67 user 29 critic

The Scarlet Claw (1944)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 26 May 1944 (USA)
When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster. But Sherlock Holmes, who gets drawn into the case from nearby Quebec, suspects a human murderer.


Roy William Neill


Edmund L. Hartmann (screenplay), Roy William Neill (screenplay) | 3 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Basil Rathbone ... Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce ... Dr. Watson
Gerald Hamer ... Potts, Tanner, Ramson
Paul Cavanagh ... Lord Penrose
Arthur Hohl ... Emile Journet
Miles Mander ... Judge Brisson
Kay Harding Kay Harding ... Marie Journet
David Clyde ... Sgt. Thompson
Ian Wolfe ... Drake
Victoria Horne ... Nora


While attending a conference in Quebec City, Sherlock Holmes and his good friend, Dr. Watson, are drawn into a murder investigation in the nearby village of La Mort Rouge. Holmes had received a letter from Lady Penrose asking for his assistance as she feared for her life. It was too late, however, as she had already been killed by the time he received it. Her throat was torn out and the local villagers are spreading rumors about monsters and evil spirits as being the cause. Holmes doesn't believe any of that and sets out to find the killer. He believes that Lady Penrose's past as an actress may have something to with her death. As others in the village are attacked, Holmes believes the killer is among them, impersonating a local villager as he goes about his business. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Holmes vs. Monster! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Penrose Manor is near the village of La Mort Rouge, whose name means "The Red Death" in French, the language of Quebec. See more »


Holmes signs the hotel register on February 10, no year given. In mid-February, there would likely be frost (if not snow) on the ground in that part of Canada, and the bog Watson falls into would no doubt be frozen. The vapor of the characters' breath would also be visible. See more »


[first lines]
Potts, Tanner, Ramson: Who could be ringing the church bell at this time? Maybe it ain't a who Father, maybe it's an it. And maybe it's tolling the bell.
Father Pierre: Aw, there's no such things as ghosts and monsters. Haven't I made that clear to you?
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References The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) See more »

User Reviews

Another excellent Holmes yarn
3 June 2005 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Breathing a similar style to the earlier The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Scarlet Claw sees the great Sherlock Holmes in the middle of another supernatural themed adventure. While this yarn isn't quite up to the standards of The Hound of the Baskervilles, it still represents another success in turning the detective novels into films. This time round, we follow a remote village that is at the mercy of a mysterious ghost who appears to be killing them off. Not being a believer in ghosts, our logical protagonist, Sherlock Holmes, decides to take the case on and travels to the remote village to find, as usual, that there's more going on than meets the eye. Once again, this story is riddled with inventive twists and a plot that is constantly full of suspense and, as usual, it makes for great viewing. While the plot doesn't have any depth or substance, it doesn't matter at all because this film is made for pure entertainment value, and on that front it certainly delivers!

Once again, Basil Rathbone takes the lead role as the super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes and, as usual, does excellently with it. He does so well at playing this character that you when you think Sherlock Holmes, it's Rathbone's image that instantly pops into your mind. While this may have hindered the rest of his career a little, it's definitely a good thing while you're watching a Sherlock Holmes movie. Also reprising his role from previous Holmes movies is Nigel Bruce in the role of Dr Watson. He too makes great use of the role, and again it's hard to imagine anyone else playing Dr Watson. The supernatural elements of the story are nice, and seeing the numerous atmosphere scenes is always a treat. The black and white cinematography helps to create a foreboding atmosphere, which compliments the story nicely. The ensemble of characters surrounding the mystery are well done and the film throws in a number of red herrings in order to keep the conclusion from the audience until it is finally time to give it away. All in all; great stuff!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

26 May 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Scarlet Claw See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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