The House of Fear (1945)
Release year: 1945
Director: Roy William Neill
Screenwriter: Roy Chanslor, Arthur Conan Doyle (based in the story ’The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips’ by)
Starring: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Aubrey Mather, Dennis Hoey, Paul Cavanagh, Holmes Herbert, Harry Cording, Gavin Muir
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #325, week 39 2020
A group of men starts dying, each after receiving a letter containing orange pips. When Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) is contacted by the insurance company asking him to investigate, he and his trusted companion Dr. Watson (Bruce) goes to Scotland to find the killer.
Taking place in a desolate Scottish castle, The House of Fear is one of the most atmospheric of the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes films and provide solid tension of the comfortable kind the series is known for. Rathbone (The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938) and Bruce (Rebecca, 1940) had already played the parts several times when filming this and it is obvious how at ease they are with their characters. Holmes is the exact right amount of arrogant and Watson’s bumbling comic relief is less prominent here. The two have a great chemistry matching the two trusted friends and watching them work together is entertaining and safe; leave it to Holmes and Watson, they will get to the bottom of it all. There are several suspects gathered in a restricted area and you find yourselves guessing on one suspicious person after another until the truth is revealed. One of the best by Rathbone and Bruce.
There was made several changes from the origin story where the letters had ‘KKK’ written in them and it was feared it would confuse the American audience thinking of KKK as the Ku Klux Klan.
The tenth of fourteen Sherlock Holmes made with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
The inn in the Scottish village is the same as used in the earlier Holmes film The Scarlet Claw (1944)