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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
Reportedly, John Barrymore, the film's star, was responsible for getting William Powell into films. When MGM wanted to replace Barrymore in "Romeo and Juliet" in 1936, the actor showed his loyalty to the fading star by refusing the role. See more »
My name is Sherlock Holmes. I-I am a student - a student of life. Its complexities fascinate me...
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I have been viewing the great detective on film as a progression, through the years, since the early part of the 20th century. I'm sure it was fascinating for readers of the stories to watch our hero develop, and there have since been countless literary expositions on Holmes and anything accompanying him. It has likewise been a lot of fun watching different portrayals on the screen.
I have enjoyed the Eille Norwood productions immensely, and of course can strongly recommend Messieurs Rathbone and Brett in the role. Other commendable cinematic or televised Sherlocks include Charlton Heston, Peter Cushing, Christopher Plummer, Nicol Williamson--a lot of good men have played Sherlock Holmes.
But this one is the very worst one I've seen, except for a short burlesque by Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Mr. Barrymore shows zero intellectual processing--that's right, none. He is in a daze. Can you can imagine Sherlock Holmes in a daze? I understand he was intoxicated for most of the production, and it shows. If he was a great actor, he was a pitiful interpretor. I would doubt he ever read a Holmes story.
The film has some good features, as delineated by Mr. Morris in the review above this one. It is of some historical interest. It might even be a fairly good movie of its day. But, when laid beside The Hound of the Baskervilles starring Jeremy Brett, you have a turkey.
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