Basil Rathbone as Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon” (1942) – Reviewed by George

This second Universal Pictures film finds Rathbone and Nigel Bruce still getting billing above the title, and still fighting Nazis in London during World War II. The film begins in Switzerland where Holmes rescues Dr. Franz Tobel (William Post, Jr.) and his revolutionary bombsight from a group of Nazis. Back in England Tobel has all sorts of reservations, and while he wants credit, not money, for the bombsight, he wants total control over production, which will actually keep the most crucial information in Tobel’s hands.
Tobel has also secreted the four parts of the bombsight with four different scientists until the RAF agrees to his terms. He’s not completely nuts though; he has written out, in a self-created code, the names of the four men who hold the parts in case the Nazis get to him. The code is an alphabetic substitution using drawings of stick-figure men dancing instead of letters, but of course Tobel has added a layer of complication to that rather simple code. Now Professor Moriarty (Lionell Atwill, clean-shaven for a change) enters the picture and starts killing the scientists for the parts.
This is a good solid Holmes movie, with Mary Gordon again as Mrs. Hudson and introducing Dennis Hoey as Lestrade. It was directed by Roy William Neill, from a screenplay by Edward T. Lowe, W. Scott Darling, and Edmund L. Hartmann, based on “The Dancing Men” by Conan Doyle.

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