Friday, 24 February 2012
Sherlock Holmes and The Voice of Terror (1943)
"Germany broadcasting. Germany broadcasting. People of Britain, greetings from the Third Reich. This is the voice you have learned to fear. This is the Voice of Terror. Again, we bring you disaster: crushing, humiliating disaster. It is folly to stand against the mighty wrath of the Fuhrer... "
Much of the criticism of this Holmes series centres on the fact that Nigel Bruce played Watson as a bumbling fool, but in all fairness Bruce's portrayal is the perfect counterpoint to Rathbone's intense Sherlock Holmes. The chemistry between the two is remarkable and each manages to compliment the other. True there are moments when Watson's only purpose seems to be to provide comic relief but all the same the pairing of Rathbone and Bruce is one of cinema's great double acts. For many people Rathbone and Bruce are Holmes and Watson.
I'm far from a Sherlock Holmes expert but I have read all of the canon, and it was Rathbone and Bruce who first got me interested in the characters. When I was growing up the movies were regularly shown on BBC2 early in the evening and watching these led me to seek out the original stories, so I was always have a place in my heart for this particular Holmes and Watson.
Voice of Terror is a great film and even although it was produced in the fashion of a B movie it looks superb with effective photography and an almost noirish atmosphere. And despite the changes to the Watson character, Rathbone and Bruce rank among the truly great celluloid versions of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.