A young woman turns to Sherlock Holmes for protection when she's menaced by an escaped killer seeking missing treasure. However, when the woman is kidnapped, Holmes and Watson must penetrate the city's criminal underworld to find her.
In this early version the classic "Hound of the Baskervilles" mystery is faithfully adapted, although Watson's character is absent. Holmes' foe is called Stapleton and he menaces Holmes' client Lord Henry and his fiancée, Laura Lyons.
Criminals in Sir Conan Doyle's stories are rather simple people, not because they are simple but because the world that is imagining them is simple. Victorian and then Georgian England did not like complicated problems. This story is typical of that style. But the interest is in the details and the intricate way the details are revealed for us to be misled and to just accept to follow the lead. Doctor Watson is there to be the bait and the ploy, or even the decoy, so that we fall in the trap. And you fall. The police is dumb, I mean Scotland Yard of course, and Sherlock Holmes is a genius, who survives on cocaine, though they forget to tell you that. This short film, The Boscombe Valley Mystery introduces a favorite theme of Sherlock Holmes's. The colonial empire, and in that case Australia. Some people back from there are settling their accounts with blackmail, arguments, violence, vengeance, forced marriages and unofficial affairs, and all that to capture a fortune on one side with a lot of greed along with it and to hide some devious ways used to make that fortune on the other side. In other words they are playing black Jack at twenty-one hundred hours on the pontoon of life and death between here and there. And it takes Sherlock Holmes, some cigar ashes sorry cigarettes are still not quite in the fad and a footprint to find out who is the black sheep in the pack. Funny suspense and amusing little secrets, that are at least as difficult to get out of the retainer of them as it would be to undress a nude man. Sherlock Holmes has his own ways to tickle people when they have an itchy spot.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
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