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Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour (1931)

The Sleeping Cardinal (original title)
A card cheat is threatened with exposure into joining a criminal enterprise that Holmes believes is controlled by Professor Moriarty.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Arthur Wontner ...
Ian Fleming ...
Dr. John Watson (as Jan Fleming)
Minnie Rayner ...
Leslie Perrins ...
Jane Welsh ...
Norman McKinnel ...
William Fazan ...
Thomas Fisher
Sydney King ...
Tony Rutherford (as Sidney King)
Philip Hewland ...
Inspector Lestrade (as Phillip Hewland)
Gordon Begg ...
Marston, the butler
Louis Goodrich ...
Harry Terry ...
No. 16
Charles Paton ...
J.J. Godfrey
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Storyline

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 duke1029@aol.com

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Genres:

Crime | Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

February 1931 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was thought to be a lost film until a print was discovered in the United States. See more »

Quotes

Ronald Adair: [to his fellow bridge players as he leaves the game] No, don't get up. I hope you all win.
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User Reviews

 
Filmed Stage Play
26 November 2012 | by (Ramsey, NJ) – See all my reviews

That may not be what the producer and director of "Sherlock Holmes Fatal Hour" had in mind, but that's what this picture is in essence. I tried to make allowances for a 1931 movie, as I imagine fluid, mobile camera-work came shortly thereafter, and one can excuse the lack of camera movement or location shots.

That said, I did not feel as confined as some other reviewers, or as bored, either. That is because I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Arthur Wontner as Holmes. I must confess I, too, kept comparing his with Basil Rathbone's, who I always thought owned the role. Having seen Wontner as Holmes I now have doubts who I prefer, as Wontner brings an extra measure of dignity and mental acuity to the role.

The plot is pretty straightforward, about a civil servant/card cheat blackmailed by Prof. Moriarty into a dishonest venture. No twists, no surprises, just actors doing their job in an interesting story. I did think Ian Fleming as Watson overacted and seemed ill at ease in his role. Very worth a look, if only to compare Wontner to Basil Rathbone - and you may be in for a surprise on that score.


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