Teamed with Nigel Bruce as Dr. John Watson, Basil Rathbone was THE Sherlock Holmes for a good chunk of the 20th century, appearing in 14 Holmes films between 1939 and 1946. Those who didn't see the films in the theaters saw them on television, where they ran for decades as afternoon and late-night filler.
With his angular, birdlike profile Rathbone is the face that comes to the minds of many when they picture Sherlock Holmes. He appeared similar to images of Holmes that appeared in print with Conan Doyle's original Holmes stories and, following the films, his face inspired many more depictions of the detective.
The first Holmes film starring Rathbone and Bruce was based an adaptation of "The Hound of the Baskervilles," while the second, "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" was based on an 1889 stage play.
From there, the series moved from 20th Century Fox to Universal Studios and wandered straight into anachronism. While the first two pictures were based in Holmes' original time period of the late 1800s, the early Universal films saw Holmes and Watson fighting Nazi and foreign saboteurs. Later entries drifted back into more conventional detective stories.
Below is a look at the Rathbone-Bruce series, including production shots and posters.
|Hound of the Baskervilles, 1939|
|The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1939|
|Sherlock Holmes and theVoice of Terror, 1942|
|Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, 1943|
|Sherlock Holmes in Washington, 1943|
|Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, 1943|
|The Spider Woman, 1945|
|The Secret Claw, 1944|
|The Pearl of Death, 1944|
|Sherlock and the House of Fear, 1945|
|The Woman in Green, 1945|
|Pursuit to Algiers, 1945|
|Terror By Night, 1946|
|Dressed to Kill, 1946|