AS STARTLING AS A SCREAM IN THE NIGHT!
John Watson (Nigel Bruce), who’s serving as a doctor at a mansion turned into a wartime hospital, brings Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) to investigate a mysterious assault… but the first thing they find is a murder victim. The sixth film in the series takes a break from the propaganda and focuses more closely on a good mystery; this one could just as easily have played out in Holmes’s Victorian times. The film creates an intriguing atmosphere at the hospital with a secret crypt, an ancient family ritual and an ominous clocktower announcing murders. Plenty of tension and the killer’s identity remains a mystery for a long time. Bruce and Dennis Hoey provide lighter moments as the fumbling Watson and Lestrade.
1943-U.S. 68 min. B/W. Produced and directed by Roy William Neill. Screenplay: Bertram Millhauser. Story: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (”The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual”). Cast: Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes), Nigel Bruce (John Watson), Hillary Brooke (Sally Musgrave), Milburn Stone, Arthur Margetson, Halliwell Hobbes… Peter Lawford.
Trivia: Followed by The Spider Woman (1944).
Last word: “Working at Universal at the time that the Sherlock Holmes pics were made was delightful. The Holmes pics made so much money that we were more or less on our own. Nigel Bruce became a dear friend and Basil was a darling. We both loved animals and ice cream. When we were not working, we would get ice cream cones and stroll to the back of the lot to see and visit with the animals. Roy Neill was a dear person. Very easy to work with and very kind.” (Brooke, “Universal Horrors”)