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Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943) HD online

Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / / Mystery
Original Title: Sherlock Holmes in Washington
Director: Roy William Neill
Writers: Bertram Millhauser,Lynn Riggs
Released: 1943
Duration: 1h 11min
Video type: Movie
Sherlock Holmes is engaged by the Home Office to locate a British subject traveling for his law firm to Washington, D.C. The man had flown to New York City and then took the train to Washington. On the outskirts of the city, the man was kidnapped and has not been seen for several days now. Holmes learns from the Home Office that the man was in fact a government agent who was delivering a highly secret, two page document to the US government. In verifying the contents at his flat, Holmes concludes the document had been reduced to microfilm. The question becomes whether he may have had the opportunity to pass the microfilm to someone else on the train before he was taken.
Complete credited cast:
Basil Rathbone Basil Rathbone - Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce Nigel Bruce - Doctor Watson
Marjorie Lord Marjorie Lord - Nancy Partridge
Henry Daniell Henry Daniell - William Easter
George Zucco George Zucco - Stanley
John Archer John Archer - Lt. Pete Merriam
Gavin Muir Gavin Muir - Bart Lang
Edmund MacDonald Edmund MacDonald - Detective Lt. Grogan
Don Terry Don Terry - Howe
Bradley Page Bradley Page - Cady
Holmes Herbert Holmes Herbert - Mr. Ahrens
Thurston Hall Thurston Hall - Senator Henry Babcock

The dubbed German version released in 1959 removed all Nazi references from the dialogue. The story of this edited version is about gangsters trying to get hold of a secret medicine formula that could be dangerous if in the wrong hands.

George Zucco and Henry Daniell both play villains in the film. Zucco earlier played Professor Moriarty in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) and Daniell later played Moriarty in The Woman in Green (1945).

The "V for victory" match books were for war bonds and were not fictional.

Uniquely, Holmes and Watson do not appear until the second reel of the film.

The fifth of fourteen films based on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson.

First of four titles in Basil Rathbone's Holmes movies to feature actor Ian Wolfe in a supporting role.

This was the third Sherlock Holmes feature produced at Universal. It was the second to be directed by Roy William Neill, and the first film in which he took over as the series producer.

Marjorie Lord spends the majority of the film wearing the gown worn by Priscilla Lane in the latter part of Alfred Hitchcock's film, "Saboteur" (1942) released the previous year. Both films were distributed by Universal Pictures.

US War Bonds promo tagged onto the end of the film reads: "You're not giving - just lending - when you buy war savings stamps and bonds - on sale here"

The tune that the lady is playing on the piano is featured also in the movie 'The Night that Panicked America'.



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Cerar

    An entertaining film about Holmes going to the USA, to recover an important diplomatic document. Reflects the wartime need to stress the democratic desires that were shared by the UK and the USA. Also needed by the increasing US involvement in the war against Germany. Serves as a good example of the attitudes of the day, together with an interesting plot.
  • avatar

    Jay

    Searching for an invaluable microfilm, SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON encounters as much danger as ever he did in old London.

    Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce return as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this unpretentious but enjoyable film. Although not based on any particular tale from the Canon, there is still enough mystery and intrigue to keep detective fans well satisfied. Of course, with Rathbone all cerebral intellect and Bruce ever the good-natured bumbler, the viewer knows that God's in His Heaven and all's right with the world.

    Henry Daniell & George Zucco, two of the series' finest villains, appear in this entry. They both specialized in making menace delightfully subtle and sophisticated. This time they portray German agents intent on retrieving an enormously important British document.

    Others in the cast include the lovely Marjorie Lord (who's quite grotesque with a cigarette dangling from her lips) as a young socialite pulled into the nefarious scheme; Holmes Herbert as a senior civil servant in London; and Thurston Hall as a blustery United Stated senator.

    Movie mavens will spot several fine actors in uncredited roles: Gerald Hamer as a hapless British agent; elderly Margaret Seddon as a train traveler with mice; dear Mary Gordon as Holmes' landlady, Mrs. Hudson; Mary Forbes as a spy's loving mother; and Ian Wolfe as a slightly sinister antiques store clerk. Especially notable is the always entertaining Clarence Muse, appearing as a club car porter, who does the almost impossible by stealing a scene from Rathbone.

    This film followed SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON (1942) and preceded SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943).
  • avatar

    Llallayue

    This is one of the most tense and exciting of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies, quickly establishing an atmosphere of danger and uncertainty, and maintaining it to the end. There is more than enough suspense and action to make up for a couple of minor holes in the story, and the setting in Washington generally works rather well as a change of pace from the usual British settings.

    The story follows the fate of a secret courier and the vital documents that he is carrying, with a gang of villains that targets several innocent bystanders in their desperate desire to get hold of the documents. It's an interesting story that is developed at an effective pace by Roy William Neill, and in particular, the way that the matchbook is used is almost worthy of Hitchcock.

    George Zucco has only a few scenes, but he does a fine job as Holmes's adversary. Rathbone and Bruce work smoothly together as usual, and Bruce gets several good moments with his reactions to American culture. It's not the kind of Watson that Arthur Conan Doyle would have recognized, but it works well in its own right, and it makes good use of Bruce's talents. Overall, it's one of the better movies in the enjoyable series.
  • avatar

    Global Progression

    I'm a big fan of Universal's Sherlock Holmes series, and Sherlock Holmes in Washington is definitely one of the better entries. The best Sherlock Holmes films tend to be the ones with a horror element (such as The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Scarlet Claw), but even though this one offers nothing in the way of horror; it still manages to present an excellent mystery for Holmes to unravel. He has been sent to Washington on the trail of some stolen microfilm containing important government information. This mystery is set apart from the rest of the series because of the fact that it is set in Washington DC, as opposed to Holmes' native London. The film is conscious of it's surroundings as it spends a lot of time talking about the difference in convention between Britain and America, which is shown best in a sequence involving the hilarious Doctor Watson. As usual with Holmes films, this one features two great performances from the leads; Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, and it's obvious that these two have worked together on many occasions, as their chemistry is flawless. The mystery itself is well plotted and plays out in a way that is both exciting and full of tension. The film's standout moment is draped in irony, and takes place during a dinner party in which the guests take it in turns to handle the microfilm. On the whole, if you like Holmes films; you'll like this one!
  • avatar

    IGOT

    A British spy carrying important diplomatic papers from Great Britain to the United States is kidnapped. Sherlock Holmes is needed to find the man, and more importantly the papers that would ruin world peace. This is a fine entry into the Sherlock Holmes cycle, albeit a bit thin in the area of plot. Notwithstanding this, Basil Rathbone and the lovable Nigel Bruce make the most of the material and turn the mundane into the sublime. Rathbone is his usual self, however, in this picture he sports a fairly unique hairstyle. Bruce is as ever a fun man to watch, uttering completely comic absurd remarks with the greatest conviction. The supporting cast is first-rate with the indeliable George Zucco as(who else?) the villain. Aiding Zucco is Henry Daniell. Throw in some great character acting by the likes of Gerald Hamer and Clarence Muse. The scene shared by Rathbone and Muse is particularly enjoyable to watch. At the end the film has its wartime message about the importance of democracy. A good mystery!
  • avatar

    Anayalore

    I can only rouse myself to comment on films I like: this is another old favourite. "Washington" is one of weaker entries in the series, but still enjoyable on its own merits as a B picture. The DVD I've just watched is of pristine quality - it really helps to see these potboilers as clean as they were meant to be seen, even if they can't be seen at cinema screen size.

    Rathbone and Bruce are in Washington searching for a McGuffin - an American match folder with a chunk of important Allied microfilm wedged inside. It luckily slips by both Nazi villains, Daniell and Zucco, and eventually alls well that ends well. On the way there's some ace detecting - the wood splinter in the blanket (mentioned in a previous post) not only instantly ID'ed by Holmes but the shop and even the chair it came from instantly ID'ed too! For some reason Watson was portrayed as even more bumbling than usual, so it's much better to forget about the original in Conan Doyle while the film's on!

    All these years and I'd not spotted Rathbone saying something to the American detective about "his blodgings" back at Baker Street!

    It is a bit of a flag waver, but not so fervent as Voice or Weapon, and a worthwhile oldie to watch as a non-purist.
  • avatar

    Malogamand

    When a British agent carrying vital war plans to Washington D.C. is kidnapped, the ace detective Sherlock Holmes flies in to investigate. Can he recover the missing document and apprehend the dastardly culprits ?

    This fifth film in the Rathbone-Bruce series is a strong entry with an excellent script by Lynn Riggs and Bertram Millhauser, featuring a perfect example of the MacGuffin as we follow the vital matchbook from person to person, cringing as it falls into the hands of the uncomprehending villains. Whilst the movie is padded a little with some pleasant stock footage of the US Capitol, the action moves swiftly along from some early machinations in London to a high-society party to a final showdown in an antiques shop. Rathbone is as effervescent as ever, Zucco and Daniell (both of whom played Moriarty in other films in this series) are suitably creepy as the heavies, and the whole enchilada is laden with thrills, laughs and scares. Trivia - Archer and Lord, who play the young couple, were real life husband and wife, and the parents of noted actress Anne Archer.
  • avatar

    Peles

    Although none of the Rathbone/Holmes films are what I would call great film making, I find them to be quite enjoyable, due mostly to Rathbone's performance as Holmes. I found this one in particular to be one of the more enjoyable movies in the series. The plot is intriguing enough to hold the viewers attention and I found the scene with Holmes in the antique store to be immensely entertaining. While not a great and thought-provoking film, Sherlock Holmes in Washington is definitely worth watching if you're looking for something that merely entertains.
  • avatar

    Ienekan

    Third in the Universal series of Sherlock Holmes films is another strong one with a WWII plot. A British secret agent carrying important documents is kidnapped en route to Washington, D.C. The British government turns to Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) to find the agent and the documents. Together with Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce), Holmes journeys to America to investigate.

    Rathbone and Bruce are terrific, as usual. This is the last entry in the series where Rathbone sports that silly hairstyle. George Zucco and Henry Daniell are great villains, which should surprise no one. They both played Holmes' nemesis Prof. Moriarty in other films. Holmes Herbert, Thurston Hall, Gavin Muir, and Edmund Macdonald are among the fine actors in the wonderful supporting cast. Marjorie Lord provides the pretty. Strong direction from Roy William Neill.

    It's a very entertaining movie. No backhanded compliments here. No "best of the propaganda Holmes films" or "thankfully not as much flag-waving as the previous two films" or any of that stuff. Unlike some other reviewers I don't respond to patriotism (especially during WWII) like the Wicked Witch responds to water. After this entry, Holmes would return to murder mysteries although still taking place in the (then) present day rather than the Victorian era, much to the consternation of Holmes purists. I have my thoughts on that but I'll just quote John Archer, the actor who played Lt. Pete Merriam in this film: "Those Sherlock Holmes fans -- by God, they are rabid. They want everything to be just the way it was."
  • avatar

    Anyshoun

    I've seen Sherlock Holmes In Washington a couple of times and although not the best of the series, I found it enjoyable.

    During the Second World War, Holmes and Dr Watson head to Washington to investigate a missing document on a microfilm which is hidden in a matchbox. After getting the clues, they retrieve it at the end and head back to London.

    As always, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce play Holmes and Watson brilliantly and are joined in this one by George Zucco (The Flying Serpent, House of Frankenstein), Marjorie Lord, Holmes Herbert (The Pearl of Death, Ghost of Frankenstein) and Henry Daniell.

    Though not the best of the Rathbone/Bruce movies, Sherlock Holmes in Washington is certainly worth a look. Enjoyable.

    Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • avatar

    Adoranin

    It seems to me that which ever Sherlock Holmes {Rathbone} film I watch there is always comments on the site stating it's one of the weaker in the series !!, it really just goes to show how we are all different as regards our love of the series because to me this entry is far from being weak. It has a very tidy plot that takes our delightful duo to America and contains one of my favourite sequences as we watch a (critical to the plot) book of matches go from person to person at a social gathering. Holmes gets to act up as an eccentric art collector and Watson does what he does best, comedy relief. The ending perhaps could of packed a bigger punch for me personally, but all in all it's yer above average detective drama acted out with the usual style from the regulars, 7/10.
  • avatar

    Quemal

    SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON is one of the better Holmes and Watson capers. Directed by Roy William Neil, the master of deductive reasoning Sherlock Holmes(Basil Rathbone)and his often bumbling parter Dr. Watson(Nigel Bruce)make a trip to Washington, D.C. after a top-secret agent is kidnapped and murdered after passing off hidden valuable microfilm inside the cover of a matchbook. WWII Nazi spies use an antique furniture shop as a front for their misdeeds and acts of treason. Holmes is pretty hard to get the best of even on this side of the Atlantic. It is humorous that Watson is baffled by bubble gum. A young Marjorie Lord is very impressive. Also in the cast: Henry Daniell, George Zucco, John Archer and Thurston Hall.
  • avatar

    Winn

    First, I want to point out that the copy of this film (DVD) that you want is the re-worked UCLA film lab version that was digitized from a very pristine black-and-white 35 mm print. All other copies are inferior to this one. The aspect is full-screen.

    In the story, A British courier is dispatched to Washington as a decoy for the real carrier of a secret WW II document which is imperative to the Allied offensive. The real courier is one Alfred Pettibone, traveling under the alias of John Gregson (played by Gerald Hamer, astonishingly, uncredited in this film! We also saw Hamer play the postman in "Sherlock Holmes and The Scarlet Claw"; and other characters in "Sherlock Holmes Faces Death" ; in "Pursuit to Algiers," and in; "Terror by Night").

    Pettibone/Gregson manages to surreptitiously hand off the document, which he had reduced to microfilm and embedded in a matchbook, to the fiancé of an American Navy Lieutenant -- she doesn't know that she has it until she suddenly recalls that Pettibone/Gregson dropped the matchbook into her purse just after he lit her cigarette. Still, she plays dumb to Zucco's threatened tortures. Before the girl's actual abduction, Pettibone/Gregson is kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by these same Nazi agents, (one of whom is played by Daniell).

    Holmes and Pettibone had worked together before on important cases so Holmes is ready to take on the task and travel with Watson to Washington when the British authorities tell him that his associate has disappeared, along with the document. Subsequent to attempts on his own life and that of Watson's, the pair travel to America where the Washington D.C. police are at their beck and call.

    It's soon discovered by both Holmes and the Nazis that the young fiancé has the document, or at least a knowledge of its whereabouts, so the bad guys kidnap her just before Holmes can get to her. Then, Holmes has to dredge up some quick clues to locate the Nazi agents' (the boss of whom is played by the great and sinister George Zucco!) base of operations.

    Will Holmes be in time to save the girl and recover the document?!? What do YOU think *.* Still, it's a good suspenseful film with plenty of action. Definitely worth watching.
  • avatar

    Hrguig

    Once again Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce deliver the goods in "Sherlock Holmes in Washington." I like this film from 1943.... A great cast that includes Henry Daniell, George Zucco and some other fine actors of note......

    If I have any gripe at all about the series of 'Holmes' films that Rathbone and Bruce made is, they are all between 60 to 75 minutes long.... To me, that means rather short... I'd prefer longer scripts and films that run at least 80 to 90 minutes long.... For the 1940s, that is a normal run......

    I love these old-time co-stars like "Henry Daniell, George Zucco, Lionel Atwill & Dennis Hoey." All them guys were pluses for the series of 'Holmes' films produced from 1939 to 1946...... Good quality there...

    MR.BILL
  • avatar

    Golkree

    Nothing that special in this Holmes story, except a few nice comments at the very end by our detective hero about America and Washington, D.C. Otherwise, it's just a so-so espionage story about a clip of microfilm that is hidden in some matchbook, with nobody but Holmes aware of that. The man who put it there was killed. The good guys want to make sure the bad guys don't get a hold of it.

    We follow the matchbook as it goes from one person to the next. Most of the suspects are those who were on the train carrying the man who had the microfilm in the first place.

    The problem with the film is there isn't enough suspense and the ending scenes are so hokey it's almost embarrassing to watch. And - by the way - what was with that hairdo on Basil Rathbone (Holmes). That was really strange-looking, so much so it was distracting. Thankfully, he found a new barber for his other films.
  • avatar

    Yozshugore

    Film can be the most fun.

    One of the most interesting things about film is how we use them to work out who we are. I'm interested in certain notions of complex abstract reasoning, but the simpler, more obvious stuff is fun too. One of those "simple" things is national identity. And there is hardly a better case than how the British defined themselves during the great war. While France rolled over and most Europeans were left to define themselves as humans instead of citizens, the English really turned to film as a nation.

    One of the most interesting appropriations was Sherlock Holmes. He has a singular importance in the history of literature, both in terms of placing a discoverer of story in the story, and in terms of being a representative of the (then) new notion that people are motivated and act rationally.

    So any movie with Holmes in it, no matter how casual, is loaded, and this one is loaded by bulldozers. Holmes is transported from Victorian times to then modern times. His nemesis here is the guy who played his old opponent: Moriarty.

    And there are other transpositions as well. Holmes' interest in science is transformed to a focus on technology, here microfilm, high tech for the time. And the action — after some homeland establishing shots (including a loving mother) — is transported from the UK to the US. And that's the interesting part, because when you are defining your nature, you have the choice by defining it against others.

    In this case, we have a parade of American stereotypes. Since it was absolutely clear that the Americans were saving the Brits from extinction, this is done with less edge than usual. But we still have the bullmoose loud senator, the dippy but earnest girlie, the solid naval officer and such. These are woven around landmarks of Washington.

    But one stereotype is particularly of interest. In the 40's in the US, black men were railroad porters. By a lucky accident, it was a way to earn decent money, be relatively cosmopolitan but still stay in a role of servitude. These were Jim Crow days in the US, a bad time, a time of canker. So depicting the necessary black man in this film was handled with some sensitivity. The British filmmakers followed the form of polite deference, but with less bowing and scraping than in an America movie of the era.

    But check out who plays the black porter. He's George Muse, perhaps the least servile black man in the business at the time, someone who would go on to earn a doctorate. Someone who refused to give an inch on basic respect. I think the Brits in charge of production, who did the US portions in California with DC projected on screens behind, would have been amused. The savior of the world, with this huge blot.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
  • avatar

    Brakree

    This is one of the many Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes films I loved to watch as a child. I was enthralled by the whole series. I still try to catch them when they pop up on the telly.

    During the Second World War these films were written as propaganda and we had strange rousing scenes of the free west (gratuitous pictures of Lincoln Memorial, the White House etc). At the end of these films Holmes gives a soliloquy designed to put a lump in your throat and rouse you into fighting for freedom. Hilarious today!

    Terrific!!
  • avatar

    Tansino

    It is neat to share in Holmes' American adventure and Watson's observations of American life. A historic view of Washington buildings is also interesting. Can watch several times.

    I particularly enjoy the scenes on the train in the US where Holmes determines the location of the various people while Watson acts out who they are.

    I also enjoy the way the story deals with the aspects of the British courier/ secret agent, Alfred Pettibone, of Parlow, Nash, Parlow. The scenes at his apartment where Holmes figures out why they need to go to America, the scene where Pettibone is getting on the plane and when abducted on the train are well done and entertaining. I thought the story moves along better than most of the others in this series.
  • avatar

    Made-with-Love

    When I was a wee lad steeped in Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes stories, this movie struck me as plain awful. It was painful to see Sherlock as a tourist in a wildly inappropriate DC milieu (the back-projected crazy quilt of Washington monuments on his drive around town makes it seem the chauffeur is on crack), spouting pax Americana patriotism and even paying tribute to the crime-fighting superiority of the FBI (??!!). Nigel Bruce was a particular affront as a doddering Dr. Watson, noisily sucking down ice cream sodas and struggling to read 30 pages on a 10-hour transatlantic flight.

    But time has been kind to "SH in Washington." This was the first of these movies written by Bertram Millhauser, who always came up with witty dialogue for Rathbone and Bruce and snarky bits of malice for the supporting cast. Basil Rathbone gives a hopped-up performance as Holmes, barking out ludicrously improbable deductions and even reprising his Louis XI imitation as a limp-wristed "eccentric" collector. There is a small gem of a performance from Gerald Hamer (unbilled, sadly) as the master spy who sets the plot in motion -- he gives the movie a few whiffs of danger, intrigue and poignance. And it's hard to dislike a movie with two Moriartys: silky sadist Henry Daniell and glittery-eyed psycho George Zucco. By the way, the suspense hinges on the fate of a fast-dwindling book of matches, so if you're trying to quit smoking, this is not the movie for you.
  • avatar

    Yggfyn

    SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON (Universal, 1943), directed by Roy William Neil, marks the fifth entry of the popular series and third installment in the newly updated format starring Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes) and Nigel Bruce (Doctor Watson). Once again there's assurance for its movie going audience this is the Holmes and Watson of modern times by lifting the original titled opening from SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR (1942) to read, "Sherlock Holmes, the immortal character of fiction created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is ageless, invincible and unchanging. In solving significant problems of the present day, he remains - as ever - the supreme master of deductive reasoning." Since Tarzan can go to New York (TARZAN'S NEW YORK ADVENTURE (MGM, 1942)) and/or every other movie sleuth venture around the world solving individual murder cases, why not Sherlock Holmes leaving his natural surroundings of England? This is what Holmes and Watson get to do for their next assignment, coming to America and visiting our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Though Holmes doesn't get to have tea with the president in the White House lawn, he does, however, have opportunities getting a glimpse of many of its landmarks while doing what he does best, deductive reasoning.

    The 12 minute prologue opens at the London Terminal Transatlantic Airport where an assortment of passengers come on board an airplane bound for New York City, one of them being Sir Henry Marchmont (Gilbert Emery), a British diplomat who, unknowingly, is being carefully observed by William Easter (Henry Daniell). Arriving at the last moment before the plane's departure is the seemingly drunken, accident prone John Grayson (Gerald Hamer) who seats himself across from Easter. While on the Washington Express bound for Washington, D.C., Grayson, senses great danger as he notices Easter and his spies, Cady (Bradley Page) and Howe (Don Terry), keeping close eye contact on him. While conversing with other passengers, Grayson permits himself by lighting a cigarette for Nancy Patridge (Marjorie Lord) before placing a match folder with well concealed microfilmed documents inside her purse. Moments after a sudden blackout, Grayson is abducted. Because Grayson has never reached his destination, Mr. Ahrens (Holmes Herbert) of the British Empire, assigns Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and his associate, Doctor Watson (Nigel Bruce) to Washington, D.C. Aside from being in constant danger themselves, Holmes and Watson attempt to solve Grayson's disappearance, some murders, and locate the now missing Nancy Partridge, believed to be connected with Grayson's missing document by Richard Stanley (George Zucco), a local antique shop owner.

    For the first time in the series, the story reportedly doesn't use any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" stories as its sources, but borrows in areas from its previous installment, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON (1942). Though the opening titles credit Bertram Milhauser for its original story, the screen treatment repeats the idea of subject matter, this time a London lawyer turned secret agent, falling victim of enemy spies, and Holmes called to locate a secret document before reaching enemy hands. While Holmes in SECRET WEAPON finds its ringleader to be his arch rival, Professor Moriarty (Lionel Atwill), he matches wits here with the an earlier Moriarty, portrayed by George Zucco (THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (20th-Fox, 1939)) and future Moriarty, Henry Daniell (THE WOMAN IN GREEN, 1945). Such a missed opportunity by not having Zucco reprise his most memorable role, considering how his new character, using the frequent saying of "Permit me!" to contain enough ingredients of the sinister Moriarty. For classic moments, be on the lookout for Rathbone's most amusing guise of an eccentric art collector and Zucco's method of introducing the captured Holmes to his hostage Nancy: "Allow me to present Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the world's famous detective. He's here to rescue you."

    SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON, the most Americanized of the Rathbone-Bruce installments, contains familiar American types including Thurston Hall (Senator Henry Babcock); Edmund MacDonald (Detective Grogan); Clarence Muse (George, the train waiter); and John Archer, Nancy's fiancé, Peter Merriam, lieutenant in the United States Navy. There's also some fine insight centering upon Doctor Watson's interest in America customs as drinking milk shakes, chewing gum and reading the comics and sports pages from newspapers. Though Sherlock Holmes smokes a cigarette or two, which he's done before in prior modern day London installments, he does get to recite a then current speech by Sir Winston Churchill. Overall, how that match cover passes in and out of enemy agents' hands without them knowing about it, should rank this another winning entry. And yes, Mary Gordon returns briefly as Holmes' landlady, Mrs. Hudson, for one brief scene.

    Distributed to video cassette by Key Video (1988) and two decades later onto DVD, SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON, along with other Rathbone/ Bruce installments, premiered December 26, 2009, on Turner Classic Movies as part of the cable channel's tribute to the legendary detective. Permit me in concluding the next installment being SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH (1943) by adding to the pun, "When didn't he?" (**1/2)
  • avatar

    Ť.ħ.ê_Ĉ.õ.о.Ł

    Shortly before the full outbreak of World War Two, a British Agent is travelling incognito with information vital to the war effort. On a train to Washington he vanishes – abducted by the enemy. Holmes is contacted by the Home Office to help find the information before it falls into the wrong hands and he and Watson set out for America, where the Nazi's are also still searching for the information.

    This particular series of Holmes movies are rarely fantastic but this is surely one of the weakest I have seen thus far. In updating Holmes to modern (as was) times the film really loses touch with the strengths of the series based in the original time. This film has too many jokes about Holmes and Watson noticing the oddities of `modern' life, a tougher `gangster' edge with Holmes brandishing a gun with Cagney-esque menace etc. This significantly takes away from the enjoyment of seeing Holmes work out the logic of a good case.

    This isn't helped by a very weak plot. At heart it is nothing more than a flag-waving exercise with a chance for a very English hero to put one over on the enemy of the day. I don't mind propaganda and understand why these were important at the time but I do mind bad films! The plot is OK at the start but there is no logic to it and the main plot device (the match-book) floats around with random abandon and all just happens to come together far too neatly with big leaps that are out of a script writers head and not from the logic of Holmes. My personal favourite jump of the film was Holmes drawing a splinter out of a rug and identifying that it came from a chair, what type of chair, the year of the chair and therefore the shop in Washington it came from – all in a few lines of dialogue! The conclusion is poor despite some nice touches and is further marred by a heavy handed message of America and the UK coming together to face a common foe.

    Rathbone is a less impressive Holmes than usual. His condescending streak is still evident but his logic is less impressive and more wartime thriller. Also his hairstyle appears to have gone mad and looks silly – I'm sure I could see Bruce occasionally staring at it when delivering his lines! Bruce is good as always and adds good comic relief and the only weakness is my usual complain that I don't see Watson being just a buffoon with a pistol. The bad guys all lacked character for me with only the head standing out briefly. I missed Inspector Lestrade as he is often a comic foil for Holmes!

    Overall this is a very poor entry in a generally enjoyable series of films. I enjoy them usually but here the weaknesses just piled on top of one another and the basic strengths were lost in the flag-waving update.
  • avatar

    Virtual

    In general, this is as entertaining a Sherlock Holmes/Rathbone/Bruce film as one could want, with terrific villians (Zucco, Daniell, et al)and the very visual plot (Roy William Neill was quite a fine B movie director) - butr in specific, having just watched the DVD sans commercials and annoying excuses to make a sandwich, it points up the big strength of the series of Rathbone/Bruce films: speed. There is absolutely no sense of either Holmes or Watson resting once they are put on the case, the nature of the screenplays being one of investigation with Holmes - from location to location. Here, they go to a murdered British agent' s home after hired by the government, almost get killed, board a plane, yak about baseball on route to America, get to Washington, investigate, have some banter in their hotel about Americans and Brits, dash to another murder, spend the night at a FBI lab, go to a clue they find - walking montage no less - get in hot water, save the day, and are whisked back home again. The breakneck serial-type plots are neatly joined in with the breezy style of Neill - dare I think Holmes could be "on the needle" still....and sharing it with Watson? Not so elementary, I think.
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    Musical Aura Island

    Serviceable third entry in the Universal series takes Sherlock (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) to America where Holmes attempts to secure valuable documents being kept on microfilm after the man carrying them is murdered. Among the bad guys who'd like to get their hands on it are the reliable George Zucco (sporting an unusual head of hair for a change) and Henry Daniell. One rather tedious element involves the coincidental passing around of a mysterious matchbook, which always rather conveniently just manages to change hands. This film reportedly did not fare very well at the time and so from the next feature onward it was decided to drop the early formula Universal had employed; instead of featuring Sherlock Holmes as some sort of superhero who battles Nazi spies, they got him down to more traditional sleuthing. This approach was deemed more preferable by most fans of the legendary detective. **1/2 out of ****
  • avatar

    Faegal

    Director: ROY WILLIAM NEILL. Screenplay: Bertram Millhauser and Lynn Riggs. Based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Original story: Bertram Millhauser. Director of photography: Lester White. Film editor: Otto Ludwig. Art director: Jack Otterson. Music director: Charles Previn. Music score: Frank Skinner. Associate producer: Howard Benedict.

    Copyright 24 September 1942 by Universal Pictures Co., Inc. No recorded New York opening. U.S. release: 30 April 1943. U.K. release: 8 February 1944. Australian release: 17 June 1943. 6,490 feet. 72 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: This was the first Rathbone/Holmes film not based at least in part on a Doyle story. Holmes is trying to recover a document microfilmed and hidden in a matchbook by a British agent in the United States. The agent is killed, and the matchbook has been passed to another passenger on the train without her knowing what she is now carrying. Holmes is competing with Nazi agents also eager to recover the document.

    NOTES: Number 5 of the Rathbone-Bruce series.

    COMMENT: The Washington setting lent itself very well to Holmes' pro-Allies, anti-Axis, "hands-across-the-sea" patriotism propaganda messages, whilst the script was equally hackneyed.

    However, Rathbone and Bruce received excellent support in this episode from both a former (Zucco) and a future (Daniell) Moriarty. Although the screenplay had interesting moments, its story was somewhat similar to "Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon". Unfortunately, the script was nowhere near as involving or as adroitly and colorfully characterized as that previous film.

    This picture must, therefore, be classified as only an average series entry.
  • avatar

    Rolorel

    Among the pluses in this movie:

    We get two top English character actors, George Zucco and Henry Daniell, who both appeared in other Rathbone-Bruce Holmes films.

    The script offers Holmes some witty rejoinders to the lovable but slightly dim Watson, which Rathbone delivers with wonderful dryness.

    Fans of the films will notice British actor Gerald Hamer among the cast. Hamer appeared in no less than five of these Holmes films!

    The plot is fast moving, and there are no "slow" moments.

    The chemistry between Holmes and Watson is superb, as always.