The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) **

Fox rewarded Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce for the success of The Hound of the Baskervilles with this lavish and immediate follow-up, easily the most extravagant production in the series, and the last to be set in the Victorian time period of the original novels.
The story, however, is not a Conan Doyle original but a variation on the famous William Gillette play (thankfully relieved of its original ending in which Holmes falls in love).
The plot is basically a tease, a successful red herring laid by Professor Moriarty (played definitively by George Zucco) to distract Holmes while he carries out his audacious plan to steal the Crown Jewels, but the film is full of wonderful sequences, not least the moment in which Rathbone, disguised as a cockney music hall entertainer, launches into 'I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside' in natty striped blazer and straw hat. Interesting too to see a leading lady of Ida Lupino's stature entering so gamely into the spirit of the piece. Never such luxury again: from here it was on to Universal, wartime settings, lower budgets and even more dry ice fog.