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The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case (1932)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 14 August 1932 (USA)
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.

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(adapted from the story by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (screen play by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Arthur Wontner ...
Isla Bevan ...
...
Graham Soutten ...
Miles Malleson ...
Herbert Lomas ...
Gilbert Davis ...
Margaret Yarde ...
Mrs. Smith
Roy Emerton ...
The Tattooed Man
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

14 August 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Zeichen der 4  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Roy Emerton. See more »

Goofs

In the original Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes's residence and consulting room were located at 221B Baker Street in London. However, an early establishing shot in the film shows Holmes's address to be 22A Baker Street. See more »

Quotes

Dr. John H. Watson: Well, now we know who did it. All we have to do is catch him.
Sherlock Holmes: Yes, that's all. Yes, well you go out and catch him, and I'll wait here 'til you come back
Dr. John H. Watson: Yes!
[Watson turns to leave, but suddenly comes to a stop]
Dr. John H. Watson: Er, but where'll I go?
Sherlock Holmes: Exactly. Let's leave jumping to conclusions to the professional detectives.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Crucifer of Blood (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Better than Basil--Sorry, Mr. Rathbone
5 October 2004 | by (Texas, USA) – See all my reviews

I recently saw this film simply because it was in a multi-pack of "B" mystery movies. I was very dubious since I had eagerly watched the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone and didn't expect this film to best his performance. I was wrong. Arthur Wontner was able to convey Holmes' intelligence without the superciliousness that often mars other actors' portrayals. The Holmes/Watson relationship was one of equals instead of Super Genius/Amiable Bumbler. It was a refreshing take on a relationship that can grate as portrayed in the Rathbone films. There are drawbacks to this film, however. The sound quality is not first-rate--at least not on the DVD. The audience is not introduced to Holmes and Watson until 15 to 30 minutes into the film and the main villain's thick Cockney (?) accent made his dialogue heavy slogging--at least to these American ears. Is the print perfect? No. Can the pace be slow? Yes. Don't be deterred. See a wonderful Holmes, an intelligent and rakish Watson. It's a welcome eye-opener for those who have only seen the Rathbone films or the Brett television versions. Don't get me wrong--I think the above-mentioned actors are marvelous and had fine takes on Sherlock Holmes. I just prefer Wontner's ability to portray a wry braininess and the rapport he shared with Ian Fleming's superb Watson.


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