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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Friday, May 06, 2011


Basil Rathbone and Nigel BruceYou really should know who BASIL RATHBONE AND NIGEL BRUCE are! Basil Rathbone (1892-1967) had already gained a great deal of popularity as a screen villain in films such as The Adventures of Robin Hood. Nigel Bruce (1895-1953) was a popular character actor in films like Treasure Island. Their teaming as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson was inspired. Although Watson was played more as a bumbling dolt that in the books, Rathbone and Bruce became the standard portrayals for over 40 years.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)A fine place to start is by viewing: The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1939). In this excellent film Rathbone and Bruce were first teamed as the great detective and his biographer. Interestingly enough, they were reduced to support for star Richard Greene as Sir Henry Baskerville. But it's well done and it's a pleasure to see how quickly Rathbone and Bruce developed their rapport on screen.

See that and watch them in the following four films:
The Scarlet Claw (1944) When the Holmes series was moved to Universal the films became a B series (not in quality, but length) and the setting was moved from the Victorian era to contemporary times. In this one Holmes and Watson are in Canada investigating a series of grisley murders in a small village. This is regarded as the best of the Universal series and it is very spooky.
The Spider Woman (1944) Holmes and Watson investigate a series of unusual suicides and run afoul of Gale Sondergaard, a great screen villainess.
The Pearl Of Death (1944) Holmes and Watson encounter a killer called "The Creeper" (Rondo Hatton). The story is based on The Six Napoleons and is another minor masterpiece of mystery and mayhem.
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) This was the first of the Universal series notable for featuring scream queen Evelyn Ankers on the wrong side of the law.

*Contributed by: Eric Jamborsky Date: Tues, Oct 17 2006 / 08:47:25 PST

Academy Awards®
© A.M.P.A.S.®
Basil Rathbone
1936 Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role: ROMEO AND JULIET
1938 Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role: IF I WERE KING


  • As a kid, I watched all of the Basil & Nigel movies. At first, they seemed totally different than most American movies that I'd seen (Mary Poppins, It's a MAD MAD MAD MAD World, etc.), but I learned to enjoy them greatly!

    By Blogger Arlen Crawford, at Sat Nov 18, 02:02:00 AM PST