One of Barrymore's most prestigious early roles, this rarely seen film also presents screen debuts of William Powell and Roland Young. When a young prince is accused of a crime that could ... See full summary »
One of Barrymore's most prestigious early roles, this rarely seen film also presents screen debuts of William Powell and Roland Young. When a young prince is accused of a crime that could embroil him in international scandal, debonair super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes comes to his aid, and quickly discovers that behind the incident lurks a criminal mastermind eager to reduce Western civilization to anarchy. Written by
Considered lost for nearly fifty-years, this film was finally found in the mid-70's but sadly it turns out to be a pretty dull affair. What had silent film buffs so interested in this film was the incredibly cast of actors including John Barrymore as Holmes and Roland Young as Watson. The supporting cast was equally impressive as we see a young William Warren, Reginald Denny and D.W. Griffith's lover, Carol Dempster, in her only screen appearance not directed by Griffith. In the film, Holmes and Watson are friends at Cambridge when Holmes is accused of stealing some money. On the other side of town, the evil Professor Moriarty (Gustav von Seyffertitz) is planning world domination. After Holmes is cleared of the theft he becomes interested in the detective game and sets out to bring Moriarty down. The actual case of Holmes and Moriarty doesn't start until around the fifty minute mark as the first part of the film lets us get introduced to both sides. This here was certainly a mistake as I'm sure people going into this film will know who Holmes is. Another problem is that the film relies way too much on the intertitles and we spend way too much time reading instead of seeing anything happen. Barrymore plays Holmes very straight and I personally find the actor boring when he doesn't go over the top. He really doesn't bring anything to his role but Young is good as Watson. Carol Dempster, on the other hand, doesn't come off too good but she's not horrible either. I'll have to check some of my Griffith books but I'm not quite sure how she got the part in this since most major studios didn't want Griffith using her for anything. There's a nice twist at the end of the movie but by then you'll either be asleep or pushing the FF button.
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