Sherlock Holmes (1932)

Article #1057 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-5-2004
Posting Date: 7-4-2004
Directed by William K. Howard
Featuring Clive Brook, Miriam Jordan, Ernest Torrence

Sherlock Holmes must track down his old enemy Moriarty to prevent him from taking revenge on those who sent him to prison and beginning a new crime wave.

This Sherlock Holmes movie takes several risks with the character; it takes place in modern times, Holmes is given a girlfriend, and at one point he dresses up as a little old lady in one of his disguises. Fortunately, the movie itself is so witty that the only problem I have is with the girlfriend. I even forgive a longish sequence which gets away from the main story and concentrates on a tavern owner who finds himself the target of a protection racket, largely because the stoic stiff-upper-lip attitude of the character results in one of the funniest scenes in the movie. Ernest Torrence is a great Moriarty; he is definitely one of the best I’ve seen in the role. Clive Brook plays Holmes, and Reginal Owens plays Dr. Watson; Owens would go on to play Holmes himself in the next year’s A STUDY IN SCARLET. Overall, this is a fun if occasionally bizarre take on the story, what with the subplot of Moriarty trying to adopt the methods of the American gangsters in his plots. However, the fantastic elements are fairly nonexistent, so it really only belongs marginally to the covered genres here.


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