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The Speckled Band (1931)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 7 August 1931 (Ireland)
After her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, a young heiress seeks Holmes' help when she feels threatened by her brutish stepfather.



(story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band") (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (adaptation)

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Cast overview:
Sherlock Holmes
Nancy Price ...
Athole Stewart ...


Violet Stoner dies under mysterious circumstances in her bedroom at the gloomy mansion of her brutish stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Rylott. Because Violet had become engaged to be married, she stood to inherit a substantial annual allowance from her parents' estate but never survived to collect it. Her last words were "The Speckled Band!" Now, her sister Helen has become engaged, and the mercenary doctor views the event as money out of his pocket as she stands to get a yearly stipend too. When he orders her to start sleeping in her sister's bedroom, and she finds the bed bolted to the floor, she fears that a fate similar to Violet's will befall her. She turns to the residents of 221B Baker Street for help. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Cringing in fear before some sinister and horrifying power of man or nature...a hell that would rob her of love and beauty! See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 August 1931 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

A Tira Salpicada  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


An interesting set up for this Sherlock Holmes tale. He works out from an office: he is in the inner office and his two secretaries in the outer office. This is equipped with "modern-for-that-time" equipment that supposedly has all the information available on all criminals. It seems that this is stored on cards - one can see a card sorter working and (perhaps) printing out to paper. One secretary, typing very rapidly, listens to a non-electrical recording on a cylinder through earphones a little like a stethoscope - the other secretary is upset as Sherlock Holmes knows even more about the criminal world and keeps modifying the system. Later he uses an unseen communications system to call a secretary from his (inner) office. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: From your clothes I would deduce - you're going to a wedding.
Dr. John Watson: [laughs heartily] At last I've got you. For once in your life you're wromg.
Sherlock Holmes: Wrong?
Dr. John Watson: I'm not going to a wedding! I'm coming from one!
Dr. John Watson: [Watson again enjoys a hearty laugh]
Sherlock Holmes: [sardonically] Give them my congratulations or perhaps condolences.
Dr. John Watson: Rubbish! We all come to it, my dear fellow.
Dr. John Watson: [he laughs again] We all come to it. Goodbye.
Sherlock Holmes: [alone, ironically and sadly, after Watson has left] Not all, my dear Watson... not all.
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Version of The Speckled Band (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

Watson should have figured this out
30 October 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Had I seen the director's cut of The Speckled Band I might have given it a higher rating. But the version I saw was one released in Canada and only ran 50 minutes. Still the basic idea of the famous Sherlock Holmes mystery came through and Raymond Massey was a fine Holmes.

A slight change in the plot that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote has Dr. Watson played here by Athole Stewart called in on the inquest on the death of Joyce Moore. That was a mistake because Watson being a doctor and also having served in the Afghan War would have known exactly what the cause of death was and Holmes would never have to be called in.

In any event her sister Angela Baddely is fearful for her own life and fearful of a coarse and brutal stepfather Lyn Harding. Harding is also a blusterer and he dares Massey to pin anything on him.

Harding also served in India and that's the key to what happened to Moore and almost to Baddely.

I would like to have seen the full version of The Speckled Band as it is considered one of Arthur Conan Doyle's best Holmes stories. Still as an introduction to Holmes it's not a bad one and Massey's portrayal stands up well. In fact it was his first real cinema role of note.

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