Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)

Genres - Drama, Mystery, Spy Film  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Release Date - Apr 30, 1943 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 71 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Sherlock Holmes in Washington is one of the lesser entries in the Universal series, but it's still jolly good fun. Clearly, part of the problem with the film can be found in its title -- Sherlock Holmes simply doesn't belong in Washington, and putting him there signals that this film will have little to do with Arthur Conan Doyle. Once one accepts this, however, Washington becomes a rather fun film, employing such well-worn but still effective devices as stolen microfilm, a crowded train, mistaken identities, and the old "carry the abductee away in a carpet" trick. Director Roy William Neill is in good form, especially during a delightful shot in which the microfilm is passed (unwittingly) from one person to another at a party. Basil Rathbone, always good as Holmes, is especially fine here, relishing the opportunity to imitate an "eccentric antique enthusiast" or play cat-and-mouse with the villain (an excellent George Zucco). Washington's biggest flaw -- a common one in the series -- is the concluding monologue, an out-of-place bit of wartime propaganda that is so out-of-step with the rest of the film as to prove irritating.