Sherlock Holmes in Washington / Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
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Sherlock Holmes Double Feature - Sherlock Holmes Faces Death & Sherlock Holmes in Washington
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943) An intriguing mystery based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Musgrave Ritual." Dr. Watson, tending recuperating soldiers housed at centuries-old Musgrave Manor, summons Sherlock Holmes to investigate strange happenings. What follows is a bizarre series of events, including murders, secret passages, a game of chess and a mysterious family ritual. Even Inspector Lestrade is on hand, as well as lovely Hillary Brooke as Sally Musgrave. But only Sherlock Holmes, in a race against time and a desperate killer, can decipher the ancient riddle and uncover the treasure it hides.
Sherlock Holmes in Washington A British secret service operative, carrying top-secret microfilm from England to Washington, disappears while traveling to his destination. Fearing for his safety just before his disappearance, he passes the microfilm, ingeniously hidden, to another passenger on the train without her knowing. The agent is reported missing and Sherlock Holmes is called in to investigate.
Filmed during World War II, Sherlock Holmes In Washinton pits Holmes and Watson against Nazi enemy agents. The British government asks Holmes and Watson to go to Washington to recover the missing documents before they fall into the wrong hands, which would be disastrous for England and her allies. Holmes is up against an international ring of spies in a race against time to piece together the clues and discover the whereabouts of the microfilm before it is too late.
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In "Faces Death" (when doesn't he?) they take the names from the real Holmes short story, "the Musgrave Ritual" but the similarities end there. It's 1943 and Watson is serving as the medical officer in a hospital, really an old mansion, a crumbling, spooky edifice, for shell shocked soldiers. When one of the doctors is attacked one night Watson asks his friend to investigate and as bodies start to pile up in this classic who done it, the game is afoot!
"In Washington" is more of an adventure film. When a British courier disappears with an important document Holmes is charged with tracking it down. The man was last seen in a train compartment and as people who had been on that train start to get attacked it becomes obvious the courier passed the documents to someone on the train and a race is on to see if Holmes can get to the right person first.
As an interesting aside to this film it is copywrited in 1942, After the US had entered the war but it just refers to `an enemy' not Germany outright, it was probably written before pearl Harbor and was meant to drum up American support for the war. also of interest is a steward on the train Holmes talks to; a black man who proudly tells Holmes his son is in the army and going to be a pilot. We wouldn't think anything of this in 2014 but in 1942? This was an interesting statement by someone involved in the film about men fighting for their country.
Prior to these films Rathbone usually played the villain, a suave cultured villain, but the baddie none the less. At best he was the disinterested playboy, but after these films, he was Sherlock Holmes; the great brain without emotion who was several moves ahead of everyone else in the room, ably supported by Nigel Bruce as a bumbling Watson who could be counted on not only to trip over a clue, but provide unquestioning support for his friend through the very darkest mysteries. They did it so very well that any other actor before or since is held up to them for comparison. They set the bar, and they set it very high indeed.