Dressed to Kill (1946)
Release year: 1946
Director: Roy William Neill
Screenwriters: Leonard Lee, Frank Gruber
Starring: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Patricia Morison, Edmund Breon, Frederick Worlock, Carl Habord, Patricia Cameron
A certain interest in small inexpensive music boxes leads Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) on to a case leading back to an old robbery. Together with his trusted friend Dr. Watson (Bruce) he comes up against an intelligent female enemy.
There is something about the mellow pace and calm and collected narrative of old Sherlock Holmes movies that makes them cozy despite murder and mayhem. Dressed to kill is the last of the fourteen Sherlock Holmes movies starring Rathbone (The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938) and Bruce (Rebecca, 1940) and the two slip easily into the characters they know so well and does so with grace. Rathbone’s Holmes is charming and clever while Bruce’s Watson is delightfully bumbling serving as a minor comic relief in the film noir style crime drama. The story delivers what you expect but the biggest enjoyment comes from simply watching the two leads play out their parts with great chemistry. Morison (The Song of Bernadette, 1943) is a true femme fatale and is a great asset to the story. Her luring nature and an intelligence almost matching that of Holmes makes her a surprisingly worthy competition. With the short running time, the movie doesn’t waste time on unnecessarily scenes. Pay attention and guess along on the mystery or lean back and leave it to the best, Sherlock Holmes, to solve the case.
The song Holmes plays on the violin is ‘Danny Boy’.
Basen on the short story ‘The Six Napoleons’.
Also known as ‘Prelude to Murder’ and *Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code’.