I have no idea if they ever explained how Holmes showed up in the 20th century, fighting Nazis, but I don’t care. Somehow the Victorian era smeared into modern times, leaving behind little, gaining a few examples of contemporary technology. Such as:



There’s a phrase that seems to have faded from the popular vocabulary. A Secret Weapon was something born in a lab by evil geniuses, often deployed at the last desperate moment. World War Two and the entertainment culture it produced was full of secret weapons; you’ll find them in Castle Wolfenstein, for example. The Nazis were always working on secret weapons. They loved those things. What they couldn’t invent, they stole, being the amoral bastards that they were.

In SHATSW, Holmes is responsible for guarding the inventor of a bomb-sight, since Nazis are interested in learning his secret. (Unlike conventional bomb-sights of the era, it used “three sonic beams.”) As a movie, this one has the self-assured pace and sturdy competency of a Universal production; when you have a competent crew and a budget over $50.00, you can do nice things:


The policeman who arrives on the scene with the usual inadequate response - stop, or I shall tweet my whistle at you again - explains to the victim that the criminals have become much more bold since the blackouts began. If that’s the blackout, no wonder London was almost leveleld.

Halfway through the movie the Nazis drift out of the picture, somehow; they’re replaced by a domestic crime syndicate no doubt in league with the Aryan peril, but headed up by that mastermind, Moriarity! He must be stopped at all costs, Watson! How many times was Moriarity killed in this series? Don’t know; doesn’t matter. He’s the Blofeld of the series.

Like most of the 100 Mysteries, this one feels longer than 70 minutes - not because it's dull, but because it's action-packed, Pee-Wee. This week's clip is taken from the start of the film, when a secret agent disguised as an old bookseller meets two Nazi agents in a Swiss cafe. Note how they verify their identities. This was how Nazis talked. We just knew it!



The best part of the movie: Holmes and Moriarity sit around and discuss the best way to kill each other. Very civilized. Holmes says he'd drain Moriarity's blood, slowly. "The needle to the last, eh, Holmes?" says Moriarity. I think we can take that exactly how it was intended. The ending - and I'm not giving anything away, since I think you know Sherlock wins - is pure 1943. This is the sort of thing that made people feel good - and probably made their children laugh. How corny. Really?