A series of fourteen films based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories were released between 1939 and 1946; Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce played Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively. The first two films in the series were produced by 20th Century Fox and released in 1939. The studio stopped making the films after these, but Universal Studios acquired the rights from the Doyle estate and produced a further twelve films.
Although the films from 20th Century Fox had big budgets, high production values and were set in the Victorian era, Universal Studios updated the films to have Holmes investigating the Nazis, and produced them as B pictures with lower budgets. Both Rathbone and Bruce continued their roles when the series changed studios, as did Mary Gordon, who played the recurring character Mrs. Hudson.