It’s the last of the Rathbone Holmes:
But not the one where Angie Dickinson gets stabbed in the shower, thank heavens, and we have to follow around a guy who looks like Bill Maher as he explores the seamy world of incredibly tame and overproduced X-rated movies while struggling with a panic disorder and trying to tell people about an Indian with a power drill.
This opening aerial shot opens the movie, and it confused me greatly: it looks as if London has a giant wind-up key.
But it’s just the way the streets and a smokestack intersect.
Who the devil are these guys? The Planaria Gang? Half the city’s Municipal Elevator Operators having a club meeting?
Those are prison uniforms. Not a wise idea; if they escaped, people would look over their heads, and be unable to give a good description. I - I can’t say! I saw his face for a second, but then my eyes were unaccountably drawn upwards.
The crime has to do with music boxes, made in the prison workshop. They contain tiny, deadly copies of MORIARITY! No, not really. There’s something in the music boxes certain parties are keen to obtain. Makes sense, really - if you’re going to smuggle stuff around, get it into a prison, put it in the hands of criminals, trust them to hide the item in boxes assembled under the eyes of the guards, then send them to an auction house where anyone can, and does, bid on them.
There are moments which, when severed from their explanatory contexts, make no sense. That’s the thing about film: we accept and understand because we are presented with narrative, and narrative - at least in Olden Times - had the promise of direction and resolution. Remove those, and the simplest things become oddly surreal:
Ohhhhkay. The child, by the way, was named “Topsy Glyn.”
Compared to the previous Rathbone Homles, it’s slack, and a bit tired. This was the last one in the series.
Is there a Star Trek connection? There is:
It’s so very odd to see Mr. Atoz as an oldish fellow in a Holmes movie from the 40s, eh? Fun Fact: he was a volunteer Medical Sergeant - in WW One.