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Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror


Crime / Mystery / Thriller

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Nigel Bruce Photo
Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson
Evelyn Ankers Photo
Evelyn Ankers as Kitty
Basil Rathbone Photo
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
Henry Daniell Photo
Henry Daniell as Anthony Lloyd
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
602.72 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 5 min
P/S 7 / 69
1.09 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 5 min
P/S 25 / 104

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by utgard147 / 10

"There's an east wind coming, Watson."

When the sinister Voice of Terror taunts England over the radio with news of acts of sabotage against the Allies, the Inner Council of British Intelligence has no choice but to turn to England's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone). Holmes, with help from his criminal underworld connections, investigates and uncovers the true identity of the Voice of Terror.

After two fine films at Fox and a three-year gap, the Sherlock Holmes series movies to Universal. The change of studios also brings with it the updating of Holmes to the 1940s, where he understandably spends the early entries in the series battling Nazis. This change upsets many purists, who already have problems with the Rathbone series for its portrayal of Watson as comic relief and its deviations from the books. If you're one of those, I doubt anything I can say will alter your opinion. I don't happen to be bothered by the changes. I actually enjoy the movies more because of them.

As in his two films at Fox, Rathbone here is the perfect Holmes. One of my favorite scenes from any of his Holmes films occurs in this one when Holmes and Watson go to a seedy pub frequented by criminals. One of the criminals, a particularly frightening thug Sherlock put away years before, approaches the duo and we're led to believe any second now he will try to exact some violent revenge on Holmes. I won't spoil how the scene ends but pay attention to the way Rathbone plays this entire scene. It's wonderful stuff. I would be remiss in doing any kind of review for Voice of Terror without mentioning Rathbone's hairstyle. For some reason they decided to give him a rather silly-looking haircut where the hair on the sides is combed forward. It's hard not to chuckle when you first see it. Thankfully he wears a hat for a lot of the picture.

For his part, Nigel Bruce is a great sidekick. He has less to do here than some of the other movies but, as always, he's pleasant and fun to watch. The supporting cast is great, with the likes of Henry Daniell, Reginald Denny, and Thomas Gomez giving solid turns. Special mention goes to Evelyn Ankers, who gives one of her most different performances here. She plays the wife of a criminal killed for helping Holmes who then agrees to help the detective herself. Not for the sake of law & order but for the love of country. Her best scene is when she gives a rousing speech to her fellow criminals and lowlifes, enlisting them to help Holmes and England.

This is a solid start to the Universal Holmes series. Not the best but very entertaining nonetheless. Reading some of the older reviews here is a bit stomach-churning. Jeez, you'd think these people WANTED the Nazis to win! They seem so bitter and angry over the film being pro-England during World War II. What's this world coming to when people hate patriotism and nationalism so much they gripe about it more than the Nazis? The fact that most of these reviewers identify themselves as being from England or America makes the whole thing doubly sad.

Reviewed by ccthemovieman-19 / 10

Fabulous Photography Elevates This Holmes' WWII Tale

Here's another example of a film I first thought was so-so until I purchased the Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection that was carefully "restored" on DVD with a package of now-beautiful transfers of these famous films. Instead a poor- quality tape, which was the only thing available in the '90s, now every scene is clear.

In this movie, having a good transfer is more important than normal because this might be the best-looking SH film of them all. There are a ton of night-time scenes, like a film noir, and a lot of facial closeups. In fact, I would say this movie was better filmed than many film noirs I've seen.

The story is about a "Tokyo Rose"-type voice telling the British how inferior they were and how the Nazis were going to were going to commit their terrorist-type activities at the moment of the broadcast. And, indeed they did, as promised. This propaganda over "the wireless," as Dr. Watson and other called the radio back then, was driving English folks crazy. The government and Scotland Yard, in desperation, calls Sherlock Holme to the rescue, if he can help.

Holmes deduces that all these acts are only a prelude to some "huge, diabolical act yet to come" and sets out to discover what that would be and who is responsible for the broadcasts. He finds some in the high muckety-muck society that hired him is a traitor and doing the broadcasts from within, as well as spilling secrets to the Germans.

Evelyn Ankers as "Kitty" helps Holmes and is a very attractive helper. Henry Daniell plays his normal irritating character (he was good at that) and Thomas Gomez was interesting as a Nazi.

Overall, a decent story with super photography.

Reviewed by theowinthrop6 / 10

I Wonder if Lord Haw Haw saw this?

The first two Basil Rathbone - Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes outings (THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES and THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES) are usually considered the best of the series, although several of the "modernized" ones (THE SCARLET CLAW, SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH, THE HOUSE OF FEAR) have really really clever mystery stories in them. This one, the first of the 20th Century FOX modern stories, is based on HIS LAST BOW. But it has an interesting modern source to the tale, as well as a secondary source from a non-Conan Doyle writer.

The original Conan Doyle story is (chronologically) the last one in the canon (of 56 short stories and four novels by Sir Arthur). HIS LAST BOW was written in 1917, and was supposed to be a memoir of Holmes final espionage service for the British Government in wrecking the espionage work of one Heinrich Von Bork, the Kaiser's most brilliant agent in England. There are references in it to zeppelins and other wartime machines and events (including the involvement of Irish - American allies to the Kaiser against the hated British). Suffice it to say that it has, what is the classic ending (in terms of dialog) for Holmes and Watson. This is the "There's an east wind, Watson...." dialog, which actually ends this story. I am glad (at least for this much) that the screenplay writers knew enough to use this wonderful dialog to conclude the movie.

To bring it up to date (1939 - 40),the story includes reference to the antics of one of the most aggravating people the British people faced between 1939 and 1945: Mr. William Joyce, a.k.a. "Lord Haw Haw". There are elements of Joyce in the character of Meade (Thomas Gomez) and the basic story in the film about the radio broadcasts. Joyce was an Irish American (he was born in New York City),who moved to England in the 1920s. He was a very intelligent man, who felt he was ignored by too many inferior people, and harbored great resentments as a result. This is Meade to a tee. Joyce happened to have a wonderful speaking voice, but he looked rather ordinary. He gravitated to Fascist circles, soon rising in the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and becoming a leading speaker and propagandist for Sir Oswald Mosley (the would-be Fascist dictator of England).

Mosley was quite an egomaniac, but so was Joyce. After awhile a split developed between the men, as Joyce felt that Mosley was depending too much on British democracy (which Joyce despised). Joyce increasingly looked with admiration at the Nazi model (more so than Mosley was ever willing to look). When the two nations drifted into war Joyce traveled to Germany and offered his services to Josef Goebbels. Goebbels knew a good thing when he could use it, so he agreed. Joyce (once war began) had a German passport that was dated prior to September 1, 1939. But he also had a British passport and an American passport. Joyce planned carefully to keep all three - just in case.

Soon he began broadcasting in his nasal, but pleasing voice, as "Lord Haw Haw". He was an expert in presenting brutality as an expected future way of life - Osama Bin Laden and Al Quaeda could take good lessons from Joyce's still surviving propaganda recordings. For the first three years of the war the British public had to live through his broadcasts, on top of the Blitz by his allies in the Luftwaffe. At the time THE VOICE OF TERROR was made, everyone in Britain, the United States, and the world knew who was the model for that radio voice of doom in the movie.

I don't know if Joyce ever saw the film, but he probably would have dismissed it as allied propaganda (which it was). It might even have flattered him that he was targeted in it. At the time the Axis was winning the war (Stalingrad, El Alemein, and Midway were in the future). But as the war turned against the Axis, Joyce found that his role in Nazi circles was not as grand as he had hoped. Had they won against England, probably he would have been important (as Meade hoped to be in the film),but as England and the U.S. and the Soviet Union advanced (and were gradually joined by France in 1944),Hitler and Goebbels basically treated Joyce as a paid employee. He took to drink - he could see the war was going badly, despite the propaganda he spewed out. When the regime collapsed in ruins in May 1945, Joyce got shot by an Allied soldier, and was returned to the British to stand trial for treason.

It's an interesting trial (if you study the business about the three passports). To this day there is an actually good argument to say Joyce had not committed treason in 1939 - 45 because the German passport made him a German citizen. But his defense was brushed aside, he was found guilty, and he was hanged.

The third element in the film was the novel, THE GREAT IMPERSONATION, by E. Phillips Oppenheimer. Set before World War I, it describes how a German aristocrat meets his exact double (Sir Everard Dominey) in Africa, and decides to kill him and take his place in British society in order to help German war plans. This is part of the conclusion of the film, regarding one of the council.

It is a good film, because of the performances of Rathbone, Bruce, Henry Daniell, Reginald Denny, Evelyn Ankers, and (best of all) Thomas Gomez as the power-hungry/paranoid Meade. But it is not among the best of the Sherlock Holmes series. As for "Lord Haw Haw" it is not the only film that his character popped up in. Trevor Howard plays a character based on him in RUN FOR THE SUN with Richard Widmark.

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