Rent Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw (1944)

3.8 of 5 from 61 ratings
1h 25min
Rent Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw (aka The Scarlet Claw) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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The villagers of the tiny hamlet of La Morte Rouge (Canada) are terrified; a legendary glowing monster has reappeared, flitting through the nearby fog shrouded marshes, sheep have been found dead, their throats cut. The body of Lady Penrose (Gertrude Astor) is discovered in the village church, her hand clutching the bell-pull, her neck ripped open. Meanwhile Lord Penrose (Paul Cavanagh) is addressing a meeting of the Royal Canadian Occult Society and to our surprise Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Watson (Nigel Bruce) are in attendance, the meeting is called to a halt when Lord Penrose hears of his wife's death, Holmes offers his help which Lord Penrose declines.
But a letter delivered to Holmes and Watson written by Lady Penrose before her death, expressing a vague fear for her life and pleading with him to come to the village. Holmes and Watson instantly cancel their plans to return to London. "Consider the tragic irony: we've accepted a commission from a victim to find her murderer. For the first time we've been retained by a corpse".
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Roy William Neill
Edmund L. Hartmann, Roy William Neill, Paul Gangelin, Brenda Weisberg, Arthur Conan Doyle
The Scarlet Claw
Orbit Media
Classics, Drama, Thrillers
Action & Adventure, Top Film and TV Detectives: Guide to Screen Sleuth
Release Date:
Run Time:
85 minutes
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W

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Reviews (1) of Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw

New thrills! New terror! - Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw review by NP

Spoiler Alert

When you consider this was directed by Roy William Neill, who helmed Universal films 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman', it's perhaps not too surprising 'The Scarlet Claw' is rich in horror detail. All the Universal flourishes are there - and a lot of the cast will be familiar too. This for me remains one of the best Sherlock Holmes films, although some cheats are provided to make sure we don't guess who the killer is.

We have it all - American cockneys, mist-layered streets, a local tavern full of weathered faces and scowls, and Watson (Nigel Bruse) unable to keep his mouth shut. He is a buffoon, and it makes you wonder why a man of Sherlock Holmes's brilliance tolerates him, but for this viewer at least, he's a great character; we get to witness the master detective's eccentricities through him, his distance and aloofness. If Watson was not around, we'd be hard-pressed to find a character to relate to in these stories. A pain in the neck he may sometimes be, but a necessary one. And there's a genuine warmth between them - off-screen as well; the only argument they ever had was when Basil Rathbone (still the definitive sleuth) decided to give up the role.

I'm still not sure the revelation of the villain isn't a slight disappointment, mainly due to the lack of subtlety by the actor in question, but other than that this is top-notch stuff. Best enjoyed on an autumn evening with a cup of something warm. My score is 8 out of 10.

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