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Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror

Overview

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce star in the 1942 mystery Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, released on DVD from MPI. The U.C.L.A. Film and Television Archive has digitally restored the original black-and-white 35 mm print. Presented with a standard full-frame transfer and Dolby Digital Stereo sound in English. There are no subtitles or special features, but it is the first DVD release of this classic film.
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DVD (Black & White)
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Overview

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce star in the 1942 mystery Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, released on DVD from MPI. The U.C.L.A. Film and Television Archive has digitally restored the original black-and-white 35 mm print. Presented with a standard full-frame transfer and Dolby Digital Stereo sound in English. There are no subtitles or special features, but it is the first DVD release of this classic film.
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Special Features

Audio commentary; Photo gallery; Posters; Interactive menus; Scene access
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
"The cut-throats of the world menace us all -- you can help stop this savagery," Holmes tells the heroine of Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror early in the film, thus setting a tone of seriousness and immediacy that was hard to ignore in early 1942. The first and most serious of Universal's Sherlock Holmes movies, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror was also the boldest in purpose, intended to re-introduce into the present day (i.e., 1942) Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in the roles of Holmes and Watson, which they had portrayed previously in a pair of superb period thrillers at 20th Century Fox. Strangely enough, virtually all of the Holmes films made up to that time, except for the two Fox films starring Rathbone and Bruce, had placed the detective in the present day, but Universal evidently felt that wartime London would be a stretch for audiences. The studio could not have had a better script with which to do the job, for Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror placed the Victorian-spawned detective right in the middle of the Second World War; in their first exterior shot of the film (albeit one done entirely in the studio), Holmes and Watson move about a London braced for German attack and ringed by barriers and patrols. It was a high-risk strategy that worked, principally because of the chemistry of the two lead actors, a script that had a lot of depth as well as enough action for two movies, and a superb supporting cast. Ostensibly based on the Conan Doyle story "His Last Bow, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror only quoted from the latter book in its final scene, transposing its meaning to World War II. Otherwise, screenwriters Robert Hardy Andrews, John Bright, and Lynn Riggs came up with a surprisingly sophisticated script, in which even well-intentioned allies were depicted as obstructionist at times, the principal villain Meade (Thomas Gomez) sported a complex streak of megalomania, and the heroine (Evelyn Ankers) was willing to compromise herself and her virtue, and sacrifice herself to see justice done. One must resist the tendency to laugh at part of the denouement -- the suggestion that German intelligence planted an agent in England in 1918, in advance preparation for World War II -- and the script may have one too many moments that sound like speeches, but it all works in the context of the time; beyond the note-perfect performances, the photography by Woody Bredell was suffused in deep shadows and an ominous look, broken only at the end in the beautifully wrought setting of a bombed-out church at sunrise. There would be better, more sophisticated, and more subtly drawn films to follow in the series that were truer to the Conan Doyle stories, but this was about as strong a start as the makers of the new cycle of films could ask for.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/28/2003
  • UPC: 030306755090
  • Original Release: 1942
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mpi Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:06:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 64,370

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce Dr. John H. Watson
Evelyn Ankers Kitty
Reginald Denny Sir Evan Barham
Thomas Gomez R.F. Meade
Montagu Love Jerome Lawford
Henry Daniell Sir Alfred Lloyd
Olaf Hytten Fabian Prentiss
Leyland Hodgson Capt. Ronald Shore
Edgar Barrier Voice Only
Lon Chaney Jr. Gavin
Harry Cording Ex-Convict
Robert O. Davis Nazi
Leslie Denison Air Raid Warden
Arthur Blake Crosbie
Hillary Brooke Jill Grandis
Mary Gordon Mrs. Hudson
Harry Stubbs Taxi driver
Technical Credits
John Rawlins Director
Robert Hardy Andrews Screenwriter
Howard Benedict Associate Producer
Elwood Bredell Cinematographer
John Bright Screenwriter
Bernard B. Brown Sound/Sound Designer
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Martin Obzina Art Director
Jack Otterson Art Director
Charles Previn Musical Direction/Supervision
Lynn Riggs Screenwriter
Edward Ray Robinson Set Decoration/Design
Russell Schoengarth Editor
Frank Skinner Score Composer
Vera West Costumes/Costume Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening [1:21]
2. The Voice of Terror [9:51]
3. The Greatest Case [7:08]
4. "England Is at Stake" [7:16]
5. Coming Together [5:49]
6. Eluding Sherlock [6:37]
7. A Sly Kitty [3:02]
8. Sir Evan the Guilty [6:49]
9. "The Fox Is out of His Hole" [8:30]
10. Trial by Holmes [8:23]
11. End Credits [:42]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selection
   Subtitles: On
   Subtitles: Off
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