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The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection
Actors: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Dennis Hoey, Arthur Margetson, Hillary Brooke
Directors: Alfred L. Werker, John Rawlins, Roy William Neill, Sidney Lanfield
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2006     16hr 14min

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection stars Basil Rathbone as the legendary Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as the venerable Dr. John H. Watson. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection is comprised of all 14 classic film...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Dennis Hoey, Arthur Margetson, Hillary Brooke
Directors: Alfred L. Werker, John Rawlins, Roy William Neill, Sidney Lanfield
Creators: Arthur Conan Doyle, Bertram Millhauser, Brenda Weisberg, Edmund L. Hartmann
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Classic TV, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2006
Original Release Date: 05/26/1944
Theatrical Release Date: 05/26/1944
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 16hr 14min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaDVD Credits: 5
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Kendra M. (KendraM) from NASHVILLE, TN
Reviewed on 1/13/2008...
This set is a wonderful edition to your library! All of these classic films are remastered and in almost pristine condition. They are packaged beautifully and include several miniaturized movie posters.

If you haven't seen these films before and grew up on the Jeremy Brett episodes, they still are interesting to watch. Unlike the Granada series, only two of these films are actually based on Doyle stories. The other films are WWII stories with the Greatest Detective breaking up Nazi spyrings and mobilizing the citizens of England during their greatest fight (well, greatest fight next to the current one going on against terrorists who are now a fifth column in the UK-- but that's another matter entirely-- maybe we need to see some new Holmes films breaking up terror cells. Oh, but I digress!) So, regardless of your feelings about the Rathbone films, he should be credited with raising Holmes' popularity during this era.

Watson is an interesting character, here. Never true to Doyle's depiction, Watson is a bumbling absent-minded sidekick rather than the formidable ally he should have been. Still, after a while, he may grow on you. It's hard to imagine this Watson the chronicler of all the Holmes stories, since he barely understands what is REALLY going on during the mystery and often would cause more danger (if Holmes wasn't as brilliant as he was and anticipated the errors Watson makes!).

Still, the stories are fun and, for the most part, fairly interesting. If you are already a Rathbone fan, then this edition will please you with its clarity. If you just need a fix of more Holmes, since you've seen everything newer, you can't go wrong, either.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

It's Elementary, this is a Must Purchase!
E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 04/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"MPI Home Video has made a terrific decision here, combining all of its previously released DVD boxed sets of this classic 14-film series into one affordable package. It is a must buy for any Sherlock Holmes fan, or anyone who enjoys classic mysteries, who does not already have all of these wonderful films.

When these were first released on DVD it was truly a cause for celebration, as it represented the completed painstaking restoration of all 14 classic films by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

The UCLA Theatre Archives did an award-winning job in restoring and thus preserving these great films from 35mm master copies into the digital format, sometimes literally being forced to piece together the celluloid remnants that they found.

It took the archivists several years to complete the entire project, but was well worth the wait. The result is that the black and white images seem as fresh today as when the films were released to theatres more than 40 years ago. The archivists deserve a hearty thanks from all movie fans concerned with preserving America's classic cinema heritage for future generations to enjoy.

This boxed set includes a facinating feature on what it took to restore the films. Well worth watching, it's wonderful that it's included.

Atmospherically, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is arguably the best of the 14 Holmes films, and the only one based specifically on a Conan Doyle story. It, and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," are the only two "period" films in the series and run longer, the remainder taking place in then modern-day England and America of the late 30s and early 40s and run about 90 minutes each.

Because the "regular" series was made during World War II, there are many references to it, as well as some facinating patriotic drum beating on the part of Holmes that concludes many of the films.

In both "Hound" and "Adventures," Holmes dons his deerstalker cap, popularized by original Strand Magazine illustrator Sidney Paget who made the image synonymous with the great detective. It is interesting to note that in the first of the non-period films in the series, Holmes reaches for his handy deerstalker, but is stopped by Watson. "Holmes," Watson said, "you promised." Leaving the deerstalker on the peg, Holmes grabs a "modern" hat instead.

Rathbone is especially sharp in "Hound of the Baskervilles," and is partnered by Bruce, who plays a bumbling Watson throughout the 14 films that was not Conan Doyle's vision of the great sleuth's biographical "Boswell." Nonetheless, the pairing is hugely entertaining and satisfying.

The creation of the moor, the sinister grimpen mire and truly terrifying hound remains fantastic and does much to engender this story as one of Conan Doyle's most popular with modern-day
readers and viewers alike.

The final scene represents the only reference any of the 14 films made to Holmes' "seven-percent" cocaine habit as Rathbone asks Bruce to retrieve "the needle." The scene, criticized as too risque by 1939 audiences, caused the film's producers to make a conscious decision to omit any additional mention of Holmes' recreational drug use in future outings.

All of the films are really enjoyable and bear up wonderfully well under repeat viewings. For me, two of the best films of the "regular" series are The Scarlet Claw, where a village believes the supernatural is at work killing people, and Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, where Holmes must solve the riddle of the Musgrave Ritual.

Not matter your age, these films deliver hours of enjoyment, and thanks to the UCLA Theater Archives and MPI, will for generations to come. I only wish that Rathbone and Bruce had lived to see their great work released to new audiences in this pristine DVD condition."
14 Rathbone-Bruce flicks complete on 5 excellent 5-star DVDs
Rudolf Schmid | Kensington, CA | 07/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Philip St. John Basil Rathbone (13 June 1892, Johannesburg--21 July 1967, New York) and William Nigel Bruce (4 Sep. 1895, Ensenada--8 Oct 1953, Santa Monica) starred in 14 Sherlock-Holmes films as, respectively, Holmes and Watson. The first two films (1939) are period pieces whereas the last 12 (1942-46) are contemporary ("modern").

"The complete Sherlock Holmes collection" is a 6/06 reissue on 5 DVDs of a 14-DVD set (in 5 boxes) previously issued by MPI 10/03-4/04. The reissues by MPI, which involve restorations of the 1942-46 films, have been critically acclaimed. This review thus just compares the 2006 and 2003-04 sets of reissues (this review also supplements the previous two reviews by R. Smith, 7/18, and E. Hornaday, 4/10):

OVERVIEW: 2006 reissue = 14 films on 5 DVDs (see below for track listing) in 1 box 1 1/4" wide VERSUS 2003-04 reissue = 14 films on 14 DVDs in 5 boxes totaling 4 3/8" wide.

DVD CONTENT: Same in both reissues except the 2006 box set has for "Dressed to kill" an added (i.e., unfortunately, not on the earlier issues) commentary by actress Patricia Morison and Holmes scholars David Gregory and Richard Valley.

BOOKLET/INSERT AND TEXT CONTENT: The 2006 box set has 2 pages of text besides the front cover. The 2003-04 reissues have 5 booklets ("production notes") written by Richard Valley, 8 pages each for "Hound" and "Adventures," 16 pages each for volumes 1-3. Although there is some overlap material, these 64 pages have many pictures and have much information on the 14 films, including cast listings.


PROS: (1) much less expensive--$129.99 list ($119.99 Amazon in 7/06) versus $249.90 list ($224.95 Amazon in 7/06); (2) takes about 3" less shelf space; (3) more convenient to shuffle only 5 DVDs than 14; (4) added commentary for "Dressed to kill."

CONS: (1) no booklet insert and thus almost no information on the films included--a major deficiency; (2) appearance rather stark, with only 1 picture of Rathbone on the box (a pic of Bruce should also have been included); (3) flimsy cardboard case with 5 slim clear plastic DVD holders that fold out clumsily with the aid of a cloth puller and that are awkwardly hinged with only cellophane tape (and thus becoming easily unhinged, that is, DVD trays 1-4 separating from tray 5).

TRACK LISTING (dates from IMDb, times by reviewer):

DVD #1:
Introduction by restorer Robert Gitt (2003)--TT0:4:38
(film 1) The hound of the Baskervilles (Mar. 1939)--TT1:19:38 (13 scenes), with commentary by David Stuart Davies
(film 2) The adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sep. 1939)--TT1:21:37 (13 scenes), with commentary by Richard Valley
(film 3) Sherlock Holmes and the voice of terror (Sep. 1942)--TT1:05:17 + 12-second war-bond trailer (11 scenes)

DVD #2:
(film 4) Sherlock Holmes and the secret weapon (Jan. 1943)--TT1:08:23 + 12-second war-bond trailer (12 scenes)
(film 5) Sherlock Holmes in Washington (Apr. 1943)--TT1:11:20 + 12-second war-bond trailer (13 scenes)
(film 6) Sherlock Holmes faces death (Sep. 1943)--TT1:07:54 + 12-second war-bond trailer (12 scenes), with commentary by David Stuart Davies

DVD #3:
(film 7) Sherlock Holmes and the spider woman (Jan. 1944)--TT1:02:00 + 12-second war-bond trailer (12 scenes)
(film 8) The scarlet claw (May 1944)--TT1:13:48, but no war-bond trailer (11 scenes), with commentary by David Stuart Davies
(film 9) The pearl of death (Aug. 1944)--TT1:08:29 + 12-second war-bond trailer (12 scenes)

Note: From "The scarlet claw" onward "Sherlock Holmes" was dropped from the titles to appeal to a wider audience.

DVD #4:
(film 10) The house of fear (Mar. 1945)--TT1:09:06, but no war-bond trailer (14 scenes)
(film 11) The woman in green (June 1945)--TT1:07:32 + 12-second war-bond trailer (12 scenes), with commentary by David Stuart Davies
(film 12) Pursuit to Algiers (Oct. 1945)--TT1:05:05 (12 scenes)

DVD #5:
(film 13) Terror by night (Feb. 1946)--TT0:59:40 (13 scenes)
(film 14) Dressed to kill (May 1946)--TT1:11:50 (13 scenes), with commentary by actress Patricia Morison and Holmes scholars David Gregory and Richard Valley
Additional bonus material:
(a) Photo galleries 1-5 (each TT0:2:35 with same musical background): gallery 1 = of Hound; gallery 2 = of Adventures; galleries 3-5 = of films 3-6, 7-10, 11-14, respectively
(b) Theatrical trailers (6, not restored--for films 7-10, 13, 14--TT0:7:05)
(c) Footage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--TT0:1:15. Note: This is from a summer 1927 Movietone film of Conan Doyle (1859-1930) and is much abbreviated. The film is TT0:11:45 on the 2001 DVD of "Terror by night" by Focus Films.

FINAL COMMENT: The 2006 box set crams 3 films on one DVD (e.g., DVD #1 with 232 min.). Some compression may be involved, but film quality seems equal to the 2003-04 issues with only one film per DVD."
Fun films, but TERRIBLE package...
C. Williamson | USA | 09/06/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I always thought these DVDs were greatly overpriced, no matter what the format, but when I found the set for $79.99 at a warehouse retailer, I finally succumbed. Even at that price, these are STILL overpriced. The box is rubbish, the plastic cases secured by one thin piece of tape that disengaged as soon as I opened the box. No booklet of chapters, nothing except a self-congratulatory essay about the restoration. And HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES does indeed freeze up at about 1:08 on one machine, and freezes but then keeps playing on another. Unforgivable. Extremely shabby treatment of classic films. One star is pretty rough, but I'm sick to death of nickel-plated packages being priced like gold. When Warner puts out box after box of brilliantly reissued and well packaged classic films at less than half the cost of this on-the-cheap package, it's time to complain, and loudly. Note: I'm not criticising the films; I'm criticising the packaging and the price."