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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1939 Poster.jpg
Original Theatrical Poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpg USA
Directed by Alfred L. Werker
Release Date 1939
Studio Twentieth Century Fox
Main Cast
Character Actor
Sherlock Holmes Basil Rathbone
Dr. Watson Nigel Bruce
Ann Brandon Ida Lupino
Jerrold Hunter Alan Marshal
Billy Terry Kilburn
Professor Moriarty George Zucco
Sir Ronald Ramsgate Henry Stephenson
Inspector Bristol E.E. Clive

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is an American 1939 detective movie adapted from the stage play Sherlock Holmes (1899) by William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle. This movie, directed by Alfred L. Werker and starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, is the second installment to the series of fourteen Sherlock Holmes films starring Rathbone and Bruce. The story depicts the struggle between Holmes and criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty (George Zucco) who plots the theft of the Crown Jewels.

The further twelve movies were produced by Universal Pictures and set not in the original Victorian era but in 1940s.

The following weapons were used in the film The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:


Colt 1878 Double Action

Jerrold Hunter (Alan Marshal) carries a Colt 1878 Double Action revolver that is confiscated from him by police Inspector Bristol (E.E. Clive). In the climactic scene when Professor Moriarty (George Zucco), disguised as a police sergeant, carries a revolver, and in this scene three guns switch each other due to continuity errors. A standard Colt 1878 is the second of these three revolvers, and a Colt 1878 with 7.5" barrel is the third one.

Colt 1878 Double Action - .45 Colt
Colt 1878 w/ 7.5" barrel
Jerrold Hunter with a revolver.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Colt1878-2.jpg
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Colt1878-3.jpg
Inspector Bristol confiscated the revolver.
Previously seen Colt 1878-1902 in hands of disguised Moriarty switches to an original Colt 1878.
Another view of Moriary's Colt 1878.
Moriarty's revolver switches again, this time to long-barreled Colt 1878.
Moriarty fires his revolver. In next moment it is again replaced with a Colt 1878-1902.

Colt 1878-1902 Philippine Model

The first of three Professor Moriarty's revolvers, switching each other due to continuity errors, is a Colt 1878-1902 Philippine Model, a U.S. Army issued version of Colt 1878 Double Action (this revolver is also incorrectly referred as "Alaskan Model"), identified by its larger trigger guard. Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) also uses a Colt 1878-1902 in the scenes in Moriarty's house and in the Tower of London.

Colt 1878-1902 Philippine Model - .45 Colt
Moriarty prepares for his operation in Tower of London.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Colt1878Philippine-2.jpg
He puts the revolver in his inside jacket pocket. The large trigger guard of Philippine Model can be seen.
Sherlock Holmes enters Moriarty's house with a revolver in hand.
Holmes in Tower.
Another view of Holmes' revolver in the scene in Tower.
Moriarty, disguised as a police sergeant, holds Colt 1878-1902.
Holmes and Moriarty in grapple on the rooftop of Tower.
A good view of the revolver in said scene.
One more view of the scene.


Tower Percussion Pistol

A Percussion Cap Pistol is seen on the table in Holmes' room. It looks very similar to Tower Percussion Pistol except for the grip without metal plate and lanyard ring. Possibly it is a police or civilian version of Tower pistol.

Tower Percussion Pistol - .68 caliber
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Percussion-1.jpg
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Percussion-2.jpg
A percussion cap pistol is seen on the table.


What appears to be a kind of Derringer pistol is seen on the wall in Holmes' room. The general outlook resembles Colt Thuer Derringer while wide grip is more similar to Sharps Pepperbox.

For comparison: Colt 3rd Model Derringer - .41 RF
For comparison: Sharps Model 2A - .32 Rimfire
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Derringer-1.jpg
A derringer is seen on the wall.



British soldiers are armed with bolt action rifles that are supposed to be some Krag-Jørgensen model, not fitting for the Victorian Britain but widely available for film studios in 1930s USA. It is impossible to determine the exact model.

For comparison: US Property Marked Krag-Jørgensen Model 1896 Rifle - .30-40 Krag
Rifles of Tower guard in gun rack at the background.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Rifle-2.jpg
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Rifle-3.jpg
Armed escort of priceless emerald "The Star of Delhi", transported to Tower treasury.
A Royal Guard in Tower.
The bolt and the receiver of the rifle are seen.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-Rifle-7.jpg
The barrels and bayonets of rifles are seen when Royal Guards help Watson to get out of the overturned cab. The bayonets match M1892 model, issued for U.S. Army Krag-Jørgensen rifles.


Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3

Several promotional images shows Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) holding a revolver that appears to be a Smith & Wesson New Model No.3. This gun doesn't appear in the movie.

Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3. Target configuration. Screen gun has a rounded front sight.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-SW-1.jpg
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-1939-SW-2.jpg
Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), accompanies by Ann Brandon (Ida Lupino), holds a Smith & Wesson revolver. This scene isn't seen in the movie.
A poster, based on these promotional images.

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