Second in the fourteen film series starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. George Zucco makes a great Professor Moriarty. Too bad the movie falls apart in the final third.
Moriarty is judged not guilty in his murder trial due to lack of evidence. The judge and jury are upset they have to let him go. Holmes rushes in saying he has new evidence. Too late. Later he and Moriarty share a hansom cab, Moriarty tells him he’s planning a crime that will shock Britain and end Holmes’ career.
That night Moriarty prepares his crime. He has a letter mailed off to Sir Ronald Ramsgate and another letter mailed off containing a drawing of a man with an albatross in his chest. He says it’s all a distraction for Holmes.
The next day Holmes is visited by Sir Ronald Ramsgate. He shows him the letter which says the Star of Delhi will never reach the Tower of London. It’s a priceless emerald given to the Queen. Sir Ronald asks Holmes to make sure everything goes well. Earlier Holmes got a note from Ann Brandon (Ids Lupino). She wants his advice on whether or not to attend a garden party.
Ann shows up and she has the figure of an albatross pierced by a knife. It’s the same thing her father got ten years ago just before he was murdered. Now she’s afraid for her brother Lloyd’s life. The next visitor is Ann’s fiancee and family lawyer Gerald Hunter. He thinks she’s being silly. Holmes wants Watson to keep an eye on Gerald. He spots Moriarty coming out of his office.
Later Lloyd is in Gerald’s office in a panic. Gerald tells him the safest place for him is back home. Lloyd leaves and Gerald grabs a gun and follows him. Lloyd is killed. Inspector Bristol (E.E.Clive) wants to arrest Gerald. Holmes says Lloyd was strangled and the blows to the head came after death so Gerald didn’t kill him with the gun barrel. Bristol agrees to hold off. The game is afoot.
This is not based on a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story and it shows. The best reason to watch this is for Zucco.