Terror by Night
Release year: 1946
Director: Roy William Neill
Screenwriter: Frank Gruber, Arthur Conan Doyle (adapted from a story by)
Starring: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Alan Mowbray, Mary Forbes, Dennis Hoye, Renee Godfrey, Frederick Worlock
Moviegeek Sunday Classic # 142, week 10 2017
After a robbery attempt of her diamond the ‘Star of Rhodesia’ Lady Margaret Carstairs (Mary Forbes) hires the famous detective Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) to accompany on the train from London to Edinburgh to protect the stone. But not long after leaving London the diamond is stolen and Holmes and his trusted friend Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) is working against time to find the thief before the train stops.
Several thrillers has used trains as setting for crimes and with good reason. There is something about a train in motion holding people captured with a criminal while the scenery flashes by that invites mystery and tension. This is also the case in this charming little (the running time is only just about an hour) Sherlock Homes-starring movie where the famous detective moves from compartment to compartment trying to solve the crime while avoiding to be bypassed by the secrets he unravels. Tall smooth-voiced Rathbone (Robin Hood, 1938) played Holmes in several production with Bruce (Rebecca, 1940) as the buffoonish Dr. Watson and makes a strong and capeable character of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character that keeps you interested. His serious face and collected manners convinces as the superior mind Holmes is and makes him a great match for the criminal of the story. The story twists and turns until the very end where it is very likely that Holmes is the only one that knew what was going on all along.
This was the 13th of in all 14 Sherlock Holmes movie starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
The movie is not directly based on a story by Arthur Conan Doyle but uses minor plot elements from ‘The Adventure of the Empty House’, ‘The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax’ and ‘The Sign of the Four’.
Happily accepted the part as Sherlock Holmes after being casted as vilain so many times because ‘for once, I got to beat the bad guy instead of play him.’
Picture copyright: Universal Pictures