Movie Review: Terror By Night (1946)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1946 mystery starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are hired to guard the famous Star of Rhodesia diamond while its owner, Lady Margaret, travels by train to Scotland. When Lady Margaret's son is murdered and the diamond is stolen, Holmes must narrow down the suspects and find the killer/thief before the train arrives at its intended destination.

Who's In It?


I love Sherlock Holmes stories and try to make the time to watch movies with the legendary character whenever I have an opportunity to. This is one that I've wanted to watch for a while and finally found time to do so this week while home for lunch. As it turns out, this movie exceeded my expectations.

The thing that really surprised me about this murder mystery is it wasn't as easy to figure out the bad guy as I thought it would be. I was able to figure out some parts of the mystery, such as how the killer was able to get in and out of a well-guarded train car undetected. But, the person behind the crime wasn't who I thought it would be.

A large part of the reason for this were the various murder suspects. There weren't many who had the ability to carry out the crime. But, every one of them acted just suspicious enough to prevent them from being cleared. This included Lady Margaret (Forbes), who seemed much more concerned about her diamond than she did about her murdered son.

On top of it, some of the suspects are actually guilty of other crimes. This is something that does make solving the case more complicated because, even if someone is guilty, they may not be guilty of murder.

I think my biggest complaint about this movie was I wasn't a huge fan of the way Dr. Watson (Bruce) was portrayed. I'm used to the literary version of the character, who, in many ways, is Holmes' equal. In this movie, he wasn't much more than comic relief for Holmes (Rathbone) as he made an effort to mimic the detective and failed miserably. That was disappointing.

Final Opinion

As I said, I wasn't a huge fan of Dr. Watson. But, overall, I thought this was a decent murder mystery and one I definitely enjoyed watching.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 05/20/2016, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/24/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system does not have Terror by Night among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. So I don't expect to see this film anytime soon.

Who would you have preferred from that time period as Watson?

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