The master detective Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and his faithful cohort Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) are back, preserved and digitally restored in 35mm to original condition by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Thi... more »s newly restored version of the classic film includes the period war bond tag and studio logo and credits from its original theatrical release. Filled with ominous shadows and interesting camera angles, the visual beauty of the film in 35mm is stunning. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson journey to Canada to attend a meeting of the Royal Canadian Occult Society in Quebec. Before long, they find themselves investigating a series of gruesome murders that the locals attribute to the legendary phantom marsh monster of La Morte Rouge. But Holmes suspects a master of disguise is the real killer, who might be anyone in the village. He contrives a clever trap and courageously sets himself up to be the killer's next victim.« less
"Here I am, Holmes... I've fallen in another hole!"
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 02/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On the surface, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SCARLET CLAW is just another entry in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series. One could make an argument that it's a Holmes-by-numbers production. Indeed, I can't think of any major story element that wasn't done in some earlier or later picture. There's the ghostly apparition, the grisly murder, the mysterious marshland, the secretive villagers, the disguises, etc. Yet, all the standard elements are done exceedingly well here. Everything is firing on all cylinders. It may not be the most original of adventures, but it is one of the most enjoyable.
THE SCARLET CLAW is an above-average atmospheric movie in a series that thrived on providing a grim, tense feeling. Director Roy William Neill was more than used to delivering a stark thriller, but he's really going all out here. There's nothing extremely out of the ordinary, which is perhaps why the movie is such a success. With no propaganda to ram through, no experimentation, and no surprises, the cast and crew can simply concentrate on what they do best -- making a damn entertaining movie.
The direction is superb. The acting is up to it's usual high standard. By this point, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce could play these characters in their sleep, so their performances are precisely what you would and should expect. Bruce's Dr. Watson is again relegated to comic relief, but it's a role he plays very well. The supporting cast is made up of the usual entertaining character actors.
The script contains enough of the standard Sherlock Holmes elements for it to feel familiar, even considering that it is not a straight adaptation of story actually written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although I've not seen all of the Holmes Universal movies (I have watched most of them), this is the one I think of as the standard by which all others are measured. It did a lot of the things we expect these movies to do and it did they very well. If you're only interested in viewing one in this series, then a very strong case could be made for making this the one."
The BEST of the "Universals"
Walter B. Conger | California central coast | 06/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's the very best of the Rathbone-Bruce Universal pictures. No, it's not set in the proper Sherlockian period (none of the Universal films were), but it seems "timeless," with no contemporary (1940s) references. It's dark, spooky fun...featuring a really well done MYSTERY. Some of the best banter between Rathbone and Bruce is in this film. And the bad guy ranks up there with the best of the non-Moriarty movie Holmes villains. THIS is the Rathbone movie from the Universal series that I return to again and again. The DVD quality is superb. No extras, but it's a treat to have a terrific copy of this little gem."
Superb DVD, Which Does Justice To This Atmospheric Gem!
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 05/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Scarlet Claw" (aka: "Sherlock Holmes And The Scarlet Claw") was made in 1944, and represents the 8th Sherlock film in the fourteen-movie series starring the ever-pleasing duo of Basil Rathbone as Mr. Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. John H. Watson. This is most certainly one of the better films in the Rathbone/Bruce franchise of Sherlock flicks -- a successful and entertaining franchise that began with the outstanding 1939 version of "The Hound Of The Baskervilles", and ended with "Dressed To Kill" in 1946."The Scarlet Claw" was one of three Sherlock Holmes' entries produced in the calendar year of 1944. Basil Rathbone was one busy Sherlock during this mid-'40s time period, cranking out yet another three Holmes' motion pictures the following year of 1945 as well."Claw" exudes a feeling of tension and dread right from the very first scene. The viewer is reeled into the mysterious happenings immediately, as we wonder "Who -- or What -- is ringing that church bell at this hour of the night?". A very effective, and eerie, opening to the picture. Our favorite pipe-smoking detective from London's 221B Baker Street is soon called into this baffling case, which features murder victims being found with their throats torn open -- presumably caused by the elusive "Monster of La Morte Rouge".The film conveys a realistic sense of the foggy, damp atmosphere that permeates the marshes surrounding the small village where these gruesome murders are taking place. This "atmosphere" is particularly powerful during the climactic scene at the end of the film. This DVD version of "Claw" comes via MPI Home Video, and displays nicely-restored video quality, thanks to the praise-worthy preservation efforts undertaken by the "UCLA Film and Television Archive". This black-and-white Holmes' classic has most certainly never looked better on any home video format.The DVD's soundtrack is pleasing enough, although not completely free from all background "crackle". It's a Dolby Digital 2-Channel Mono track used here, with no alternate-language track employed. This stand-alone, single-disc edition of "The Scarlet Claw" contains nothing but the film itself. No supplemental bonus features are present whatsoever. There's a simple static Main Menu, with just one lonely Sub-Menu (for the 11 Chapter Selections).
Additional information concerning this DVD ...........................>> Video Aspect Ratio -- Full Frame (1.33:1), which is the original theatrical ratio.>> Audio -- DD 2.0 Mono (English only).>> Subtitles -- English.>> Running Time -- 74 minutes. (Which is actually one of the longest of the 14 Sherlock Holmes' films in this Rathbone-starring series. Generally, Basil's Holmes was required to wrap up the mystery and get his man in just a tad more than 60 minutes.)>> Insert Included? -- Yes. A one-sheet enclosure with Chapter List.------------------------In this reviewer's opinion, the immensely-likeable and ingeniously-cast tandem of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce shall forever represent the quintessential "Sherlock Holmes" and "Doctor Watson". "The Scarlet Claw" is a shining example of the twosome's appeal and talent. And these traits have never looked more visually alluring than on this beautifully-restored DVD from MPI Home Video."
The best of Sherlock Holmes
B. W. Fairbanks | Lakewood, OH United States | 01/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best film in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series is also the best Holmes mystery ever put on the screen. I first saw "The Scarlet Claw" in July 1967 when a local TV station aired it at the last minute in honor of Basil Rathbone who had passed away earlier that day. It was the first time I had seen Rathbone in something other than a latter day American International horror film, but sentiment aside, this film is a classic, a macabre thriller perfect in every department.When we first see Holmes and Watson, they are attending an occult convention in Canada where the great detective is the lone dissenter, expressing skepticism and challenging the theory that a supernatural creature is behind a series of grisly murders in a nearby village. The great detective is soon on the case, and the setting is a perfect one for Holmes to ply his trade.Everything about "The Scarlet Claw" works. The director, Roy William Neill, reaches a peak here, providing moments that will make your skin crawl and cloaking the mystery in a rich atmosphere as memorable as the story. The cast is simply perfect. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce have never been better, and they receive fine support from Paul Cavanaugh, Kay Harding, and especially Gerald Hamer, a series regular who almost steals the movie from its stars.It isn't based on a story by Arthur Conan Doyle, and unlike most entries in the series, doesn't claim to be, but "The Scarlet Claw" is the best Sherlock Holmes film made by Universal or any other studio."
One of the darkest entries in the Rathbone series
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 08/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For only the second time Rathbone's Holmes and Watson are taken out of the UK (the first was their visit to Washington), this time into the Canadian backwoods. Some strange apparition appearing in the village, La Morte Rouge (The Red death), kills Lady Penrose. Holmes travels to the village to look into the murder but is met with hostillity from the people. Soon, more murders take place, and the villagers place their blame on the monster of the village. What follows is one of the darker entries in the series with the worlds most famous consulting detective putting the pieces of the mystery together in an adventure that bares more than a passing resemblence to the earlier "Hound of the Baskervilles". Definately recommended"