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The Scarlet Claw (1944)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 26 May 1944 (USA)
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:
...
...
...
Lord Penrose
Arthur Hohl ...
Emile Journet
...
Judge Brisson
Gerald Hamer ...
Potts
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

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THRILLS! HORROR!...as the mystery wizards tackle a trackless terror! (re-release print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

26 May 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Scarlet Claw  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The eighth of fourteen films based on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson. See more »

Goofs

The name of the village, La Mort Rouge, is misspelled (La Morte rouge) on the map which is visible in one scene. See more »

Quotes

Lord Penrose: [to Holmes] Several of our most responsible citizens have actually seen the strange apparition on the moors at night.
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Connections

Followed by Terror by Night (1946) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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So far my favourite out of the later Sherlock Holmes movies! udippel
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