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Rod La Rocque,
Thomas E. Jackson
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>
The reason "A Study in Scarlet" used only the title of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes story and not Conan Doyle's actual plot is that the Conan Doyle estate quoted the producers a price for the rights to the title and a considerably higher price to use the original story. So the producers paid the lower price and hired "B" director Robert Florey to write a new story, though he and dialogue/continuity writer Reginald Owen peppered their script with allusions to other Holmes stories by Conan Doyle. See more »
Holmes and Watson's address is given as 221-A Baker Street, rather than the more familiar 221-B. See more »
A Study In Scarlet finds character actor Reginald Owen, much better known as Scrooge in MGM's A Christmas Carol, taking a turn as Sherlock Holmes. Owen had previously played Dr. Watson in another film so he became the only actor in cinema history to be both Holmes and Watson on the big screen.
Holmes is hired by Doris Lloyd as Mrs. Murphy whose husband at the beginning of the film met with a mysterious death in a locked train cabin. He was a member of a mysterious fraternal order of some kind whose members assets are split among the other members upon their demise. Alan Dinehart is attorney for this group and he's as slick a shyster as you would ever want to find. In fact Watson played by Warburton Gamble here says that Mrs. Murphy is in need of a probate lawyer more than a detective.
Watson is wrong because she does need the services of Sherlock Holmes. In fact the beautiful June Clyde whose place she's in because of her late father also needs his service and even more as it turns out as a few more members start dropping.
A Study In Scarlet is inferior Holmes, not because of Reginald Owen, but because of a really bad script that left several questions unanswered. Why is Clyde part of the group when her father's assets should have gone to the others? Why are all the killings starting at this particular point? And for the fact that there is criminal activity at work, this really is a contest of wills and belongs in probate court.
Still Owen is a fine Watson and Alan Mowbray is an interesting Inspector Lestrade. But Baker Street purists will not be happy.
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