Up 249,033 this week

The Sign of Four (1923)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.3/10 from 21 users  
Reviews: 1 user

A convict seeks revenge on the partners who cheated him of his treasure share.



0Check in

IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 252 titles
created 23 Feb 2012
a list of 130 titles
created 05 Jan 2013
list image
a list of 9883 titles
created 29 Oct 2013
a list of 96 titles
created 24 Feb 2014
a list of 101 titles
created 7 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Sign of Four" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Sign of Four (1923)

The Sign of Four (1923) on IMDb 5.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Sign of Four.

User Polls

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Sign of Four (TV Movie 1987)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The disappearance of a young woman's father and a mysterious note years later after the strange regular annual delivery of valuable pearls to her puts Sherlock Holmes on the case.

Director: Peter Hammond
Stars: Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Robin Hunter
The Sign of Four (TV Movie 2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Greed, betrayal and vengeance set the stage for this Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic. Mary Morstan, a young governess, has been receiving a rare and lustrous pearl annually from an anonymous... See full summary »

Director: Rodney Gibbons
Stars: Matt Frewer, Kenneth Welsh, Sophie Lorain
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  
Director: Basil Dean
Stars: Clive Brook, H. Reeves-Smith, Betty Lawford
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

Holmes and Dr Watson solve the mysteries of the disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax, Thor Bridge, Shoscombe Old Place, the Boscombe Valley, an illustrious client and a creeping man.

Stars: Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Rosalie Williams
Crime | Thriller | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Nazi saboteurs jeeringly predicts to the nation of new depredations via their radio Voice of Terror, the Intellegence Inner Council summons Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone)to help in ... See full summary »

Director: John Rawlins
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Evelyn Ankers
Sherlock Holmes (1964–1968)
Horror | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Stars: Nigel Stock, Peter Cushing, Douglas Wilmer
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson solve the mysteries of copper beeches, a Greek interpreter, the Norwood builder, a resident patient, the red-headed league, and one final problem.

Stars: Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Rosalie Williams
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young woman turns to Sherlock Holmes for protection when she's menaced by an escaped killer seeking missing treasure. However, when the woman is kidnapped, Holmes and Watson must penetrate the city's criminal underworld to find her.

Director: Graham Cutts
Stars: Arthur Wontner, Isla Bevan, Ian Hunter
Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Sherlock Holmes takes a vacation and visits his old friend Sir Henry Baskerville. His vacation ends when he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a double-murder mystery. Now he's got to ... See full summary »

Director: Thomas Bentley
Stars: Arthur Wontner, Ian Fleming, Lyn Harding
Short | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  
Director: Lloyd Lonergan
Stars: Harry Benham, Charles Gunn, Mignon Anderson
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Director: Leslie S. Hiscott
Stars: Arthur Wontner, Jane Welsh, Miles Mander
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

After her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, a young heiress seeks Holmes' help when she feels threatened by her brutish stepfather.

Director: Jack Raymond
Stars: Lyn Harding, Raymond Massey, Angela Baddeley


Cast overview:
Eille Norwood ...
Isobel Elsom ...
Fred Raynham ...
Prince Abdullah Khan
Arthur M. Cullin ...
Norman Page ...
Humberston Wright ...
Dr. Sholto
Henry Wilson ...
Mme. d'Esterre ...
Arthur Bell ...
Insp. Anthony Jones


A convict seeks revenge on the partners who cheated him of his treasure share.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery




Release Date:

June 1923 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Das Zeichen der Vier  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Sign of Four" is actually this story's correct title; it was the second Sherlock Holmes story completed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. See more »


Version of The Sign of Four (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Holmesian Thriller
6 June 2014 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

Never released in US, The Sign of Four received a belated premiere at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, giving American Sherlockians an introduction to Eille Norwood, whose portrayal of Sherlock Holmes earned raves from no less than Conan Doyle. Based on the evidence of this feature, Norwood definitely belongs in the company of Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Brett, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

No one has bettered Conan Doyle's explanation of Norwood's appeal: "He has that rare quality which can only be described as glamour, which compels you to watch an actor eagerly even when he is doing nothing. He has the brooding eye which excites expectation and he has also a quite unrivalled power of disguise." Norwood is indeed a master of stillness and quiet intensity. Though old for the part, his haggard face and severe eyes command attention (along with his moments of wry humor). The film opens and closes on Norwood's face, masking the frame to reveal Holmes staring down the audience.

Norwood's Holmes is straight from the books, but purists should be warned that this film takes many liberties with Conan Doyle's novella. And that's perfectly understandable--silent film is not the most suitable medium for the Holmes stories, which heavily rely on dialogue and exposition. A faithful silent adaptation of "The Sign of Four" would have drowned in a sea of inter-titles. Maurice Elvey, who adapted and directed the film, instead chose to turn Doyle's whodunit into a thriller. Holmes does less detective work, and much of it is off-screen. The long flashback in the novel is drastically reduced and dealt with early on, along with the solution of the mystery and the culprits.

Major Sholto appears instead of his sons, Jonathan Small and Tonga have much reduced roles, and the film introduces a new villain, Prince Abdullah Khan. He's unsubtly played in brownface and identified as a "Hindoo" by Holmes (who is mistaken--"Abdullah" is an Islamic name, meaning "slave of Allah" in Arabic). Additionally, the Four signers of the title are different characters and lack the camaraderie Doyle gave them. That, along with the extensive use of hamming in brownface (and details like cutting between a monkey and "pygmy" as they doff hats), results in a film that's arguably more racist than its source material from 30 years earlier. An additional defect is under-use of Watson (a common problem in silent Holmes films), played by the stolid and mustache-less Arthur Cullin, though he has a fun scene of wondering "What would Holmes do?"

Once expectations of textual fidelity are put aside, "Sign" can be enjoyed as a nifty thriller, thanks to its brisk pacing and flair. Maurice Elvey's direction is stylish and inventive. Wipes are used to transition to and from flashbacks, and a flash-cut reveals the source of one of Holmes's deductions. When Holmes divulges his conclusions, flashbacks show him superimposed, lending a ghostly effect to the narration of previously unseen events. The film is strong in mood, opening with a shot of a "pearl grey afternoon in Baker Street" (though Watson later enters 114 instead of 221B!), and the use of shadows is splendidly inventive. Elvey also throws in scene of seamy working-class London in a Limehouse bar.

The climax expands Doyle's original chase, adding a damsel in distress and a car-versus-boat race across London and the Thames. It's practically a tour of the city, with landmarks announced through inter-titles ("Putney Bridge," "Hyde Park Corner" etc). The concluding speedboat chase still impresses, with the camera perched close to waterline or on top of the boats as they plow through the waves. You can see why Holmes faces the camera upon hearing the case and says "This is going to be exciting." It still is.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Sign of Four (1923) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: