HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
   
 
Newest Articles
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon Sleuth Turned Spy
Year: 1942
Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Lionel Atwill, Kaaren Verne, William Post Jr, Dennis Hoey, Holmes Herbert, Mary Gordon
Genre: Thriller, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Second World War is raging around neutral Switzerland, and in this small mountain village a couple of Nazi agents are meeting a contact at a tavern there. The old man enters the place with a stack of books he puts on the table in front of the agents, pretending to offer to sell them when he is actually giving them information on the whereabouts of a scientist, Doctor Tobel (William Post Jr) who is trying to escape to Britain so he may give his newly devised bombing mechanism to the Allies, something the Nazis must stop. Once the old man leaves and goes across the road to the house Tobel is staying in, he reveals his true colours: he is none other than Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone)!

The Secret Weapon (not to be confused with The Secret Code, a later instalment) was the fourth of the Holmes series to star Rathbone as the great detective and Nigel Bruce as his loyal sidekick Dr Watson, the second in the franchise once it had moved to Universal studios where the budgets were noticeably leaner and to cut costs the characters were transported to the modern era. Placing Holmes in contemporary times was an idea which has appealed to many of the adapters down the decades, notably in the BBC TV series Sherlock which proved the world's appetite for the classic stories continued unabated well into the twenty-first century.

Here was another reason for plonking Holmes and Watson slap bang in the nineteen-forties, and that was as a propaganda exercise. Ostensibly a version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story The Dancing Men, basically only the plot point of the code of the title was used here, with the rest an invented narrative which saw Holmes battle against the machinations of the Nazi war machine. With brilliant minds like his on our side, this movie informed us, we have a fighting chance, as every Hollywood studio was churning out productions in aid of the war effort to encourage the domestic audiences and give cheer to the soldiers, pilots and sailors who were battling across the globe.

Some of these characters were more convincing as propaganda than others, not that anyone on the Allies' side was complaining at the time since it was the intent that made up for any shortcomings in the material, yet Holmes turned out to be easily one of the more impressive examples of the trend. That was down to his obvious properties as an asset to anyone combating evil, but also thanks to his definite sense of right and wrong; he was one of the most famous and celebrated sleuths of all time, if not the most, and for him to be pitted against the Axis forces was quite the coup when everyone had heard of him and could relate to his sympathies. As the actual story played out, it was standard stuff which might have been better suited to Bulldog Drummond.

Not that Rathbone coasted through his performance as a result, quite the opposite as his customary incisiveness was so appropriate here, not to mention his patent relish at dressing up in disguises as Sherlock went undercover. Once Tobel is in London thanks to the detective's manipulations, he hands over the device to a grateful British government but he's not out of the woods yet, and leaves a message with his old flame Kaaren Verne (soon to be made miserable as Mrs Peter Lorre in real life) which consists of the dancing men stick figures. When Tobel is kidnapped by Moriarty (Lionel Atwill), it's up to Holmes and Watson to track him down before he gives away the secret he hid in that message, and they have the help of Scotland Yard to boot, represented by Inspector Lestrade (new series regular Dennis Hoey). Watson and he make an interesting double act here as Sherlock strikes out on his own, even saving his life at one stage, and less bumbling than they would become, possibly because of the seriousness of the enterprise. Solid, then, if a little stodgy. Music by Frank Skinner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1614 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: