In all, in the time period from 1939 to 1946, Rathbone and Bruce portrayed Holmes and Watson in 14 different films, ending with Dressed to Kill. Some of these films were wholly original stories, some of them were very loosely based on Doyle's stories. As time passed and the war ended, the emphasis on Nazi villains gave way to more mundane mysteries which perhaps better suited the detective's style. The present day setting was retained, however, and Holmes never seemed out of place or as though he missed the hansom cabs of old.
The last film in the series, Dressed to Kill, finds Holmes on the trail of three different music boxes, each of which was crafted by a prisoner in Dartmoor prison, and each of which holds part of a clue to the location of a pair of stolen printer's plates which could be used to print legal looking five pound notes. Each of the music boxes plays a variation on the same tune, and it doesn't take Holmes long to figure out that it is these variations that are the key to the mystery. Unfortunately, both for Holmes and for the villains, all three of the music boxes have been sold at auction to different buyers and it comes down to a race against time to see who can find all three of them and decipher the clues to the location of the hidden plates first.
Though not directly adapted from any of Doyle's canonical stories, reference is made in the film to "A Scandal in Bohemia," both directly (with mention also being made of the publication of Watson's stories about his friend in The Strand magazine) and indirectly, as the main antagonist, like "Scandal"'s Irene Adler, is a woman. As a matter of fact, so many mentions of The Strand are made that one might be led to wonder if there wasn't some reciprocal agreement between the magazine and Universal.