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The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case (1932)

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.

Director:

Graham Cutts

Writers:

Arthur Conan Doyle (adapted from the story by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), W.P. Lipscomb (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Arthur Wontner ... Sherlock Holmes
Isla Bevan ... Mary Morstan
Ian Hunter ... Dr. Watson
Graham Soutten Graham Soutten ... Jonathan Small
Miles Malleson ... Thaddeus Sholto
Herbert Lomas Herbert Lomas ... Major Sholto
Gilbert Davis Gilbert Davis ... Atherly Jones
Margaret Yarde Margaret Yarde ... Mrs. Smith
Roy Emerton Roy Emerton ... The Tattooed Man
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 August 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Zeichen der 4 See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Roy Emerton. See more »

Goofs

In the original Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes's residence and consulting room were located at 221B Baker Street in London. However, an early establishing shot in the film shows Holmes's address to be 22A Baker Street. See more »

Quotes

Dr. John H. Watson: You're not frightened?
Mary Morstan: Terribly! But rather thrilled, too.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Sign of Four (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wontner is a Must-See Holmes!
11 May 2009 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

Regarded by many critics as the best cinematic Holmes, Arthur Wontner made his debut as the great detective in "The Sleeping Cardinal" (1931). Although prints are available, this one has not yet been released on DVD. Wontner's second impersonation, "The Missing Rembrandt" (1932) is indeed missing, so we are forced to pick up his career with "The Sign of Four" (1932, which is available on a DVD of reasonable quality from St Clair. "Four" used no less than three directors. Graham Cutts directed most of the film, including all the chilling material with Graham Soutten (surely one of the most frightening heavies ever presented in a movie), plus the lively scenes at the fun fair, while Rowland V. Lee handled the great action climax. Some of the dull dialogue scenes, such as all those with the Sholto brothers, were directed by Basil Dean. Compared to other screen characterizations, Wontner generally comes across as more cerebral and subdued. On the other hand, he reverses the process when he dons a disguise. Some of the other screen Sherlocks seem positively anxious not to call attention to themselves when in disguise, whereas Wontner stridently plays these scenes at full volume. In this one, his Dr Watson is none other than the ubiquitous Ian Hunter (that guy will take any role!) who is at least certainly presentable enough to date the lovely Isla Bevan. (A few half-witted contemporary critics, would you believe, criticized screenwriter W.P. Lipscomb for adding a romance to the story, not realizing that this aspect is a feature of Conan Doyle's original novel).


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