In this mystery, Holmes pursues his arch-enemy Moriarty to New York, which the villainous scoundrel has carried out the ultimate bank robbery. Meanwhile, Holmes enjoys a blossoming romance ... See full summary »
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Card cheat Ronald Adair hears a disembodied voice coming from a painting of a cardinal threatening him with exposure and disgrace unless he becomes part of a criminal conspiracy involving counterfeit money. Adair is reluctant and is later found shot in the head in a bank. Holmes rightly suspects that his arch-enemy Moriarty, the master of disguise, is behind the plot. Written by
Although Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming make a fine pair of leads as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson in The Cardinal Speaks the film itself is kind of slow going in comparison to the classic Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce series from the USA. In addition a lot of this film seems to have been lost including a pair of attempts on the life of Holmes that are mentioned in passing.
The Adairs, brother and sister heiresses are in a bit of a jackpot. The inheritance is gone and the brother has resorted to some card cheating to keep up the cash flow as his job in the foreign office is not enough income. His sister comes to Dr. Watson an old friend of their father and with that comes Sherlock Holmes.
It turns out the young heir is being drawn into a counterfeiting scheme involving Bank of England notes, a scheme from the fertile brain of the arch enemy of Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty. He gets his instructions from a painting of Cardinal Richelieu in a museum which talks to him, hence the original title.
The Cardinal Speaks moves along quite sluggishly and I think there's too much out of the original film to make it quite coherent. You have to fill too many spots.
As one who liked the Basil Rathbone Holmes films for the most part I was used to kindly, motherly Mary Gordon as housekeeper Mrs. Hudson. Seeing cockney Minnie Rayner was certainly different and maybe more of what Arthur Conan Doyle had in mind.
Holmes fans will like this, but a bit slow for the rest of us. This was the first time Arthur Wontner played Holmes and his other three films were better.
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