Thursday, August 12, 2010

Holmes and Addiction

Sidney Lanfield's The Hound of the Baskervilles ('39), the first of fourteen films starring Basil Rathbone in his seminal role as Sherlock Holmes, concludes with the following line: "Oh Watson - the needle!"

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writings on Holmes dallied with drug use, and the last line is a sly, stealthy nod to when Holmes would inject himself with morphine. How on earth they slipped it past the censors is unknown.

The film, which I saw for the first time, isn't quite as good as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes ('39) in my mind (which has co-stars Ida Lupino as the pleading client), but these foggy top-hat mysteries have their place. They aren't as fun or playful as William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man, but they're good; solid.

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