Terror by Night
Roy William Neill for Universal
directed by Roy William Neill
starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Alan Mowbray, Dennis Hoey, Mary Forbes, Renee Godfrey, Frederick Worlock, Gerald Hamer, Janet Murdoch, Leyland Hodgson, Billy Bevan, Geoffrey Steele, Boyd Davis, Skelton Knaggs
based on a story by Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), Universal's Sherlock Holmes
Supersleuth Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) is hired to accompany Lady
Carstairs (Mary Forbes) on her train from London to Edinburgh ... who just
happens to be carrying the Star of Rhodesia, the world's most valuable diamond.
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Of course the train has hardly embarked on its journey is not only the
diamond stolen, but also Lady Carstairs' son (Geoffrey Steele) murdered ...
& of course the train is full of suspicious characters like an arrogant
mathematician, professor Kilbane (Frederick Worlock), mysterious Miss Vedder
(Renee Godfrey), who claims to be taking the coffin of her mother to Edinburgh,
overly nervous Mr & Mrs Shallcross (Gerald Hamer, Janet Murdoch), &
Watson's (Nigel Bruce) good friend Major Duncan Bleek (Alan Mowbray), & to
round it all up, inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey) is on board too.
Holmes has soon formed his own theory, though, that masterthief Moran hs
stolen the diamond, with the help of an accomplice, who has been hiding in a
secret compartment in Mrs Vedder's coffin. Thing is: the accomplice can't be
found & Holmes has no idea what Moran might look like ... if you haven't
guessed by now though, Moran turns out to be Major Duncan Bleek, whom Holmes
smokes out when he reveals the Star of Rhodesia wasn't stolen after all but a
cheap imitation, & the real Star is in Lestrade's possession. Lestrade is soon
mugged by Sands (Skelton Knaggs), Bleek's accomplice who is in turn shot by
Then Scottish police inspector MacDonald (Boyd Davis) arrives to arrest
Bleek ... but in some confusion he ends up arresting Lestrade while Holmes
keeps Bleek aboard the train - because MacDonald was a phoney, Moran/Bleek's
emergency escape plan! Justice, after all, has prevailed when the Star of
Rhodesia is returned, Bleek/Moran is arrested as well as the phoney MacDonald
& his gang (who are of course overcome by Lestrade).
This late entry into Universal's Sherlock Holmes
series has a somewhat novel (if not new) approach to it by setting (almost) the
whole plot in the confined space of a travelling train, which does lend some
interest to the otherwise rather pedestrian murder mystery (that Duncan Bleek
is actually the villain of this story does become clear already when he's