One of Barrymore's most prestigious early roles, this rarely seen film also presents screen debuts of William Powell and Roland Young. When a young prince is accused of a crime that could embroil him in international scandal, debonair super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes comes to his aid, and quickly discovers that behind the incident lurks a criminal mastermind eager to reduce Western civilization to anarchy.Written by
THESE EYES COULD READ THE INMOST THOUGHTS OF THE GUILTY! Cool, canny, baffling Sherlock Holmes was a figure to be reckoned with by the masters of lawlessness (Print Ad- Duluth Herald,((Duluth, Minn.)) 14 October 1922)
The restoration of this film began in 1970, when the George Eastman House discovered several cans of negative of the film, consisting of incomplete, out-of-order clips. Film historian Kevin Brownlow screened a print of these clips for the film's director, Albert Parker, and with the information Parker gave him began a decades-long process of reassembling the film from the bits and pieces that survived. See more »
My name is Sherlock Holmes. I-I am a student - a student of life. Its complexities fascinate me...
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Imagine. We've been perhaps watching Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes. We then have an opportunity to see the great John Barrymore in a silent film believed lost, Sherlock Holmes (originally titled Moriarity). We see William Powell's and Roland Howard's film debuts. We see old London.
And here we are, talking about title cards and lighting.
It's true -- this script was perhaps not one that lent itself to filming. Yes, there are too many title cards and letters. And, even with 26 minutes or so missing, it moves slowly. But what a thrill to see Barrymore, Powell so young he is barely recognizable, and those amazing locations.
The story concerns a Prince accused of stealing athletic funds. Holmes learns immediately the crook is Forman Wells (Powell); he explains to Holmes that he stole the money to get away from Moriarity (Gustav von Seyffertitz). After meeting Moriarity, Holmes realizes what a dangerous man he is.
The Prince has become the Crown Prince and in doing so cannot marry his betrothed, who commits suicide. Her sister is determined to bring revenge on him, so she retrieves her sister's love letters to him. Moriarity wants them for blackmail and has had her hired by one of his henchman.
Sherlock sends Wells in as the new butler for the henchman and sets to work retrieving the letters. To do that, he uses the same trick he used on Irene Adler in "Scandal in Bohemia."
Despite all its failings, it was still a privilege to see this film. which was restored by Kevin Brownlow and The George Eastman House, located where I live. It's worth at least watching the first half hour or so to see Barrymore, Young (as Watson), Gustav von Seyffertitz (Moriarity), Carol Dempster, and Hedda Hopper. And a movie 93 years old - you don't see that every day.
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