14. The Woman in Green (1945)
IMDB score = 6.9/10
Holmes and Watson? = Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce
Synopsis = Sherlock Holmes investigates when young women around London turn up murdered, each with a finger severed off.
Defense by Paul Thomas Miller:
The plot and the dialogue are just as challenging in this film as they are in the Antflix remake, leaving very little else to say here. Nevertheless...
This is a film which sees Nigel Bruce's Watson at his most "Boobus Britannicus" and for that reason might be considered difficult to defend. But the "Boobus Britannicus" opens up the discussion of why Watson is so often turned into a comedy character in films. My own theory is that in the Canon he has a clear role as a narrator, a lens through which mortals can follow the actions of Holmes the ubermensch. In film, there is no need for such a narrator as the camera takes this role. Watson winds up filling a different role, that of softening the seriousness and lightening the mood. By contrast, in the Robert Downey Jr films, Holmes himself is treated with a more comical air, and so Watson is able to become more serious. Indeed, for my money, Jude Law is the most canonical Watson I have encountered on film. Well, that's my theory. You may well have your own theory which I would be intrigued to hear.
And that is my defense of this film: by highlighting the difference between Watson in Canon and Watson on film, The Woman in Green offers Holmesians the chance for a fun conversation. Always a good thing.