The Spider Woman (1943)

DailyView: Day 175, Movie 257

The DailyView continued this morning with another of the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films that are available on YouTube. This film was the 1943 The Spider Woman.

Basil Rathbone returned as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce resumed his role as Dr. Watson. The great detective became involved in the case of “the pyjama suicides.” A group of men from London began killing themselves at night for no apparent reason. Holmes was not fooled into believing these were suicides. He knew that they were actually murders and he started to investigate the case.

Holmes, who had faked his own death in order to go undercover as the next victim, believed that the murderer was a woman, a female Moriarty. He meets Adrea Spedding (Gale Sondergaard) who uses deadly spiders as her murder weapon.

The mystery was entertaining and the story moved quickly. It incorporated several parts of some classic stories of Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, including The Sign of Four as well as several short stories.

Rathbone continued to show that he was a wonderful Sherlock Holmes as he carried himself in a perfect manner for the gentleman detective. Nigel Bruce made an excellent Dr. Watson once again, playing the version of the character as more of a bumbling sidekick who still could be effective in his own way. Watson’s expertise in anatomy provided a key detail during the adventure.

Adrea Spedding provided Holmes with a strong antagonist who was very nearly on his level. She was an unlikely adversary for Holmes, but one who showed intelligence nearly on par with Shelock.

This was the 7th of 14 features with Rathbone and Bruce and it was one of the better ones that I have seen so far.

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