Today! Because I’m going to break you, Holmes. I’m going to bring off right under your nose the most incredible crime of the century, and you’ll never suspect it until it’s too late –
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
Directed by Alfred Werker
Starring Basil Rathbone (x5), Nigel Bruce (x4), George Zucco (x3), Ida Lupino, Alan Marshal (x3), Henry Stephenson, E.E. Clive (x2), Arthur Hohl (x3), Terry Kilburn (x3), Mary Gordon (x3), Holmes Herbert, Peter Willes
The best film in the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes series, the second one chronologically, and the fourth to the make this list, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was released six months after The Hound of the Baskervilles and still enjoyed all the support and budget Twentieth Century Fox was willing to offer. Thus, it’s a beautifully designed Victorian yarn pitting Holmes and Watson opposite George Zucco’s Moriarty, the most dynamic in the film series (he would appear twice more in the later Universal films, played by Lionel Atwill and Henry Daniell). The ingeniously simple plot – relying more on Moriarty’s understanding of the Holmes’ psyche than twisting complexity – culminates with an all-time classic showdown between the two at the Tower of London.