Sherlock Holmes in "Dressed to Kill" (June 7, 1946)
Released June 7, 1946: Three people that purchased an inexpensive music box start getting murdered, and a well-dressed woman may be at the bottom of it all.
Produced by Roy William Neill
Directed by Roy William Neill
Written by Frank Gruber and Leonard Lee from a story by Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Actors: Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes), Nigel Bruce (Dr. John H. Watson), Patricia Morison (Mrs. Hilda Courtney), Edmund Breon (Julian 'Stinky' Emery), Frederick Worlock (Colonel Cavanaugh), Carl Harbord (Inspector Hopkins), Patricia Cameron (Evelyn Clifford), Holmes Herbert (Ebenezer Crabtree), Harry Cording (henchman Hamid), Leyland Hodgson (tour guide), Mary Gordon (Mrs. Hudson), Ian Wolfe (Commissioner of Scotland Yard), Harry Allen (Mr. Kilgour, the Scottish man at the auction), Frank Baker (photographer), Guy Bellis (doctor), Wilson Benge (minister on the museum tour), Marjorie Bennett (antique shop assistant), Ted Billings (pub patron), Lillian Bronson (minister's wife), Tom Dillon (Detective Sergeant Thompson), Topsy Glyn (the Kilgour child), Charlie Hall (cab driver), Olaf Hytten (Alfred, the auction house bookkeeper), Boyd Irwin (detective with the X-ray's), Tiny Jones (pub patron), Guy Kingsford (Scotland Yard undercover convict in Dartmoor Prison), William H. O'Brien (detective at the murder scene), Alexander Pollard (Crabtree's assistant at the auction), Wallace Scott (Joe Cisto), Anita Sharp-Bolster (teacher on the museum tour), Sally Shepherd (the tobacconist)
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Murder with Music
Sherlock Holmes is at it again, this time solving the riddle of three inexpensive music boxes that play slightly different variations of the same tune. This movie was released in the U.K. with the title, "Prelude to Murder", and "Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code." Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce perform in another of the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about the detective that could think and deduce solutions to mysterious murders better than anyone else. This mystery begins in Dartmoor Prison, where we find a criminal, and beside him a Scotland Yard undercover detective posing as the criminal's cell mate. The criminal is working in the prison shop creating three simple music boxes which will be available for sale at a London auction house. Next we go to the auction house, where the three simple music boxes are auctioned to three separate people. After the auction is over, a man enters the auction house anxiously inquiring about the three music boxes, and after paying a handsome sum to the auction house owner, obtains the identity of two of the purchasers, and a lead on finding the third.
At the home of Sherlock Holmes that evening, 'Stinky' Emery, an old chum of Dr. Watson visits and tells Holmes and Watson about the strange robbery at his home. Emery is a collector of music boxes, and he was one of the purchasers of the music boxes that afternoon. Someone entered his home and hit him on the head and stole a simple music box, but not the one he purchased earlier. When Holmes and Watson went over to his place to look things over, Stinky shows Holmes the music box he purchased earlier, and Holmes listens to the strange song it plays, memorizing the tune. Holmes advises Stinky to be vary careful, and to guard the simple music box carefully. After Holmes and Watson leave, a beautiful woman visits Stinky, and tries to buy the music box from him. As she is talking with him, a man silently enters and throws a knife into Stinky's back, killing him. The man and the lady then steal the simple music box.
Next Holmes goes to the auction house to learn why the three music boxes are so valuable, and to discover who has the other two boxes. He purchases the second box, which was obtained at the auction by a lady that bought it for re-sale at her shop. Having memorized the tune on Stinkey's box, and now getting the second box in his possession, Holmes realizes that the tunes don't quite match. When Holmes and Watson visit a pub to find a fellow that is a songster, they have the fellow write down the actual notes of the tune so that Holmes can discover what the differences are between the real tune and the music box versions. Holmes realizes that the notes that are different from the real tune point to different letters of the alphabet, and he decyphers most of the message, which describes the hiding place of a perfect set of plates for the five pound British note, which would be a counterfeiter's dream if in the wrong hands.
Next Holmes and Watson visit the home of the purchaser of the third music box. This music box was purchased by a Scottish father for his young daughter, but when Holmes visits the house, they discover the housekeeper just leaving. She permits them to stay in the house to wait for the return of the family. While waiting, Dr. Watson hears a thumping, and on investigation, they discover the young girl tied up in a closet, and when they untie her find that the 'housekeeper' was actually a lady that stole the music box and tied up the little girl. Returning home, Holmes discovers that his flat has been ransacked - someone turned the place upside down looking for the music box that he had purchased from the shop earlier that day. Holmes finds a half-smoked cigarette that was carelessly left by one of the culprits, and takes it to a local tobacconist that not only can identify the blend of tobacco, but can recite the names and addresses of the only three people that she creates this blend for. Wow, I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday . . .but that's another story.
When Holmes visits the owner of the cigarette, he confronts the lady that disguised herself as the housekeeper, and when she finally admits that it was she that stole the other music boxes, and was involved in Stinky's murder, Holmes thinks he is near the end of this mystery. But she informs Holmes that she left the cigarette at his flat on purpose, to lure him to her house, and just at that moment, two burly fellows enter behind Holmes, and with guns pointed at him, escort him to a location where they handcuff him, hang him from a hook on the ceiling so his feet cannot touch the floor, and before leaving they start a car that is next to the hanging Holmes, so that the fumes will kill Holmes. Here I will leave you, dear movie fan. It is time to pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Basil Rathbone and Frederick Worlock
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce
Basil Rathbone and Patricia Morison
Basil Rathbone and Sally Shepherd
Basil Rathbone and Wallace Scott
Basil Rathbone with the music box
Edmund Breon and Basil Rathbone
Edmund Breon and Patricia Morison
Edmund Breon and Patricia Morison
Frederick Worlock, Basil Rathbone and Harry Cording
Frederick Worlock and Holmes Herbert
Frederick Worlock and Patricia Morison
Harry Cording and Frederick Worlock
Holmes Herbert and Basil Rathbone
Ian Wolfe and Basil Rathbone
Patricia Cameron and Patricia Morison
Patricia Morison and Edmund Breon
Patricia Morison and Harry Cording
Patricia Morison and Nigel Bruce