During WWII several murders occur at a convalescent home where Dr. Watson has volunteered his services. He summons Holmes for help and the master detective proceeds to solve the crime from ... See full summary »
When a Nazi saboteur jeeringly predicts to the nation new depredations, via their radio 'Voice of Terror', the Intellegence Inner Council summons Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) to help in... See full summary »
Sherlock Holmes investigates when young women around London turn up murdered, each with a finger severed off. Scotland Yard suspects a madman, but Holmes believes the killings to be part of a diabolical plot.
When the fabled Star of Rhodesia diamond is stolen on a London to Edinburgh train and the son of its owner is murdered, Sherlock Holmes must discover which of his suspicious fellow passengers is responsible.
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
Perhaps the Best of Universal's Sherlock Holmes Films
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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