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The Speckled Band (1931)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 7 August 1931 (Ireland)
After her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, a young heiress seeks Holmes' help when she feels threatened by her brutish stepfather.


Jack Raymond


Arthur Conan Doyle (story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band") (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), W.P. Lipscomb (adaptation)




Cast overview:
Lyn Harding ... Dr. Grimesby Rylott
Raymond Massey ... Sherlock Holmes
Angela Baddeley ... Helen Stonor
Nancy Price ... Mrs. Staunton
Athole Stewart Athole Stewart ... Dr. John Watson


Violet Stoner dies under mysterious circumstances in her bedroom at the gloomy mansion of her brutish stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Rylott. Because Violet had become engaged to be married, she stood to inherit a substantial annual allowance from her parents' estate but never survived to collect it. Her last words were "The Speckled Band!" Now, her sister Helen has become engaged, and the mercenary doctor views the event as money out of his pocket as she stands to get a yearly stipend too. When he orders her to start sleeping in her sister's bedroom, and she finds the bed bolted to the floor, she fears that a fate similar to Violet's will befall her. She turns to the residents of 221B Baker Street for help. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

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The Most Sensational British Picture Made! (Print Ad- Vancouver Sun, ((Vancouver, BC)) 25 July 1931) See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


An interesting set up for this Sherlock Holmes tale. He works out from an office: he is in the inner office and his two secretaries in the outer office. This is equipped with "modern-for-that-time" equipment that supposedly has all the information available on all criminals. It seems that this is stored on cards - one can see a card sorter working and (perhaps) printing out to paper. One secretary, typing very rapidly, listens to a non-electrical recording on a cylinder through earphones a little like a stethoscope - the other secretary is upset as Sherlock Holmes knows even more about the criminal world and keeps modifying the system. Later he uses an unseen communications system to call a secretary from his (inner) office. See more »


The deadly 'swamp viper' used by Dr. Rylott to murder his stepdaughter is obviously a non-venomous python. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: From your clothes I would deduce - you're going to a wedding.
Dr. John Watson: [laughs heartily] At last I've got you. For once in your life you're wromg.
Sherlock Holmes: Wrong?
Dr. John Watson: I'm not going to a wedding! I'm coming from one!
Dr. John Watson: [Watson again enjoys a hearty laugh]
Sherlock Holmes: [sardonically] Give them my congratulations or perhaps condolences.
Dr. John Watson: Rubbish! We all come to it, my dear fellow.
Dr. John Watson: [he laughs again] We all come to it. Goodbye.
Sherlock Holmes: [alone, ironically and sadly, after Watson has left] Not all, my dear Watson... not all.
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User Reviews

The Best Watson on the Big Screen
9 May 2009 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

Originally released in 7 reels at 66 minutes, the film survives only in a somewhat worn 5-reel cutdown that originally ran around 48 minutes, but now clocks in at just over 42. Credit and end titles have been added from another source. Here we now have virtually a straight version of the 1910 stage play by Arthur Conan Doyle. Originally, there were some modern 1931 asides in this movie, but, aside from an incongruous scene in the master detective's Baker Street office, these have now disappeared (which could well be an advantage). We are left with the compelling story of the speckled band itself, which Doyle himself regarded as the best Holmes adventure he ever wrote. If nothing else, the movie has atmosphere (though it's a shame the gypsies have been all but eliminated in this cutdown), thanks to its wonderfully cavernous, gloomy sets and Freddie Young's noirish lighting. The stage play's Lyn Harding gives a typically over-the-top performance as the villain, while Raymond Massey plays Holmes virtually straight with few of the characteristic mannerisms (except his passion for disguise), and Athole Stewart is every inch the sensible, cultivated, resourceful, helpful Watson that Doyle created, rather than the slapstick fall-guy epitomized by Nigel Bruce.

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Release Date:

7 August 1931 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

A Tira Salpicada See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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