England's Secret Weapon explores the way Hollywood used Sherlock Holmes in a series of fourteen films spanning the years of World War II in Europe, from The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1939 to Dressed to Kill in 1946. Basil Rathbone’s portrayal of Holmes has influenced every actor who has since played him on film, TV, stage and radio, yet the film series has, until now, been neglected in terms of detailed critical analysis. The book looks at the films themselves in combination with their historical context and examines how the studio ‘updated’ Holmes and recruited him to fight the Nazis, steering a careful course between modernising the detective and making sure he was still recognisable as the ‘old Holmes’ in clothes, locations and behaviour.
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