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Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
Actors: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Dennis Hoey, Arthur Margetson, Hillary Brooke
Genres: Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     1hr 8min

SHERLOCK HOLMES FACES DEATH — Digitally Restored in 35mm The master detective Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and his faithful cohort Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) are back, preserved and digitally restored in 35mm to origina...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Dennis Hoey, Arthur Margetson, Hillary Brooke
Genres: Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Classic TV, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 10/28/2003
Original Release Date: 09/17/1943
Theatrical Release Date: 09/17/1943
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 8min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Great Expectations
Arty Abrams | Summerton, SC United States | 07/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am writing this pre-review to express my Great Expectations and excitement over the upcoming DVD release of the 14 Sherlock Holmes movies made by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
For those of us who have loved and worn out our VHS versions of these films, I am sure that I speak for many of us in expressing incredible anticipation and near shock that someone has finally recognized the need to release a "restored version" of these timeless classics.
We are told that they have been "Preserved and restored in 35mm by the UCLA Film and Television Archive." This is marvelous and I have already pre-ordered Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 from MPI Home Video.
I so hope that the entire 14 movies, are ultimately released in restored condition. Especially the rarest of them, "The Scarlet Claw" which has rarely been shown on televison and only been available on VHS sporadically.
To me and many others I know, Basil Rathbone is the definative Holmes. Not just because he looks alarmingly similar -as much as is humanly possible- to Sidney Pagets drawings of Holmes from the Strand Magazine illustrations, but mostly we love Rathbone because he portrayed the same Holmes that we as readers get through the buffer of Dr. Watson explaining away not magnifying Holmes' shortcomings.
Jeremy Brett chose to amplify every negative aspect of Holmes' personality that in the written versions Watson explained away. Rathbone's Holmes has been demeaned visciously over the past years and hopefully the respect and dignity that he gave his portrayals will be seen in all their accuracy and glory with these new digitally restored releases. ... these will have to be the best quality versions of these classics ever for all of us who have cursed the incomprehensibly awful releases of these films over the years...our time has almost come. Show your support for this effort by ordering a restored version of American Film Histroy.
Much Thanks to UCLA, MPI, and Whoever was ultimately responsible for the idea of doing this!!!!"
Ghosts Don't Stab People in the Neck, Do They?
laddie5 | 11/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This was the first of the Universal Sherlock Holmes movies that returned the detective to traditional mystery plots, after three wartime anti-Nazi adventures. It's also one of the best... and in fact it was voted the 2nd-best Holmes movie of all time in one poll (after Rathbone's "Adventures" or "Hound," I forget which). The entertaining opening has Nigel Bruce's Dr. Watson, who has a bit more on the ball than usual, bringing Holmes into the case-which itself is a clever improvement on Conan Doyle's rather dull short story "The Musgrave Ritual." The cast features almost all of the usual stock company featured in this series (Dennis Hoey, Gerald Hamer, Vernon Dowling, Frederic Worlock, Gavin Muir), playing assorted cretins, rotters, weaklings, and twitching neurotics. Various sets from "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" turn up as well, and the plot abounds with bloodthirsty ravens, bolts of lightning, mysterious passageways, and a clock that strikes thirteen on the nights that evil is afoot. Rathbone strikes a nice balance between his earlier, more wired Sherlock and his later jaded style, but the excellent UCLA restoration also reveals him as a bit older and more ravaged than I recall. Maybe there's something to be said for a "soft" transfer after all."
What's Next...Peace in the MidEast?
Arty Abrams | Summerton, SC United States | 11/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As I wrote an extensive build up of these movies, prior to their release. I am now pleased to say that about 98% of my anticipation was not misguided.
Overall, these are the clearest and sharpest versions I have seen in my lifetime.
In comparison to some of the non Key Video versions that were out on VHS these offerings from MPI are stunning.
My only letdown was, as others have mentioned, is that there could have easily been more additional material offered.
A short commentary was offered on the restoration of Orson Welles' "The Third Man" by Criterion and was fascinating.
Something similar to this would have been easy to produce and Holmes fans like myself who have put up with public domain trash copies for decades would have eaten up such a documentary.
I also have wondered for years if there are any out-takes from the films that still exist.
How fascinating that would have been, and would still be....hint....hint.
At the very least, Filmographies of Rathbone and Bruce, or trivia facts about the series or the actors, or the productions, or at least even the trailers should have been included.
Little things, such as pointing out the appearance of a young dark handsome Milburn Stone in "Faces Death" who later became "Doc" on Gunsmoke.
There are several instances where the Captioning is lazy. Such as in "Faces Death" when Holmes says "anno Domini" in a sentence and the caption writer just put "Domino."
Even with occasional lapses in the captioning, it was indeed nice to have them captioned.
Of all the films in this Volume, the one I found most curious was "Faces Death."
Even after reading the liner notes, I still wonder why some of the extreme deterioration marks on individual frames could not have been repaired by computer.
Much worse deterioration existed on the "Third Man" and it was restored flawlessly. And oddly, there are a few sections of the Key Video version of this Film that are clearer than this MPI restored version.....?....
Was this a real case of Wet vs. Dry printing or laziness on the part of those in the restoration process?
All that said, the other three films are near pristine, especially Holmes in "Washington". I think there will never be another version of these prints released that will surpass the quality of this offering.
Lastly, for the snobby Holmesian purest who nearly worship the Brett/Granada versions of the Holmes stories, I think this offering will go a long way in explaining to many why Rathbone is beyond doubt the nearest thing to Holmes incarnate that has or ever will exist.
The Granda versions are draining, dripping with overcharachterization and forced melodrama...did I mention contrived?
Brett often behaves like a neurotic narcissistic snot who sees and loves his own image off a distance in a mirror somewhere.
These films with Rathbone and Bruce are timelessly engaging, underplayed, entertaining, perfectly moody and just downright fun in every aspect. Rathbone and Bruce had a chemistry that so completely complimented each other.
Rathbone never catch him playing Sherlock Holmes...he just "is" Sherlock Holmes.
Now, if we can just get the first two Rathbone and Bruce films restored and captioned and in our libraries....well what's next...Peace in the MidEast?"
Not a Nazi in sight in splendid Holmes mystery
B. W. Fairbanks | Lakewood, OH United States | 03/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After three films in which Sherlock Holmes battled the Nazis, even Universal must have grown tired of their gimmicky attempt to "modernize" the Great Detective. With "Sherlock Holmes Faces Death," Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are back on more familiar turf and solve a mystery having absolutely no connection to World War II. For the first time in the series, a film doesn't merely credit a story by Arthur Conan Doyle, screenwriter Bertram Millhauser actually makes use of one, "The Musgrave Ritual," a traditional murder mystery involving an old family curse. The story gives director Roy William Neill plenty of opportunities to pour on the atmosphere that is the series' best attribute, aside from stars Rathbone and Bruce, of course.With this entry, the series greatly improved, and greater adventures were still to come for the famous detective from Baker Street.Brian W. Fairbanks"