- H4 2012
The Spider Woman
Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman
Roy William Neill for Universal
directed by Roy William Neill
starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Gale Sondergaard, Dennis Hoey, Vernon Downing, Alec Craig, Arthur Hohl, Mary Gordon, Lydia Bilbrook, Angelo Rossitto, Harry Cording, Teddy Infuhr, Stanley Logan, Gene Roth, Donald Stuart, Frank Benson, Sylvia Andrew, Marie De Becker, John Burton, Jimmy Aubrey, George Kirby, Belle Mitchell, John Roche, Arthur Stenning
screenplay by Bertram Millhauser, based on a story by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Hans J. Salter
Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), Universal's Sherlock Holmes
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Several well-to-do citizens of London commit weird suicides, jumping
out of windows in their pyjamas, and even though all of them had been
alone in their rooms when they did it, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone)
suspects murder, argues the very cruelty of the crimes suggests a woman as
killer, fakes his own death and emerges as an Indian prince, who soon
makes the acquaintance of Adrea Spedding (Gale Sondergaard) at the
gambling table (the one linking element between all the suicides), has her
persuade him to have his life insured ... and this very night, Holmes
finds a poisonous spider in his room which is supposed to kill him, but he
manages to turn the tables ...
The next day, Ms Spedding pays Holmes (as
Holmes, not as Indian prince) a friendly visit, leaving him on no
uncertain terms that she has looked through his little masquerade all
With painstaking attention to detail, Holmes and his companion
Watson (NIgel Bruce) collect evidence against Ms Spedding, but for the
most part, she remains elusive - unbtil Holmes figures she must have a
pigmy (Angelo Rossitto) acting as her helper, and where better to hide a
pigmy than at a carneval. Holmes and Watson manage to track down Ms
Spedding to a shooting gallery, but she manages to seperate them and make
Holmes a target at the shooting gallery while she has chosen Watson, who
doesn't know what (or who) he's shooting at but who's a brilliant
marksman, to be Holmes' executioner. Of course, in the end Holmes manages
to get away and lure Ms Spedding into a trap he and his friend inspector
Lestrade (Dennis Hoey) have set up ...
flick. Sure, most of the plottwists as well as Holmes's deductions are
incredibly far-fetched, and I would even go so far as to call them silly,
but things are at least moving at a steady pace, Rathbone's Holmes is
spot-on, and Gale Sondergaard makes a worthy opponent. One of the better
films of the series, that's for sure.