"They were the footprints… of a gigantic hound!"
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce became synonymous with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson after appearing in 14 film versions of various stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Yet at the start, neither of them got top billing. Yet now, Rathbone’s look as the famous detective is the iconic look for him. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up this year’s series of films from 1939, commonly called the greatest year of cinema, with Sidney Lanfield’s 1939 version of the famous story.
We talk about the various versions of this story brought to the screen – from 1914 to 2016 – and contrast its popularity with what our sense is of the actual story from the book (a fairly lame way to commit a crime). We chat about Rathbone and Bruce and what they bring to the table, along with Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, Lionel Atwill, John Carradine and Barlowe Borland. We discuss problems we have with the detective story and how that compares with what is provided by this film. We chat about the look of the film and how the production crew brought it to life, from costumes to sets, from casting to effects, from music (or lack thereof) to screenwriting. And we touch on the controversial last line and why it was so problematic when first released.
It’s a film that tells a mediocre detective story without much panache, but does at least introduce the world to Rathbone and Bruce as the iconic pair. Is it worth seeing? That’s up to you, but either way, make sure you tune in to our show!