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The Pearl of Death (1944)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 1 August 1944 (USA)
When a valuable pearl with a sinister reputation is stolen, Sherlock Holmes must investigate its link to a series of brutal murders.

Director:

Roy William Neill

Writers:

Bertram Millhauser (screenplay), Arthur Conan Doyle (story "The Six Napoleons") (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce ... Doctor Watson
Dennis Hoey ... Lestrade
Evelyn Ankers ... Naomi Drake
Miles Mander ... Giles Conover
Ian Wolfe ... Amos Hodder
Charles Francis Charles Francis ... Digby
Holmes Herbert ... James Goodram
Richard Aherne Richard Aherne ... Bates (as Richard Nugent)
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Hudson
Rondo Hatton ... The Creeper
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Storyline

When a pearl with a sinister reputation for causing misfortune to its owners is stolen from a museum by a master criminal because of Sherlock Holmes' show-boating, he is naturally obliged to find it. Soon, he learns of a series of brutal murders that seemed to have been commited by a malevolent man mountain known only as the Creeper. Now, Holmes must deal with the seemingly overwhelming menace of this man and his boss in order to retrieve the pearl. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The master minds tackle the master crimes! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes in Pearl of Death See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The ninth of fourteen films based on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson. See more »

Goofs

At around 44 minutes, the newspaper says "srriking" instead of "striking". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Courier: Who's there?
First Ship's Steward: Steward, sir.
Courier: I say, we're not at Dover yet, are we?
First Ship's Steward: No sir, but there's a message for you, sir, in the wireless room.
Courier: I'll be right there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

US War Bonds promo tagged onto the end of the film reads: "You're not giving-just lending-when you buy war savings stamps and bonds-on sale here." See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Follows The Scarlet Claw (1944) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Sherlock Holmes, a pearl, Napoleon busts and the Creeper...
16 August 2013 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Great ingredients for a great Sherlock Holmes mystery, and Pearl of Death was that. Despite the too-short length and the out-of-place patriotic speech, Pearl of Death is one of the better entries of the RKO series(Scarlet Claw being the best, Hound of the Baskervilles and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are even better but they were 20th Century-Fox distributed). It is crisply and atmospherically shot, with very striking period detail and the fog and shadows make the atmosphere remarkably creepy. The music score is very well-incorporated and haunting, if somewhat similar to the score of The Wolf Man, the film is solidly directed right up to one of the series' scariest climaxes and the dialogue is both funny and intelligent(you have to love Holmes' line to the police in the climax). The story, while only containing elements(the pearl, the Napoleon busts) of the original story, moves very quickly though not feeling too rushed and is always engaging with great suspense and sense of mystery. The acting is strong, the most memorable being Rondo Hatton who is just spine-chilling as the Creeper, having seen this at about 11 years old and having vague memories of that viewing it was Hatton that I remembered the most vividly. Basil Rathbone is spot-on as Holmes as he always was, cunning and very well-read with a touch of humour about him, Pearl of Death also has some of his best deductions of the series. Nigel Bruce is amusing as Watson, and he does bring some loyalty to counterpoint with Rathbone's Holmes, though the character can be too much of an idiot in this series and at times that is true here. His chemistry with Rathbone still convinces, there really is a great dynamic between them. Lestrade is even more so, the character was always inept but this Lestrade really is as thick as a brick, like with Watson the writing of the characters is part of why that is. Dennis Hoey is very funny though and seems to be really enjoying himself. Evelyn Ankers is very attractive with great disguises, she makes for a striking and strongly-acted accomplice. Miles Mander is not quite as good as the rest, he is menacing in a quiet and subtle sense- without falling into total blandness- which is a good approach, if not quite distinguishing himself in the climax especially compared to Hatton, one rare case where the henchman actually eclipses the mastermind. In conclusion, an entertaining and atmospherically effective Sherlock Holmes mystery, Hatton's Creeper makes the film. If you are a purist though and want a more faithful adaptation of the story, watch The Six Napoleons with Jeremy Brett as Holmes as part of the Granada series, even better than this and one of the best of that series. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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