“The truth is only arrived at by the painstaking process of eliminating the untrue.”
A convict at Dartmoor Prison makes musical boxes. Three of them are sold at auction. A man, Colonel Cavanaugh (Frederick Worlock), inquiring about who bought them is given what information the auctioneer has.
Dr. Watson’s (Nigel Bruce) old school chum Julian “Stinky” Emery (Edmund Breon) stops by to see him. Stinky has a bandage on his forehead. When asked about it he relays to Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) a story of a burglary happening the night before. The only thing stolen was a plain wooden musical box. Holmes asks to see his collection. Stinky also shows Holmes a box he purchased the day before from the Crabtree auction house. It looks almost identical to the one that was stolen. Stinky opens the box and plays the tune. Holmes whistles the tune note for note.
After they leave Stinky gets a call from Mrs. Hilda Courtney asking to come up for a drink. While she is there her chauffeur Hamid (Harry Cording) sneaks in and kills him. Hilda takes the box and leaves. Waiting out in the car is Colonel Cavanaugh.
When Holmes finds out about the murder he first checks out the auction house and gets the same information that the colonel did. One of the purchasers was Mr. Kilgour. When Holmes gets to the Kilgour residence they find they are too late. The box is gone. They manage to get the third box before the gang does. Scotland Yard finds out that the convict that made the boxes was named John Davidson and use to work for the Bank of England. He stole a complete set of engraved plates to make five pound notes. Holmes notices that the tune is different from the first box that belonged to Stinky. The boxes hold the key to where the plates were stashed before the convict was captured.
Holmes deduces that since Davidson still has years left to serve of his sentence, there must be an urgent need for him to have the plates retrieved from their hiding place. Holmes needs to find the plates before Davidson’s gang does. Time is on no one’s side.
“Dressed to Kill” was released in 1946 and was directed by Roy William Neill. This is the 14th and last of the Sherlock Holmes movies made by Rathbone and Bruce and the 12th that Universal produced. The movie is the 4th to fall into the Public Domain. There is also a colorized version available.
Sherlock Holmes was born January 6, 1854. His grandmother was the sister of Vernet, the French artist. His brother Mycroft was 7 years older than him. He received The Legion of Honour in 1894 for the arrest of Huret, the Boulevard assassin, in Paris. He was at least 6 feet tall, lean and sinewy. His hair was black and he had heavy tufted brows. His nose was thin and hawk-like. His lips thin and his face narrow. He had steady grey eyes, particularly sharp and piercing, with a far-away, introspective look when he was exerting his full powers. His voice was quick, high and somewhat strident. He had that cat-like love of personal cleanliness, but his rooms were messy. He did cocaine, at least earlier in his life. Of course cocaine was legal during the Victorian Age. He smoked a pipe. He had an IQ of 190. He did not know the Earth revolves around the Sun. He solved at least 588 cases. Some estimate 1000. Holmes is the only fictional character to receive an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” – The Sign of Four
Inspector Gregson: “Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” Gregson: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” Holmes: “That was the curious incident.” – Silver Blaze
“Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!” – The Abbey Grange