Good entry in the Rathbone-Bruce series that takes place in a mansion with lots of wind and lightning, an eavesdropping and drunken butler and a clock that strikes thirteen. Let’s not forget secret passages. This is the sixth in the series and it’s based loosely on “The Adventure Of The Musgrave Ritual” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Dr.Watson is working at an old mansion that the family has opened for soldiers recovering from combat fatigue. The Musgrave brothers Philip and Geoffrey are always at odds. Geoffrey almost got into a confrontation with American Captain Pat Vickery (Milburn Stone) over the obvious affection he and Sally Musgrave (Hillary Brooke) have for each other.
The butler, Alfred Brunton, is eavesdropping on a conversation between Sally and Geoffrey where he’s telling her to stay away from Vickery. Philip interrupts him but of course wants to know what he heard. Stumbling into the house is Dr.Bob Saxton. He says he was stabbed outside and sure enough there’s a wound in his neck. He doesn’t known who attacked him. Watson goes to London to get Holmes.
When they arrive back Holmes notices a pile of leaves in front of the greenhouse. He investigates and finds Geoffrey’s body. Inside the house is Inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey). He arrests Captain Vickery.
The next day Sally has to read the family ritual in front of the fireplace with everyone in the house present. It’s cryptic and no one knows what it means. It does make Philip the head of the household.
Holmes and Watson head into town to look for Brunton. He was fired the night before by Philip for being drunk once too often. They head to the pub where the owner keeps a pet raven. Sally drives up outside. The raven flies out and sits on the rumble seat. Holmes chases it off and opens the seat and discovers Philip’s body.
Holmes is sure the answer to the murders is in the Musgrave ritual. He finds it hidden inside a clock in Sally’s room. Anything further would be a spoiler. It is an obvious and long drawn out ending but it’s still a good movie and well worth seeing.