Nellie St. Clair becomes distraught over the disappearance of Neville, her respectable, middle-class husband last seen in the second story window of a seedy waterfront dive and seeks out Holmes and Watson for help. When Holmes and the police arrive, they find a filthy beggar, not St. Clair, in the building which also serves as an opium den. The missing man's clothes are found in the room along with his son's broken toy and a bloody fingerprint on the window sill. Holmes initially suspects foul play especially after St. Clair's coat, weighted down with with copper coins, is found on a nearby riverbank. However, after the Great Detective interviews the beggar in his cell, he is able to solve the case and reunite Mrs. St. Clair with her husband. Written by
Far better than the much more famous John Barrymore silent Sherlock Holmes film.
I liked this silent Sherlock Holmes film for many reasons and feel is it significantly better than the much more famous (but pretty terrible) silent Holmes film starring John Barrymore (which was not the least bit accurate in its portrayal of the fictional detective). The most important reason I liked the film is that it's actually based on a Conan Doyle story and it sticks pretty close to it. While the Basil Rathbone films were popular, for example, the plots bore almost no similarity to the original stories. Second, the characters were amazingly normal and underplayed in the film. You DON'T see Holmes acting like an action hero or wearing the Deerstalker hat (something he DIDN'T wear in the stories except when traveling--which was pretty seldom). Third, it was an interesting Conan Doyle story to begin with and made for a very different film. Overall, it's quite entertaining--especially, if like me, you enjoy silent films and long for a silent about Holmes that doesn't totally suck--like the Barrymore version!
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