Terror by Night Reviews
This is one of the more entertaining of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films of the series; I like the interesting array of characters, the fact that almost the whole story takes place on a train, and the fun series of twists and turns in the story. Unfortunately, Watson is at his most buffoonish here, especially when he decides to conduct interviews without the help of Holmes or Lestrade, though he does redeem himself in the final fight. You won't really be surprised by the revelation of who turns out to be Moran, but it's still pretty satisfying to watch everything unfold. Dennis Hoey has probably his most prominent performance as Inspector Lestrade here.
The claustrophobic setting is actually beneficial to the film and director Roy William Neill - who directed nearly all of the Rathbone-Bruce films - is able to get a lot of mileage out of the cramped quarters of the train. Neill keeps things tightly paced and since the film last just under an hour, the plot just zips right along.
The flick also features some pretty good banter between Holmes and Watson. Their performances make up for the decided lack of intricate plotting. There's a funny scene where Watson mistakenly thinks he's captured the jewel thieves, but it turns out they only stole a teapot from their hotel room. Rathbone does another fine job as Holmes. There's a solid scene where Holmes grips onto the side of the speeding train for dear life, which was probably thee most action you'll find in the series.