‘Dressed to Kill’ (Film)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Music Boxes and Hilda Courtney with Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock and Nigel Bruce’s Watson

‘Dressed to Kill’ is the fourteenth and final film in the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ series with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. I have greatly enjoyed watching these ‘Sherlock Holmes’ films for fourteen weeks. 🙂

This film was released in 1946 and it had the working titles ‘Prelude to Murder’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code’. Though ‘The Secret Code’ title is what the film was called in the UK. 😐

There is an original storyline to this film. Mind you, the film is argued to be based on certain aspects of ‘The Adventure of the Six Napoleons’, one of 56 short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1903. 🙂

In the last film of the series, an innocent hobby for collecting musical boxes turns into something deadly. This is when a collector is murdered for the secret contained in three particular music boxes.

Unknown to the unlucky collector, the music boxes holds part of the key to the location of stolen five-pound note printing plates. Can Holmes and Watson uncover the culprits in this peculiar case? 😐

Once again, Basil Rathbone excels in the role of Sherlock Holmes. I like how he deducts things in these cases and he does it with a sense of gentlemanly pride, even when others aren’t very keyed in.

Holmes does get himself into trouble when confronting the female culprit behind the acquisition of the music boxes. Thankfully, Holmes with Watson’s help manages to outwit the villains by the end. 🙂

Nigel Bruce is equally good as Dr. Watson. It turns out that the collector who gets killed from acquiring music boxes is an old friend of Watson’s. I like how Watson plays his part to solve the case.

It’s a shame that Watson is easily fooled when the woman Hilda Courtney steals the last music box under his nose. But Holmes is forgiving, especially when he himself was fooled and tricked by her. 😀

This is something I find appealing in the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. They’re willing to admit mistakes compared to Benedict Cumberbatch who can be over-confident. 😐

Patricia Morison stars as Hilda Courtney, the woman ‘dressed to kill’ who steals the music boxes under the collector’s noses. It was interesting to see her angle on why she’d steal those music boxes.

Hilda Courtney has two male accomplices with her. For a while, I thought Holmes was going to defeat her when meeting her in her home. But she became smart, endangering him in a warehouse.

The film also includes Edmund Breon as ‘Stinky’ Emery, the unfortunate collector who gets killed by Hilda Courtney and her accomplices. Unfortunate for him to be called ‘Stinky’ by Watson in the film!

There’s Frederick Worlock as Colonel Cavanaugh and Carl Harbord as Inspector Hopkins. Even for this last ‘Sherlock Holmes’ film, Dennis Hoey’s character of Inspector Lestrade wasn’t able to return.

There’s Patricia Cameron as Evelyn Clifford and Holmes Herbert as Ebenezer Crabtree. Holmes Herbert has been in a lot of these ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movies, playing a variety of different characters.

He was in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’, ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon’, ‘Sherlock Holmes in Washington’, ‘The Pearl of Death’ and ‘The House of Fear’ before doing ‘Dressed to Kill’. 🙂

The film also features Harry Cording as Hamid, Leyland Hodgson as a tour guide and Mary Gordon as Mrs. Hudson. Sadly, Mrs. Hudson hasn’t had so much screen time in this series as I hoped she would.

Ian Wolfe plays the commissioner of Scotland Yard in this film. Like Holmes Herbert, Ian Wolfe has had his fair share of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ films as well as starring in a couple of ‘Star Trek’ TV episodes.

As well as ‘Dressed to Kill’, Ian Wolfe was in ‘Sherlock Holmes in Washington’ and ‘The Pearl of Death’. It’s amazing how these actors appear in these ‘Sherlock Holmes’ films as different characters.

There’s also Anita Sharp-Bolster as the schoolteacher on a museum tour, Cyril Delavanti as John Davidson, Harry Allen as William Kilgour and Topsy Glyn as the Kilgour Child. A very good cast in this!

‘Dressed to Kill’ is a good final film in the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ film series. I’m glad the film series ended on a positive note and it’s so amazing Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce lasted long for fourteen films.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the ‘Restoring Sherlock Holmes’ featurette, production notes by Richard Valley, a photo gallery and an original theatrical trailer.

I have found ‘the definitive collection’ of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ films starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce pretty enjoyable! Each of the fourteen films in this series has been intriguing and refreshing. I don’t know if this makes me more knowledgeable about Sherlock Holmes as a character in the films.

It’s interesting how the film series started in Victorian times under 20th Century Fox before moving into contemporary 1940s times under Universal. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce excel in their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I’m glad they managed to do fourteen films as their characters.

‘Dressed to Kill’ rating – 8/10

‘Sherlock Holmes’ (1939-46 film series) rating – 8/10

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