Sherlock Holmes Faces Death Reviews
"Holmes (pronounced Hallmes), you've foiled my plans once too often. I'm going to teach you a lesson, by damme. I'm going to take you back to 221B Baker Street, take your pants down and smack your bottom in front of Mrs Hudson."
...Leaving this nonsense aside, this is a quite brilliant entry in the Rathbone & Bruce canon, beautifully restored by UCLA and based on an original AC-D story: "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual". As you'd expect with such source material, it's a gripping yarn which has been brilliantly translated to the screen, concerning a raven which croaks the word "blood", a church clock that strikes thirteen on the eve of murders, a sozzled butler, and a convalescent home filled with ex-soldiers acting very strangely. The scene where all of the suspects become chess pieces and play out the moves encoded within The Musgrave Ritual is a mini-masterpiece of dramatic tension. Very good acting throughout by everybody too but Rathbone particularly is on fire. And, praise be to Allah, his hair is back to normal in this one, after the bizarre coiffuring of the previous three films.
Also like how (finally) a war-era Holmes film downplayed the war without excluding it altogether (which would be unpatriotic, of course) by incorporating convalescent veterans as supporting characters. Well done.