Movie Review: The Woman in Green (1945)
“From Her LIPS – Poison That Bred MURDER!”
The Woman in Green (1945)
Director: Roy William Neill
Cast: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Hillary Brooke
Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Dr Watson search for a serial killer who severs a finger from his female victims.
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The hapless Metropolitan police force once again call on Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone – The Magic Sword, Queen of Blood) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce – Suspicion, Roxie Hart) to solve a series of murders that has them stumped. A serial killer is murdering young women and severing one of their forefingers. Holmes soon discovers that the missing fingers are turning up in the pockets of wealthy men suffering from amnesia who subsequently find themselves the subjects of a blackmail plot hatched by none other than the dastardly Moriarty (Henry Daniell – Jane Eyre, Witness for the Prosecution).
The Woman in Green is another typical entry in the Sherlock Holmes series of the 40s. Watching it, you get the impression that nearly all involved were pretty much just going through the motions, although it still arguably stands comparison with most other entries in the series. Moriarty is using an accomplice in the delicious form of Hillary Brooke (The Philadelphia Story, Jane Eyre), a femme fatale who hypnotises her hapless victims into a state of amnesia making them pliable to the suggestions of guilt made by Moriarty. Why they couldn’t just hypnotise their victims into handing over the money without going to the added trouble of offing young women is something of a mystery, but probably explains why I’m not a criminal mastermind.
The Woman in Green has a decent atmosphere about it, even if the story’s a little flat. There are plenty of spooky dark shadows – probably there to hide the tiny budget as much as to lend atmosphere, but they work well, anyway. Rathbone is as dependable as ever as Holmes, but it’s Nigel Bruce as the hapless Dr. Watson who provides the most memorable moments.
(Reviewed 12th January 2012)