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The Scarlet Claw

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Overview

Though it is not based on any Conan Doyle story, The Scarlet Claw is regarded by Baker Street aficionados as the best of Universal's Sherlock Holmes series. Holmes Basil Rathbone and Watson Nigel Bruce journey to Canada to investigate a series of mysterious murders. All the victims have been found with their throats ripped out yecch! Halfway through the film, Holmes deduces that the culprit is a demented actor, wreaking vengeance on those who've wronged him in some way or other. The actor is a master of disguise,...
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Overview

Though it is not based on any Conan Doyle story, The Scarlet Claw is regarded by Baker Street aficionados as the best of Universal's Sherlock Holmes series. Holmes Basil Rathbone and Watson Nigel Bruce journey to Canada to investigate a series of mysterious murders. All the victims have been found with their throats ripped out yecch! Halfway through the film, Holmes deduces that the culprit is a demented actor, wreaking vengeance on those who've wronged him in some way or other. The actor is a master of disguise, and could be anyone in the village....from the constable to the postman to the reclusive, violence-prone innkeeper Arthur Hohl. Alas, the publicity photos sent out with The Scarlet Claw gave away the identity of the killer--something we have no intention of doing here.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although not based upon anything in the Arthur Conan Doyle canon, The Scarlet Claw is nonetheless one of the best episodes in the Sherlock Holmes series. Like most of the entries, this one has been set in contemporary times, which is always a bit unsettling. But, perhaps because it's set in a perpetually fog-enshrouded backwoods town in Canada, Claw feels as if it's set closer to Holmes' correct era. More importantly, Claw has a clever script that, while it fudges the tone of Doyle a little bit, features a plot that would have made Doyle proud. While Watson has by this point become a bit too dithering for purists (no fault of Nigel Bruce, who makes the dithering enjoyable), Holmes as written here is near his best and most faithful. Basil Rathbone is his usual expert self and brings a slightly keener edge to bear than in some of the other Holmes films, due no doubt to opportunities provided by Claw's sharper writing. Gerald Hamer strikes just the right notes throughout, and Paul Cavanaugh plays the "is he or isn't he" game to perfection. Roy William Neill turns in some of his best work in the series, and his always carefully framed and lit shots are especially atmospheric herein. As a matter of fact, aside from a bizarre and out-of-place homage to Canada at the very end of the film, there's precious little to complain about with Claw.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/25/2003
  • UPC: 030306755335
  • Original Release: 1944
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mpi Home Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce Dr. John H. Watson
Gerald Hamer Potts/Tanner/Ramson
Paul Cavanagh Lord William Penrose
Arthur Hohl Emile Journet
Miles Mander Judge Brisson
Kay Harding Marie Journet
David Clyde Sgt. Thompson
Victoria Horne Nora
Harry Allen Taylor, the Storekeeper
Gertrude Astor Woman
Olaf Hytten Hotel Desk Clerk
Frank O'Connor Cab Driver
Ian Wolfe Drake the Butler
George Kirby Father Pierre
Technical Credits
Roy William Neill Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Bernard B. Brown Sound/Sound Designer
Ralph M. DeLacey Art Director
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Paul Gangelin Original Story
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
John B. Goodman Art Director
Edmund L. Hartmann Screenwriter
Paul Landres Editor
George Robinson Cinematographer
Hans Salter Score Composer
Paul Sawtell Musical Direction/Supervision
Ira S. Webb Set Decoration/Design
Brenda Weisberg Original Story
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Best Of The Bunch

    I am old enough to have seen the theatrical releases of the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. I'm fond of them all, but even after all these years The Scarlet Claw remains my favorite. There are no spies, no femme fatales, and not even a hint of Professor Moriaty. What it does have is a genuinely creepy atmosphere and some real edge-of-your-seat suspense, and the final scene where the identity of the murderer is revealed is a dandy! Oddly, the movie is not based on one of Conan Doyle's books. Even so, I think Sir Arthur would approve of this classic. I believe you will too when you see it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    THE BEST OF RATHBONE & BRUCE

    I get sick of the pedants calling Bruce a baffoon and then simply dismissing all these movies of Rathbone and Bruce. If they watch this restored DVD of the Scarlet Claw they will likely change their tune and get a few more of these restored gems. This one is the best.

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