The Pearl of Death

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The Pearl of Death
The Pearl of Death - 1944 - Poster.png
1944 Theatrical poster
Directed by Roy William Neill
Produced by Howard Benedict
Written by Bertram Millhauser
Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Starring Basil Rathbone
Nigel Bruce
Evelyn Ankers
Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography Virgil Miller
Edited by Ray Snyder
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s)
  • September 22, 1944 (1944-09-22)
Running time 69 min
Country United States
Language English

The Pearl of Death is a 1944 Sherlock Holmes film starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, the ninth of fourteen such films the pair made. The story is loosely based on Conan Doyle's short story "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons" but features some additions, such as Evelyn Ankers as an accomplice of the villain, played by Miles Mander, and Rondo Hatton as a brutal killer.

Plot summary[edit]

Master criminal Giles Conover (Miles Mander) steals the famous "Borgia Pearl" from the Royal Regent Museum under the very nose of Holmes and Watson, but when caught the pearl is not found on him and he is released.

Later, Holmes hears of an apparently motiveless murder. An elderly Colonel is found with his back broken amid a pile of smashed china. Holmes takes an immediate interest in the case as the unusual method of killing is that of "The Hoxton Creeper" (Rondo Hatton), known to be Conover's right-hand man.

Another murder occurs, of a little old lady, also surrounded by smashed china. Conover makes two attempts to kill Holmes, who surmises that Conover is desperately trying to recover the stolen pearl.

After a third killing Holmes finds the common feature of each: a bust of Napoleon. Conover, when being pursued by the police, had fled through the workshop where they were being made, and hid the pearl inside one of six identical busts.

Holmes tracks down the vendor of the busts and find out that one is still unaccounted for, as does Conover's accomplice Naomi. Conover and The Creeper arrive at the house of the owner of the final bust, only to find that Holmes has taken his place. Overpowered, Holmes convinces The Creeper that Conover will double-cross him, and the Creeper turns on Conover and kills him, after which Holmes kills the Creeper, before the police finally arrive. Holmes smashes the final bust and recovers the pearl "with the blood of five more victims on it".[1]

Holmes is shown as unusually (for him) impatient with Lestrade's inclination to come to the wrong conclusions in this entry, even shouting at him because of his inability to grasp the situation on a couple of occasions. For his part, Lestrade is shown taunting Holmes and obviously enjoying it.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davies, David Stuart (1976). Holmes of the Movies. New English Library. ISBN 9780450030659. 

External links[edit]