Public Domain Theater: Sherlock Holmes in ‘Dressed to Kill’ (& “Get Rich Quick Porky”)

Welcome to Public Domain Theater, your home for the wonderful world of films that have (in the United States, at least) fallen into the public domain, and are free for everyone to see!

This month, we return to the Sherlock Holmes films of the 1940’s, with the last film to feature Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as the duo of Holmes & Watson. With the title Dressed to Kill, you might think this is about Holmes investigating a mystery in the fashion industry, but no, it’s called that because of the fashionable femme fatale frontwomaning a felonious flock of fabricators. In case you’re wondering, said femme fatale is not Irene Adler, though the story does draw elements from “A Scandal in Bohemia” (as well as “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”), and an awkward reference to the character is inserted early on.

Not quite as over-the-top as the last Holmes flick we featured (Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon), but it’s still an engaging romp full of chases, traps, disguises, double crosses, and an overly intricate criminal scheme. If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted detective/adventure story, I fully recommend this little yarn.

But Sherlock Holmes isn’t the only famous figure we want to bring back this month. Despite highlighting many old cartoons on this feature, we’ve rarely paid much attention to one of the quintessential stars of animation: one Porky Pig. We only looked at them once before, in a cartoon where they played second fiddle to Daffy Duck. So I thought it was high time we turned to an earlier Porky, one who was still the unquestioned star of Warner Bros. cartoons (instead of in a distant third behind ducks and rabbits).

Here, in “Get Rich Quick Porky”, you’ll see that lovable oinker being suckered into buying what they think is an oil rich piece of land, accompanied by their original, pre-Daffy sidekick: Disgruntled Goat Gabby Goat. It’s a Looney Tunes short, so do I even need to tell you that hijinks ensue?

So whether you’re in the mood for the World’s Greatest Detective or Looney Tunes’ Third Greatest Star, there’s all the star power you could ask for right here at Public Domain Theater!

Opening Cartoon:

Feature Presentation: