In and Out of Character: An Autobiography, by Basil Rathbone. (New York:
Doubleday, hardcover, 1962). Paperback edition, 2004.
Rathbone's book is full of the lore and magic of a wonderful era in the
art form of the 20th century called the movies. He gives us candid and
insightful information on some of the original giants of the industry.
Rathbone is romantic yet concise and realistic. His anecdotes are often
hilarious...sometimes sad, always involving. The stories of his personal life
show that qualities like true love, loyalty and dedication do exist in the
fickle, often ruthless world of show business. Rathbone's account of his
psychic experiences involving his brother is especially intriguing, and his
devotion to his wife Ouida Bergere is moving. His advice on acting is right
on and should be part of any aspiring or working actor's education. It is an
intelligent book by a talented artist and decent human being.
(review written by David Macklin)
This book is
currently available to purchase. Check out Amazon.com.
Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films, by Michael B. Druxman. (Hardcover: South Brunswick
and New York: A.S. Barnes, 1975).
Paperback edition: BearManor Media, 2011
Michael Druxman's book is well-researched and
well-written--a "must have" for every Basil Rathbone fan. The book traces the
fascinating life of the actor and provides detailed descriptions of all of Rathbone's
films, including cast, credits, critics' reviews and production notes. Out-of-print for
more than thirty-five years, Michael Druxmanís book is once again available
This new reprint edition mirrors the original 1975 biography/filmography,
including its more than 250 rare photographs, and also contains a new
Introduction by the author. Buy it at Amazon.com.
Sherlock Holmes & the Fabulous
Faces: The Universal Pictures Repertory Company, by
Michael A. Hoey (BearManor Media, 2011)
Roy William Neill, who directed nearly all of the Sherlock Holmes
films of the 1940s that starred Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, had
a repertory company of character actors and actresses whom he liked
to use. The book is a tribute to those 68 men and women whose names
appeared in small print below the stars, and who graced hundreds of
films with their diversified performances. More often than not these
films, be they star-studded spectacles or poverty row quickies,
would be that much the better for their presence.
Author Michael A. Hoey is a film and television writer, director
and producer. He is also the son of British actor Dennis Hoey, who
played Inspector Lestrade in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series.
from BearManor Media or
The wartime films of Sherlock Holmes, by
Amanda Field (Middlesex University Press, 2009)
England's Secret Weapon examines the way Hollywood used Sherlock
Holmes in a series of fourteen films that spanned the years of World
War II in Europe, from The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1939
to Dressed to Kill in 1946. Basil Rathbone's portrayal of
Holmes has influenced every actor who has subsequently played this
popular character on film, TV, stage and radio, yet the film series
has, until now, been neglected in terms of detailed critical
analysis. The book looks at the films themselves in combination with
their historical context.
Though the first two films were set in the detective's "true"
Victorian period, Holmes was then "updated" and recruited to fight
the Nazis. He came to represent the acceptable face of England for
the Americans--the one man who could be relied upon to ensure an
Allied victory. Enthusiasm for a Nazi-fighting Holmes soon waned,
and the series moved first into ghost-and-ghouls chillers, and
finally into visceral horror films in which Professor Moriarty,
Holmes' old enemy, had been replaced by a new breed of villain--a
Middlesex University Press,
Amazon UK, or
The following are books that have at least a chapter about Basil Rathbone,
unless otherwise noted.
The Bad Guys: A Pictorial History of the Movie Villain, by
William K. Everson. (New York: The Citadel Press), 1964. Has several pages
on Rathbone, and a few photos.
Bedside Hollywood, edited by Robert Atwan, Bruce Forer and
Jack Forer. (publisher?), 1985. Brings together forty of the greatest
scenes from movie stars' memoirs. One chapter is "Hi There, Sherlock"
from Rathbone's autobiography.
Cads and Cavaliers: The Gentlemen Adventurers of the Movies, by
Tony Thomas. (South Brunswick: A.S. Barnes), 1973.
The Detective in Film, by William K. Everson. (Secaucus,
NJ: Citadel Press), 1972. Has several pages on Rathbone's portrayal of
Sherlock Holmes, and also explores his portrayal of Philo Vance in
"The Bishop Murder Case."
The Detective in Hollywood: The Movie Careers of the Great
Fictional Private Eyes and Their Careers, by John Tuska. (New York:
Doubleday), 1978. A look at popular fictional detectives, and the actors,
writers, and directors of the detective films.
The Films of Sherlock Holmes, by Chris Steinbrunner and Norman
Michaels. (Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press), 1978.
The Game is Afoot: Parodies, Pastiches and Ponderings of Sherlock
Holmes, edited by Marvin Kaye. (St. Martin's Press), 1994. 512 pages.
Contains over fifty pieces representing the full range of a century of Holmesian writing, including a piece written by Basil Rathbone.
The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years, by David Shipman.
(New York: Bonanza Books) 1970. A comprehensive book on the rise and fall
of 181 actors and actresses who became stars before the end of World War
II. There is a 4-page chapter on Rathbone, summarizing his career and including
the names of all his films.
The Great Villains, by Janet Pate. Lots of photos of
Hollywood Album: Lives and Deaths of Hollywood Stars, edited
by Arleen Keylin and Suri Fleischer. (New York Times), 1977. 312 pages. A
collection of photos and articles on 170 different stars taken from the
pages of the New York Times. Contains at least one article on Basil
Hollywood Heavies, edited by J.C. Suares. 45 actors who
played the "bad guys" (incl. Rathbone) are featured in this 80-page book,
published in 1994.
The Hollywood Hissables, by Gregory William Mauk (Scarecrow),
Hollywood's Other Men, by Alex Barris. (South Brunswick
and New York: A.S. Barnes), 1974. 223 pages. A celebration of the rivals who lost to
the heroes in the last reel.
Holmes of the Movies: The Screen Career of Sherlock Holmes, by
David Stuart Davies. (New York: Bramhall House), 1978. The author, a member
of the Baker St. Irregulars, also wrote Bending the Willow, a book
about Jeremy Brett.
Horror Film Stars, by Michael R. Pitts. (McFarland &
Company, Inc.), 1981. A look at the careers of various stars in the horror
film genre. Has a chapter on Rathbone and his career.
Human Monsters: The Bizarre Psychology of Movie Villains, by
George E. Turner and Michael H. Price. (Kitchen Sink Press), 1995.
Profiles 65 of the most depraved movie villains of the 1930s and 1940s.
Has in-depth analysis of Rathbone's character in "The Mad
Mad Scientists, by Ian Thorne. (Crestwood House, Inc.), 1977.
Profiles the mad scientists of the movies: Boris Karloff and Basil
Rathbone in "Son of Frankenstein," Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy
in "The Mask of Fu Manchu," Frederic March as "Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde," Claude Rains as "The Invisible Man," Charles
Laughton as Dr. Moreau, and John Carradine in "Revenge of the
Zombies." 48 pages with 33 black and white pictures.
Masters of Horror,
by Daniel Cohen. (Clarion Books in
association with Tickner and Fields, a Houghton Mifflin Company), 1984. 119
pages. Profiles four superstars of horror films, (Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi,
Lon Chaney, Christopher Lee), and discusses notable contributions by
directors, writers, special effects and make-up artists, and other actors.
Rathbone is one of the "other actors."
Mystic Prophecies and Nostradamus, by Peter Ballbusch.
(Cosmic Star Publishing Co.), 1966. (A reprint of the 1961 movie book by
Premier Productions of Hollywood.) This book was based on the film of the
same name, which was narrated by Basil Rathbone. Containing several
photographs of Rathbone, Mystic Prophecies and Nostradamus tells
the stories of several prophets in history.
Old Familiar Faces: The Great Character Actors and Actresses of
Hollywood's Golden Era, by Robert A. Juran. (Sarasota, Fl.: Movie
Memories Publishing), 1995. Rathbone is one of 89 key character actors and
actresses of the 1930s, whose lives and careers are covered in this
320-page book. The chapter on Rathbone is five pages.
A Pictorial History of the Movie Villain: The Bad Guys, by William K. Everson.
(Citadel Press), 1971. From The Great Train Robbery of 1903 to the present, here are the movies' bad guys -- the western heavies, the gangsters, the masterminds, the hoods, the gunmen, the super-criminals, the serial villains, the mad doctors, the psychos -- captured in lively text and over 500 photographs.
Stars mentioned in the 240-page book include Noah Beery, Montague Love, Walter Long, Donald Crisp, Boris Karloff, Paul Hurst, Rondo Hatton, William S. Hart, Bill Elliott, James Cagney, Rudolph Klein-Rogge, George Zucco, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Christopher Lee,
Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone and George Sanders.
The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes, by Michael Pointer.
(New York: Drake Publishers), 1975. A chronological catalog of the plays,
films, and radio and television productions which have featured Sherlock
Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration, by Allen Eyles.
(Justin Knowles) 1986. 144 pages. A centenary tribute to the world's most
famous detective, including Holmes performances on stage and screen.
Chapter 9 is "Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes."
Sherlock Holmes by Gas-Lamp: Highlights from the First Four
Decades of The Baker Street Journal, edited by Philip A. Shreffler. (Fordham
University Press), 1989. A collection of sixty-seven of the best writing
from The Baker Street Journal (published by the Baker Street Irregulars in
New York) over its first four decades. Authors include noted
Sherlockian scholars and Rathbone.
A Sherlock Holmes Companion, edited by Peter Haining. (New
York: Barnes & Noble Books), 1994. A collection of some of the best
essays and articles written about the great detective. Contributors
include J.M. Barrie, P.G. Wodehouse, John Gardner and Basil Rathbone.
Rathbone's article, "An Encounter in Central Park," is four
pages, and also appears in Rathbone's autobiography In and Out of
Character (in the chapter "Good-by My Friend").
|Sherlock Holmes in America, by Bill Blackbeard. (New York:
Harry N. Abrams) 1981. 240 pages. An encyclopedic look at the various ways
that Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in American media, including film
Holmes on Screen: The Complete Film and TV History, by Alan Barnes.
(Reynolds and Hearn, 2001, 2004.) With Rathbone gracing the cover of
the 2004 edition, this book includes all Holmes' 300 plus film appearances--the most
comprehensive Holmes filmography ever published (according to the
publisher). Can be ordered from
Amazon.com. NOTE: An updated, paperback edition was
produced in 2012 by Titan Books. It includes entries from the BBC
series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and the
Sherlock Holmes films directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert
Sherlock Holmes on the Screen, by Robert W. Pohle Jr. and
Douglas C. Hart. (A.S. Barnes and Co., 1977.) Covers all of the Sherlock
Holmes films produced between 1903 and 1971. Lots of black and white
Son of Frankenstein, 50th Anniversary Edition (1939-1989),
edited by Philip J. Riley, production background by Gregory William Mank.
Universal Filmscripts Series, Classic Horror Films, Vol. 3. (MagicImage
Filmbooks), 1990. This book covers everything you'd want to know about the
1939 film "Son of Frankenstein," starring Basil Rathbone: the
complete first draft script by Willis Cooper, detailed production
background, biography notes on the cast and crew, pressbook reproductions,
and loads of photographs.
Sherlock Holmes, by David Stuart Davies. (Titan Books, 2001, 2003.)
The definitive illustrated history of
Holmes on screen covers every Sherlock Holmes film and TV series from the
silent movies, through the famous portrayals of Basil Rathbone and Peter
Cushing, up to the celebrated television series starring Jeremy Brett and
beyond. Stage and radio works are also covered. The dust jacket can be
flipped to feature either Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone on the front
cover. Can be ordered from
Tales From the Hollywood Raj: The British in California, by
Tough Guys and Gals of the Movies, by Edward Edelson. (New
York: Doubleday) 1978. 133 pages. Rathbone is one of the "tough
guys" discussed in the chapter "From Bad to Good."
There are also many "History of the Movies" books, in
which Rathbone is mentioned, because of course he deserves a place in
history, but his performances are not discussed in detail. Some of these
- The Films of the Forties, by Tony Thomas
- From Scarface to Scarlett: The American Films in the 1930s, by
- History of the Movies, by Edward F. Dolan Jr.
- The Movie Buff's Book
- The Movie Makers: The Lives and Films of More Than 2,500
Stars, Supporting Actors and Directors Who Have Made Motion Picture
- The Movie Stars Story
- The Movies, by Richard Griffith and Arthur Mayer
- Movies of the Thirties, by Ann Lloyd
- Saturday Afternoon at the Movies, by Alan G. Barbour (3
volumes in 1)
- The Universal Story: The Complete History of the Studio and
its 2641 Films
- A World of Movies: 70 Years of Film History, by Richard
|The Howard Hughes Affair, by Stuart M.
Books, 1980. A Toby Peters mystery in which Basil Rathbone helps private eye
Toby solve several murders.
|Basil Rathbone Selects Strange Tales, (New York: Belmont),
1965. A collection of stories written by various authors and recommended
by Basil Rathbone.
|Make Mine Murder, by Robert
Sydney Bowen, Checkerbooks #3, 1949. A fastmoving, suspenseful
detective novel "from the Library of Basil Rathbone."
|Watson's Choice, by Gladys
Mitchell, (London: Michael Joseph), 1955. A murder mystery in
which all the guests at a party are dressed as characters from
Sherlock Holmes stories when the murder occurs. The dust jacket of
this book features a drawing of Rathbone and Bruce as Sherlock
Holmes and Dr. Watson.
me to suggest a book to be added.