In London, a secret society led by lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew collects the assets of any of its deceased members and divides them among the remaining members. Society members start dropping ... See full summary »
In London, a secret society led by lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew collects the assets of any of its deceased members and divides them among the remaining members. Society members start dropping like flies. Sherlock Holmes is approached by member James Murphy's widow, who is miffed at being left penniless by her husband. When Captain Pyke is shot, Holmes keys in on his mysterious Chinese widow as well as the shady Merrydew. Other members keep dying--Malcom Dearing first, then Mr. Baker. There is also an attempt on the life of young Eileen Forrester, who became a reluctant society member upon the death of her father. Holmes' uncanny observations and insights are put to the test. Written by
Gary Jackson <email@example.com>
Although the movie is credited as having been "suggested by the book by A. Conan Doyle," in fact, the plot is very different from that of the novel itself, which first introduced the character of Sherlock Holmes to the general public. Even the characters other than Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are not the original ones that appeared in the story. See more »
Holmes and Watson's address is given as 221-A Baker Street, rather than the more familiar 221-B. See more »
Then you've had to take me, Mr. Holmes?
I'll, ahh, take up your case.
Mind you, it'll have to be for love.
For nix. I've noticed how you like workin' for nothin'.
My interest is to bring the criminal to justice.
Well, never mind about justice, never mind about the crime. All I want is my husband's lawful money. And I want you to slap that thievin' lawyers face right across, between his greasy fat chops. Good night, Mr. Holmes. I'll be seeing you and thank you kindly.
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Sherlock Holmes became such a quick fixture in motion pictures that it is possible to write studies on the various movies and actors centered on that character.
This particular film was an early Hollywood take on Holmes in the sound period. It is interesting to note that it came out only three years after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died in 1930. By the time this had come out Hollywood had done silent and sound films about Holmes with William Gillette, John Barrymore, and (more recently) Clive Brooks. But the three best Holmes' of the sound period were still to come along: Arthur Wontner in Great Britain, Basil Rathbone in Hollywood, and Jeremy Brett (on television). Holmes in this version was Reginald Owen, best remembered for his "Ebenezer Scrooge" in the 1938 version of "A Christmas Carol". Owen was a very good character actor (villainous in films like "The Call Of The Wild", but funny as anything in "The Good Fairy"). He had played Watson already, so he was one of the few actors to essay both friends parts. But he seemed too laid back to be a good Holmes.
"A Study In Scarlet" appeared in December 1887 in "Beeton's Christmas Annual", a long forgotten magazine in Great Britain, which is only now recalled because of Conan Doyle's novella. If you are lucky enough to stumble onto the Beeton's of that month and year (and it is the original) than hold onto it - it's worth many thousands of dollars.
It's in two parts. The first half is "The Lauriston Gardens Mystery", wherein Dr. John H. Watson (our narrator) introduces us to his friend and roommate Sherlock Holmes, and then to the adventure (set in April 1881) where he first became aware that Holmes was a consulting detective, and was consulted by Scotland Yard's Detectives Tobias Gregson and "G." (no further name ever given) Lestrade (not "Lastrade" as the movie's cast of characters named him). Lestrade would be the best known of the detectives in the saga who would consult Holmes (and would be most memorably played by Dennis Hoey in the Rathbone films). Here he's played by Alan Mowbray - not badly but with little electricity.
The plot of the first portion of the novella is about the murder of two men, one by poison and one by a knife wound in the heart. Holmes traces the story back to the old west, where in the second half (entitled "The Country of the Saints") it is linked to the Mormons in Utah.
Most (if not all) was jettisoned, into a story about murder for insurance, centering around Anna May Wong and Alan Dinehart. Dinehart's character Thaddeus Merrydew, is based on a single line of writing in the four novels and fifty six short stories that were written by Conan Doyle. In "The Adventure of the Empty House", when reading a list of people with "M" in their name (he is searching for the biography of Colonel Sebastian Moran), he finds a reference to "Merrydew of abominable memory." That's it! No "Thaddeus Merrydew", just "Merrydew". Somebody concocting the script remembered that one reference. I may add, this was also the last time in movies there was any villain named Merrydew against Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
As an early talkie film about Holmes, it is worth seeing - but it is not among the best Holmes movies.
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