Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
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BASIL RATHBONE NIGEL BRUCE
In SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON
Digitally Restored in 35mm
The master detective Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and his faithful cohort Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) are back, preserved and digitally restored in 35mm to original condition by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. This newly restored version of the classic film includes the period war bond tag, studio logo and credits from its original theatrical release. Filled with ominous shadows and interesting camera angles, the visual beauty of the film in 35mm is stunning.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyles "The Adventure of the Dancing Men" inspired THE SECRET WEAPON. The wartime plot pits Sherlock Holmes once more against his nemesis, the villainously brilliant Professor Moriarty, who was believed dead but is now working for the Nazis. The Nazis have assigned Moriarty to kidnap Dr. Franz Tobel, the inventor of a new super bombsight. Sherlock Holmes outwits the enemy agents and escapes with Tobel and his precious invention. But despite elaborate precautions, the inventor later disappears before the process of manufacturing the bombsight is perfected.
Holmes and Watson must stop the Nazis from getting their hands on the new bombsight, wrapped in a code of dancing men. Using a variety of disguises - a Swiss inventor, the Lascar sailor Ram Singh, and an old German bookseller, Holmes puts his own life on the line in a race against the clock to prevent Moriarty from carrying out his evil plans. THE SECRET WEAPON is also the first of the films to introduce Dennis Hoey as Scotland Yard detective Inspector Lestrade. Preserved and restored in 35mm by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
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I hopefully look forward to seeing the other 10 episodes of the Sherlock Holmes series staring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, also done in color. By the way "Prelude To Murder" is the same movie as "Dressed To Kill".
It's been noted elsewhere that UCLA has restored "some" of these 14 episodes, and I'm not sure, but I think that all of them may have been restored, but not yet converted to color. I have all of them in B/W and believe that they are all of very good quality even if not completely restored. This is important if you like to watch them over again in black and white as well as the color versions.
Color adds so much more life to black and white film classics that I actually enjoy them as if they were completely new movies.
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon begins with Holmes sneaking top scientist Franz Tobler out of Switzerland. His design for a new bomb delivery device has been offered to England and must not fall into German hands. Back in London, Tobler unwisely ditches Watson while he's asleep in favor of his love, Charlotte Eberli. Since beautiful and down to earth Karren Verne is the actress portraying her, it's easy to see his reasoning. Yet it is a mistake, putting Holmes' old nemesis, Moriarty, onto the device.
Lionel Atwill has a turn in this outing as Moriarty, and while he does a nice job, it must be said that Henry Daniell is sorely missed in this one. Dennis Hoey is Lestrade this time and also performs admirably. It isn't long before Tobler is in the hands of Moriarty, but a secret code given to Charlotte holds the key to the device. Holmes has it but, unfortunately, so does Moriarty! Three men will die before Holmes breaks the code of the fourth man and sets a trap for his archenemy, who in turn is setting a trap for Holmes.
Rathbone dons many disguises in this one and Roy William Neill's direction keeps it moving along nicely. A secret exit and a trap door to death will decide who is the superior mind in this one. A nice bit about England Holmes steals from the Bard wraps things up in tidy fashion as R.A.F. planes leave for Germany equipped with the new device. All in all, though not quite the gem of some episodes in the "B" series, a fun entry for fans.
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote four long stories and fifty-six short stories.Read more