AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Pursuit to Algiers
Alternate Title: The Fugitive
Director: Roy William Neill (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Oct 1945
Production Date:   mid-Aug--late Aug 1945
Duration (in mins):   65
Duration (in feet):   5,849
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Cast:   Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes)  
    Nigel Bruce (Doctor [John] Watson)  
    Marjorie Riordan (Sheila Woodbury)  
    Rosalind Ivan (Agatha Dunham)  
    Morton Lowry (Sanford)  
    Leslie Vincent (Prince Nikolas)  
    Martin Kosleck (Mirko)  
    Rex Evans (Gregor)  
    John Abbott (Jodri)  
    Gerald Hamer (Kingston)  
    Wee Willie Davis (Gubec)  
    Frederic Worlock (Prime minister)  
    Tom Dillon (Restaurant proprietor)  
    Sven Hugo Borg (Johansson)  
    Wilson Benge (Clergyman)  
    Gregory Gay (Ravez)  
    Alan Edmiston (Furtive man)  
    James Craven (Customer)  
    Dorothy Kellogg (Fuzzy looking woman)  
    Ashley Cowan (Steward)  
    George Leigh (Reginald Dene)  
    James Carlisle (Aide)  
    Sayre Dearing (Aide)  

Summary: Walking the fog-laden streets of London one evening, making plans for their impending Scottish holiday, detective Sherlock Holmes and his associate Dr. Watson note in several newspapers the theft of the Duchess of Brookdale's emerald collection. While discussing the robbery, they are led by several innocuous clues to a meeting with the Prime Minister of the tiny country of Rovinia, who explains that the prior week's death of King Stephan of Rovina in an automobile accident was in reality an assassination by a group of insurgents determined to overthrow the country. Stephan's son, Prince Nikolas, who has been in Britain incognito since childhood, receiving a public school education, must now return to Rovinia to assume leadership of the country. The Prime Minister asks Holmes to escort Nikolas to Algiers, where he can be safely taken to Rovinia, and the detective agrees over Watson's protestations. At the airport later that night, Holmes and Watson meet Nikolas and discover their planned air transportation has unexpectedly broken down, leaving only a three-seat plane available. Suspecting sabotage, Holmes directs Watson to serve as a decoy by taking a Swedish liner to Alexandria, where he will later rendezvous with him and the prince. On board the S.S. Friesland , Watson meets a young American singer, Sheila Woodbury, who is sent off with a portfolio full of important musical arrangements by her manager. After the voyage gets underway, Watson is shocked to read a news bulletin describing the crash of a small three-seater airplane. Believing Holmes dead, Watson initially ignores the steward Sanford's request to minister to a stricken passenger. When he does respond, he discovers Nikolas and Holmes, who, deducing the likelihood of more sabotage, arranged to be secreted aboard the Friesland . Settling into the journey, Holmes becomes suspicious of Sheila, who is startled at discovering the detective on board and quick to form a romantic attachment to Nikolas, who is introduced as Watson's nephew. During an unexpected stop in Lisbon, the ship is boarded by three men, Gregor, Mirko and a mute, Gubec, who appear aware of Holmes' assignment and the true identity of Nikolas. Shortly after their arrival, Mirko attempts to stab Holmes, but is foiled by the detective, who recognizes him as a well-known circus artist, performing a knife throwing act. A wealthy passenger, Agatha Dunham, plans a party for the last night of the voyage, during which Holmes believes Gregor and his group will make another attempt on Nikolas. Sheila continues behaving suspiciously, repeatedly declining to part with her portfolio, and Holmes determines she is carrying the stolen Brookdale emeralds. When confronted, Sheila admits she is the unwitting courier for her jewel thief manager. At the Dunham party, Holmes prevents a bomb planted in a party favor from going off and accuses Gregor of the attempt on Nikolas. As the ship docks outside Alexandria, Holmes takes Nikolas below to prepare for their departure and sends Watson to meet the prince's escorts. As soon as he departs, Gregor, Mirko and Gubec break into Holmes' cabin, tie him up and take Nikolas. Watson returns with the Rovinian representatives and is horrified to discover the prince's kidnapping. Holmes calmly informs the group that Nikolas is safe, and reveals that Sanford the steward is the true prince, and "Nikolas" an arranged impostor. Holmes contacts the shore police in time for Gregor and his group to be arrested, and as the real Nikolas departs with his escorts, Holmes and Watson are at last free to take their belated holiday. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Roy William Neill (Dir)
  Raymond Kessler (Dial dir)
  Seward Webb (Asst dir)
Producer: Howard Benedict (Exec prod)
  Roy William Neill (Prod)
Writer: Leonard Lee (Orig scr)
Photography: Paul Ivano (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: John B. Goodman (Art dir)
  Martin Obzina (Art dir)
Film Editor: Saul A. Goodkind (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Russell A. Gausman (Set dec)
  Ralph Sylos (Set dec)
Costumes: Vera West (Gowns)
Music: Edgar Fairchild (Mus dir)
Sound: Bernard B. Brown (Dir of sd)
  Robert Pritchard ([Sd] tech)
Make Up: Jack P. Pierce (Dir of makeup)
Country: United States
Series: Sherlock Holmes

Songs: "There Isn't Any Harm in That," and "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton," music by James E. Spilman, lyrics by Robert Burns; "Cross My Heart," music by Milton Rosen, lyrics by Everett Carter; "Loch Lomond (By Yon Bonnie Brae)," Scottish traditional.
Composer: Robert Burns
  Everett Carter
  Milton Rosen
  James E. Spilman
Source Text: Based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 25/10/1945 dd/mm/yyyy LP13642

PCA NO: 11214
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
Subjects (Major): Assassins
  Jewel thieves
Subjects (Minor): Accidents
  Algiers (Algeria)
  Attempted murder
  Impersonation and imposture
  London (England)

Note: The working title for this film was The Fugitive . For additional information on the series and other films featuring the Arthur Conan Doyle characters, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror , and the entries for Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4020 and F3.2009. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   27 Oct 1945.   
Daily Variety   18 Oct 45   p. 3.
Film Daily   26 Oct 45   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Aug 45   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Aug 45   p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Oct 45   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   1 Sep 45   p. 2628.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   27 Oct 45   p. 2693.
New York Times   27 Oct 45   p. 12.
Variety   31 Oct 45   p. 17.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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