Basil Rathbone - Rotten Tomatoes

Basil Rathbone

Lowest Rated:   17% Queen of Blood (1966)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Johannesburg, South Africa
South African-born Basil Rathbone was the son of a British mining engineer working in Johannesburg. After a brief career as an insurance agent, the 19-year-old aspiring actor joined his cousin's repertory group. World War I service as a lieutenant in Liverpool Scottish Regiment followed, then a rapid ascension to leading-man status on the British stage. Rathbone's movie debut was in the London-filmed The Fruitful Vine (1921). Tall, well profiled, and blessed with a commanding stage voice, Rathbone shifted from modern-dress productions to Shakespeare and back again with finesse. Very much in demand in the early talkie era, one of Rathbone's earliest American films was The Bishop Murder Case (1930), in which, as erudite amateur sleuth Philo Vance, he was presciently referred to by one of the characters as "Sherlock Holmes." He was seldom more effective than when cast in costume dramas as a civilized but cold-hearted villain: Murdstone in David Copperfield (1934), Evremonde in Tale of Two Cities (1935), and Guy of Gisbourne in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) (Rathbone was a good friend of Robin Hood star Errol Flynn -- and a far better swordsman). Never content with shallow, one-note performances, Rathbone often brought a touch of humanity and pathos to such stock "heavies" as Karenin in Anna Karenina (1936) and Pontius Pilate in The Last Days of Pompeii (1936). He was Oscar-nominated for his portrayals of Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (1936) and the crotchety Louis XVI in If I Were King (1938). In 1939, Rathbone was cast as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, the first of 14 screen appearances as Conan Doyle's master detective. He also played Holmes on radio from 1939 through 1946, and in 1952 returned to the character (despite his despairing comments that Holmes had hopelessly "typed" him in films) in the Broadway flop The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which was written by his wife, Ouida Bergere. Famous for giving some of Hollywood's most elegant and elaborate parties, Rathbone left the West Coast in 1947 to return to Broadway in Washington Square. He made a movie comeback in 1954, essaying saturnine character roles in such films as We're No Angels (1955), The Court Jester (1956), and The Last Hurrah (1958). Alas, like many Hollywood veterans, Rathbone often found the pickings lean in the 1960s, compelling him to accept roles in such inconsequential quickies as The Comedy of Terrors (1964) and Hillbillies in the Haunted House (1967). He could take consolation in the fact that these negligible films enabled him to finance projects that he truly cared about, such as his college lecture tours and his Caedmon Record transcriptions of the works of Shakespeare. Basil Rathbone's autobiography, In and Out of Character, was published in 1962.

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
81% The Great Mouse Detective
  • Voice of Sherlock HolmesSherlock Holmes
1986
No Score Yet The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Hillbillys in a Haunted House
  • Gregor
1967
No Score Yet Autopsy of a Ghost
  • Canuto Perez
1967
No Score Yet Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
  • Reginald Ripper
1966
17% Queen of Blood
  • Dr. Farraday
1966
No Score Yet Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
  • Prof. Hartman, Lunar 7
1965
88% The Comedy of Terrors
  • Mr. John F. Black
1964
71% Tales of Terror
  • Carmichael
1962
33% The Magic Sword
  • Lodac
1962
No Score Yet A Christmas Carol
  • Ebenezer Scrooge
1962
89% The Last Hurrah
  • Norman Cass Sr.
1958
No Score Yet The Black Sleep
  • Sir Joel Cadman
1956
96% The Court Jester
  • Sir Ravenhurst
1956
No Score Yet We're No Angels
  • Andre Trochard
1955
No Score Yet Casanova's Big Night
  • Lucio / Narrator
1954
No Score Yet The Wind in the Willows
  • Actor
1949
93% The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  • Narrator/Policeman
1949
No Score Yet Love from a Stranger
  • Actor
1947
80% Sherlock Holmes - Dressed to Kill
  • Sherlock Holmes
1946
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes: Prelude to Murder
  • Detective Sherlock Holmes
1946
No Score Yet Heartbeat
  • Professor Aristide
1946
75% Terror by Night
  • Sherlock Holmes
1946
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit to Algiers
  • Sherlock Holmes
1945
100% Sherlock Holmes and the Woman in Green
  • Sherlock Holmes
1945
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes in the House of Fear
  • Sherlock Holmes
1945
No Score Yet Frenchman's Creek
  • Lord Rockingham
1944
No Score Yet The Pearl of Death
  • Sherlock Holmes
1944
No Score Yet Bathing Beauty
  • George Adams
1944
No Score Yet The Scarlet Claw
  • Sherlock Holmes
1944
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes in the Spider Woman
  • Sherlock Holmes
1944
No Score Yet Crazy House
  • Sherlock Holmes - Cameo appearance
1943
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
  • Sherlock Holmes
1943
No Score Yet Above Suspicion
  • Count Sigurd 'Sig' von Aschenhausen
1943
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes in Washington
  • Sherlock Holmes
1943
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
  • Sherlock Holmes
1943
No Score Yet Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
  • Sherlock Holmes
1942
No Score Yet Fingers at the Window
  • Dr. H. Santelle
1942
No Score Yet Crossroads
  • Henri Sarrou
1942
No Score Yet The Black Cat
  • Montague Hartley
1941
No Score Yet International Lady
  • Reggie Oliver
1941
No Score Yet The Mad Doctor
  • Actor
1941
100% The Mark of Zorro
  • Captain Esteban Pasquale
1940
No Score Yet Rhythm on the River
  • Oliver Courtney
1940
No Score Yet Tower of London
  • Richard III
1939
100% The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Sherlock Holmes
1939
91% Son of Frankenstein
  • Baron Wolf von Frankenstein
1939
100% The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes
1939
No Score Yet The Dawn Patrol
  • Major Brand
1938
No Score Yet If I Were King
  • King Louis XI
1938
100% The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Sir Guy of Gisbourne
1938
No Score Yet The Adventures of Marco Polo
  • Ahmed
1938
No Score Yet Tovarich
  • Gorotchenko
1937
No Score Yet Make a Wish
  • Johnny Selden
1937
No Score Yet Love from a Stranger
  • Gerald Lovell
1937
33% The Garden of Allah
  • Count Ferdinand Anteoni
1936
75% Romeo and Juliet
  • Tybalt
1936
No Score Yet Private Number
  • Thomas Wroxton
1936
100% Captain Blood
  • Capt. Levasseur
1935
No Score Yet Kind Lady
  • Henry Abbott
1935
No Score Yet Last Days of Pompeii
  • Pontius
1935
No Score Yet David Copperfield (The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger)
  • Mr. Edward Murdstone
1935
100% A Tale of Two Cities
  • Marquis St. Evremonde
1935
100% Anna Karenina
  • Karenin
1935
No Score Yet Loyalties
  • Ferdinand de Levis
1934
No Score Yet Sin Takes a Holiday
  • Reginald Durant
1930
No Score Yet The Bishop Murder Case
  • Philo Vance
1930

Quotes from Basil Rathbone's Characters