Monday, January 4, 2010

The Art of Sherlock Holmes: The Spider Woman

This one, along with The Scarlet Claw, is considered one of the best of the Universal entries in the Rathbone-Bruce series. And why not? It has one of the best villains. And it didn't hurt that the writers borrowed elements from as many as five Conan Doyle stories: The Final Problem, The Empty House, The Speckled Band, The Sign of Four, and The Devil's Foot 

This 1944 film takes the series back to England, where gamblers are committing suicide in their pajamas. To solve the mystery, Holmes fakes his own death and returns in disguise, only to meet his match in Gale Sondergaard as The Spider Woman.

This flick also has the distinction of being the only one of the series to foster a spin-off. Gale Sondergaard returned two years later (without Holmes and Watson) in The Spider Woman Strikes Back. Backing her up in that one were Rondo Hatton (The Creeper from the Holmes movie The Pearl of Death), Kirby Grant (Sky King), Brenda Joyce (Maureen O'Sullivan's successor as Jane), and Milburn Stone (Doc from Gunsmoke)!

Visit our Rathbone-Bruce Poster Museum HERE.


Richard Robinson said...

Indeed, great stuff. Kiss of the Spider Woman is a favorite in the set I have. Though I will stick to my belief that Jeremy Brett is the best Holmes ever, these old Rathbone films are a heck of a lot of fun.

Oh, and you mention Sky King. The name of his niece was...?

Evan Lewis said...

Penny! And nephew Clipper. And of course his trusty flying steed, Songbird.

Richard Prosch said...

I always enjoy the posters a great deal. Ever come across any good info on vintage poster/lobby card artists? Who were these unsung painters?

Evan Lewis said...

A great question. I know absolutely nothing about it, and have never heard of original movie poster art offered for sale.