31. Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)

IMDB score = 7.2/10

Holmes and Watson? = Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Synopsis = During WWII several murders occur at a convalescent home where Dr. Watson has volunteered his services.

Defense by Paul Thomas Miller:

This film is loosely based on The Musgrave Ritual. The story sees Watson staying at Musgrave Manor which has been temporarily turned into a convalescent home for shell shocked soldiers. The era, the ritual and the plot have all been adjusted to provide a fresh story which still feels linked to the Canon.

The film is full of great cinematography, scenes and one liners. My favourites are:

1. The creepy old Rat and Raven pub which plays host to a blood loving live raven.

2. Holmes shooting a V into the plaster to prove a point in a case and Mrs Hudson's subsequent upset.

3. The footprint and secret panel scene which is clearly inspired by the 1932 Clive Brook Sherlock Holmes film.

4. A suit of armour getting hit by lightning.

5. The prettiness of the giant chess game played out on the tiled floor.

6. Watson in conversation with Holmes: "I never had a child. I very nearly did though. Did I ever tell you about that widow at Twickenham?"

And, once we've had our cinematic fun, the story is nicely finished off by Holmes setting a trap for the killer in a manor very reminiscent of the tricks he used in Canonical stories such as The Dying Detective and The Empty House. All in all, this is good Holmes.