SHERLOCK HOLMES IN PURSUIT TO ALGIERS (1945)

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Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit To Algiers Cover Some people say the sunny city of Algiers is one of the best locations to visit within the Mediterranean continent. But as far as I'm concerned, I'd say this place is a pretty good starting point to introduce you to the following 65 minute movie made in 1945. It was Directed by Roy William Neill; and Starred: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Marjorie Riordan, with Rosalind Ivan.


Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit To Algiers


THE STORY:
Now at the bequest of three foreign dignitaries, both Doctor Watson (Nigel Bruce) and myself, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), have been asked to escort their King back to his hometown of Algiers.

OK. I must confess. The good Doctor wasn't formally asked to play an active role within this venture. He was told to take a holiday on-board a cruise liner heading towards the continent, whilst it was the King and I who instigated our leg of the trip by flying in an airplane.

However, due to an unprovoked attack, our mode of transportation suddenly gets shot down out of the sky. And somehow we both manage to make it all the way back to Watson's ship as soon as we possibly can.

What's more, once we eventually find the time to introduce ourselves, establishing that the King is in fact 'Doctor Watson's nephew' (Leslie Vincent) -- Lie-Lie -- one of the local's is able to look past our charade, and attempts to poison him with a cup of coffee.

Yes! That's correct! Someone has the audacity to try and kill the King. Now at first I thought it might have been the musician, Sheila Woodbury (Marjorie Riordan), because she begins to act rather strangely around us. Having said that, though, I suppose you can say exactly the same thing about the steward (Morton Lowry) too, as well as those three new passengers who embarked at a nearby port.

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all goes to sea when a voyage becomes a very bumpy ride. As an assassin gets a broken wrist - an unsuspecting jewel thief finds me hard to resist - a last ditch attempt punches me with his fist - and at the end of the day, I say we all go and get pissed.




THE REVIEW:
In my most humble opinion 'Pursuit to Algiers' is one of those films where its good point's really does outshine its bad. Honestly, dear reader. There was just something about it I really got a right kick out of, despite some of its production values seeming a bit too 'obvious' upon the screen.  

Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit To Algiers Movie Poster
Well, on the more positive side of things I'd say the cast does a smashing job at telling the actual story-line. And I have to admit, the highlights for me were those scenes where Doctor Watson sang with Marjorie's character, as well as how it was revealed that the ruse was in fact a ruse inside a ruse. 

Furthermore, another aspect I enjoyed was how most of this adventure was set on-board a boat, inadvertently sealing the majority of the narrative in a very suspenseful capsule.

Now that's not to say I didn't like the way this movie began, folks. Far from it. I couldn't help but become immediately fascinated when Sherlock and Watson were lead through a selection of rather colorful characters, before finally they were faced with the task at hand.

However, in slight contrast to my praise, I best mention I wasn't very pleased about the 'diamond theft' sub-plot. As it came across as nothing more than an excuse to explain away why a character behaved like they did. And in addition to this, once the 'bad guys' of this piece finally came onto the scene, it was pretty damn obvious who they were, in spite of how this tale tried to lead us astray earlier on.

Mind you, this isn't necessary a bad-bad thing within the scheme of things. It's just that when these two latter moments eventually played out, I found this film dropped a couple of points in my own estimation, making it slightly less enjoyable than it was beforehand.


Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit To Algiers Starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce


Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit To Algiers Starring Basil Rathbone
But hey! You can't win them all, can you? And as I said up above, this film is a very enjoyable film to follow. Just like the following filmic facts. (1) 'Universal' first screened this production in America on the exact same day the Japanese Army surrendered Taiwan to General Chiang Kai-shek -- the 25th of October, 1945. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Hazardous Mission' in West Germany; 'Destination Algiers' in Italy; and 'Sherlock Holmes at Risk' in Finland. (3) The majority of this movie was shot at 'Universal Studios', Universal City, as well as the 'Little Europe' backlot, jointly situated within the American state of California. (4) Even though this film wasn't directly based on any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Holmes stories, it does reference and use some of the characters mentioned in 'The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire', 'The Adventure of the Norwood Builder', and 'The Adventure of the Red Circle'. (5) If you look very closely, I'm sure you noticed that the actor who played 'His Majesty' at the start of this flick, is different from the actor who played him at the end of it. (6) Leonard Lee, who wrote the original screenplay for this mystery, also wrote for such television shows as '77 Sunset Strip', 'The Silent Service', and 'Border Patrol'. (7) Marjorie Riordan decided to pack up show business in 1951, and from then on in, she became a clinical psychologist come housewife, until she tragically passed away from breast cancer in 1984. (8) After this film unpacked its bags, both Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce starred in the next Sherlock Holmes movie, 'Terror by Night'; whilst Marjorie Riordan starred in the Sydney Greenstreet crime-thriller, 'Three Strangers'.


Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit To Algiers Starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce


Overall I'd say 'Pursuit to Algiers' was a fairly fine film to follow. Most of the actors were on their usual top form. The story-line held up pretty-well despite a couple of obvious plot-discrepancies. And all in all -- yeah -- good job -- and I can't wait to see what Sherlock Holmes flick I get to watch next.

Nuff said.

THE RATING: B