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The Scarlet Claw (1944)

 -  Crime | Mystery | Thriller  -  26 May 1944 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,981 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 13 critic

When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster, but Sherlock Holmes, who gets drawn into the case from nearby Quebec, suspects a human murderer.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Gerald Hamer ...
Potts / Tanner / Ramson
Paul Cavanagh ...
Lord Penrose
Arthur Hohl ...
Emile Journet
...
Judge Brisson
Kay Harding ...
Marie Journet
David Clyde ...
Police Sergeant Thompson
...
Drake
Victoria Horne ...
Nora
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Storyline

While attending a conference in Quebec City, Sherlock Holmes and his good friend Dr. Watson are drawn into a murder investigation in the nearby village of La Mort Rouge. Holmes had received a letter from Lady Penrose asking for his assistance as she feared for her life. It was too late however as she had already been killed by the time he received it. Her throat was torn out and the local villagers are spreading rumors about monsters and evil spirits as being the cause. Holmes doesn't believe any of that and sets out to find the killer. He believes that Lady Penrose's past as an actress may have something to with her death. As others in the village are attacked, Holmes believes the killer is among them, impersonating a local villager as he goes about his business. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"THERE'S BLOOD ON THE MOON TONIGHT!" (re-release print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 May 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Scarlet Claw  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Listed in Journet's inn-register is Tom McKnight of New York. McKnight was an adviser on Universal's Holmes series. See more »

Goofs

When Holmes and Watson rush to Judge Brisson's house when they learn of his murder, they enter the foyer leaving the front door wide open. Holmes goes to close the door in the next slide and the door is barely cracked open. See more »

Quotes

Sherlock Holmes: Consider the tragic irony: we've accepted a commission from a victim to find her murderer. For the first time we've been retained by a corpse.
See more »

Connections

Follows The Spider Woman (1944) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Perhaps the Best of Universal's Sherlock Holmes Films
3 February 2008 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Universal's Sherlock Holmes series brought the characters into the 20th Century. Many of the were related to World War II, stories in which Holmes went in pursuit of spies and counterspies; others tried to mimic the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories with a presentation of mental puzzles. Although generally well executed, seldom did any of the titles rise above the level of "B Pictures"--but on the rare occasions that they did, they did so with a vengeance, and THE SCARLET CLAW is such a case. Directed at a fast clip by Roy William Neill, memorably photographed by George Robinson, and sporting an expert cast in a particularly clever script, this is easily among the best of the series.

The story hearkens back to such titles as THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. Lord Penrose (Paul Cavanaugh) is convinced that his small, Canadian town is beset by an evil spirit--and is indeed giving a lecture on psychic phenomena when his wife is found murdered, presumably by a apparition that haunted the town many years before. Convinced that it is the work of an otherwordly being, he does not welcome the arrival of Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone), who is convinced that there is nothing ghostly about the matter in the least.

The Universal films counted a great deal on the chemistry between Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and sidekick Dr. Watson, and indeed that chemistry is on full display in this particular title. But the overall cast is remarkably fine, not only the aforementioned Cavanaugh but most particularly Gerald Hammer, who frequently appeared in these films and here offers a uniquely memorable turn as the fearful postmaster. And, unlike most other films in the series, the solution to the crime is indeed a shocker.

The restoration is very handsome and the DVD comes with two nice bonuses, a short documentary on the challenges faced by those who restored the series (THE SCARLET CLAW receives particular mention) and an erudite audio commentary by film historian David Stuart Davies. If you've seen one or two films in the series and been unimpressed--give this one a try to see what Rathbone and company could do when when they had all the right makings. Recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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