The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Cover Did you know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never actually penned the Sherlockian-phrase, 'Elementary, my dear Watson'? Having said that, though, how do you think it turned up in this 81 minute move made in 1939? It was Directed by: Alfred L. Werker; and Starred: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, with Ida Lupino.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Poster of Sherlock Holmes

I say, Watson (Nigel Bruce). Do you remember the other day when we were both loitering about my Baker street apartment, trying to guess when my old foe Professor Moriarty (George Zucco) was going to strike next? Well, as I'm sure you rightfully remember, I was asked on two consecutive occasions -- by two very different people -- to look into two very different types of crime. 

Now the first crime was presented to me by Sir Ronald Ramsgate (Henry Stephenson), who asked for my assistance in safeguarding 'The Star of Delhi' when he and his men eventually transport this precious jewel to the Tower of London. Whereas the second crime came from another source altogether! Her name was Ann Brandon (Ida Lupino), and she wanted me to help her prevent her brother from being murdered.  

Yes. That's correct, old chum. I did say murder. According to Ms Brandon, she was sent a letter in the post illustrating that her sibling would suddenly perish by unfortunate means. Furthermore, once we can both find some time to look into this matter more closely, I suspect the devilish swine behind this heinous prediction is none other than man who I've been waiting for, for all this time.

Yes. Him.

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all gets rather emotional, when Ann run's up to me and says, 'Come quickly, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone)! My brother's been killed in the city streets'. As Jerrold Hunter (Alan Marshal) is put in a bad light - a consulting detective knows what's wrong from what's right - a jewel is the key to this murder-mystery - and at the end of the day, you can never trust a Professor called Moriarty.

In my most humble opinion 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' is a great-great movie to sit down and watch. Not only does it have a very enveloping story-line that's both simple yet engrossing to follow. But in addition to this, it's got that timely spender and charm I've really admired ever since I first started watching this film franchise.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Vintage Film Poster
Well. What can I say? I'm biased, folks! Very biased. By now Basil and Bruce are my own personal favorite version's Sherlock and Watson. As per usual, Bruce's bubbling act made me laugh out loud on quite a few occasions. Plus I really loved that scene where he laid down on the street and spoke to some passer-by, whilst he was helping Sherlock analyse the scene of a crime.

As for Basil on the other hand, this time round he had a much more paternal role within the scheme of things. It was as though he was a much more warming and congenial person to those around him, especially during those scenes where he reassured that young houseboy, and gave some praise to Doctor Watson.

Granted, it did help that this tale was a very captivating one to figure out. Without giving too much away, I'd say this was one of those intriguing escapade's that was all smoke and mirrors until the plot really started to show itself off. Moriarty wanted to commit a crime, but to do this he had to shift Sherlock's focus elsewhere so he'd have half a chance.

Oh! And while on the topic of Moriarty, I've got to mention how I just loved that sequence which initially kicked this picture off (See clip provided). You see, after he was freed for a crime he had previously committed -- which isn't really explained throughout the course of this film -- Moriarty and Sherlock shared a carriage together, and had the opportunity to have a rather bold face-off. No holds barred both parties told their respective opponent what they honestly thought about them. And from my point view, dear reader, this was one of those scenes I couldn't get enough off, as it was so breathtaking with old-school bravado and spot-on characterizations, I'm... I'm... I'm... at a lost for words to say anymore about it. Ha!

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, with Ida Lupino

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1939 Film Poster Starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, with Ida Lupino
Well. All expect for the following filmic-facts, of course. (1) '20th Century Fox' first released this production in America on the exact same day the German Army invaded Poland. It was on the 1st of September, 1939. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Royal Jewelry' in Hungry; 'Pearls of Death' in Greece; and 'Sherlock Holmes Contrasting Moriarty' in Finland. (3) This film was very limply based on a 1899 'Sherlock Holmes' stage-play written by William Gillette. Famously it was the stage debut for the English legend, Charlie Chaplin, who played the part Terry Kilburn played in this film. The part of Billy: Ms Hudson's house-boy. (4) The majority of this movie was shot at '20th Century Fox Studios', either stage two or stage nine, situated within the Californian state of Los Angeles. (5) Originally the role of Professor Moriarty went to Lionel Atwill, yet for reasons unknown he was replaced by George Zucco before shooting. Don't worry though. Some time later Lionel did play Moriarty in this series of films. (6) The main tagline used to promote this picture, was, 'The Struggle of Super-Minds in the Crime of the Century!'.  (7) Despite being the second Sherlock Holmes film to star Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as the two main leads, it would be the last one they'd record for '20th Century Fox', plus the last set in Victorian era London. (8) After this flick sat down and had a nice cup of tea, Basil Rathbone starred in the film-noir, 'Rio'; Nigel Bruce starred in the adventure, 'The Rains Came'; and Ida Lupino starred in the drama, 'The Light That Failed'.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Film Poster Starring Basil Rathbone and Ida Lupino

Overall I'd say 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' was an amazing film that didn't put a single foot wrong. The story was an enveloping one by nature. And the acting was so... so... so... so... good, that... errrr?

Nuff said. Brilliant film. So brilliant. It's actually left me speechless.


THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1939) THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1939) Reviewed by David Andrews on August 19, 2014 Rating: 5
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