knowing what it really was. Furthermore, the penultimate confutation at the antiques shop was a scream I tell you. A right scream. Prompting me to shout at the screen, 'He's behind you', in that very British pantomime way. 

Sherlock Holmes in Washington Starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Sherlock Holmes in Washington Film Poster
Anyway. That's enough of my adulation for the moment, folks. Because I think this is a pretty good time for me to present you with the following filmic-facts. (1) 'Universal Studios' first released this production in Sweden, on the very same day of the fabled Warsaw ghetto uprising -- the 19th of April, 1943. (2) The majority of this movie was shot at 'Universal Studios', Universal City, as well as on location at Glendale Grand Central Air Terminal, situated in the American state of California. (3) Although the central plot of this film wasn't directly based on any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Holmes stories, it does bare some resemblance to his 1912 tale, 'The Bruce-Partington Plans'. (4) When Oscar Homolka refused to play the part of Holmes' elder brother, Mycroft, in this flick, this resulted in the Mycroft character being replaced by the Ahrens character, as played by Holmes Herbert. (5) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Fateful Trip' in West Germany, whilst in all other non-English speaking language counties it stuck to its original title. (6) Now if you took any notice of my previous fact, you might like to know that the 1959 German version of this film removed all Nazi references from it, and replaced the general story-line with a plot involving gangsters trying to steal a dangerous secret formula. (7) George Zucco and Henry Daniell both played the same role of Professor Moriarty in two other Holmes films. For George it was in the 1939, 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes', and for Henry it in was the 1945, 'The Woman in Green'. (8) Not only was this the third Sherlock Holmes thriller produced by 'Universal Studios', but in addition to this, it was also the second Holmes thriller directed by Roy William Neill, who then took over as the series producer. (9) After this mystery smoked its last pipe, Basil Rathbone starred in the drama, 'Above Suspicion'; Nigel Bruce starred in the next Sherlock Holmes film, 'Sherlock Holmes Faces Death'; and Marjorie Lord starred in the crime-opus, 'Shantytown'.

Sherlock Holmes in Washington Starring Basil Rathbone

Overall I'd say that 'Sherlock Holmes in Washington' was a great film to watch. The story was easy to follow. The style was very timely and quaint. And if you're a big Sherlock Holmes fan like me, and you haven't watched this movie yet, what are you waiting for? Grab a copy today. Trust me. It's a right sight for sore eyes.


SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943) SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (1943) Reviewed by David Andrews on February 27, 2014 Rating: 5
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