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Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection [5 Discs] [Blu-ray]

  • SKU: 2088159
  • Release Date: 03/29/2011
  • Rating: NR
  • 5.0 (1)
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$104.99
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
5.0
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1 out of 1)

Synopsis

The Woman in Green
Based on Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Empty House, this "Sherlock Holmes" entry finds Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) trying to solve the case of the "Finger Murders". Several beautiful women have been found slain, all with their right forefingers severed from their hands. The police are prepared to write off the killings as the work of a madman, but Holmes deduces that there's a sane motive behind it all. Sure enough, the trail of evidence leads to Holmes' perennial nemesis Professor Moriarity (Henry Daniell), who is in league with lissome female criminal Lydia (Hillary Brooke). Though it isn't sporting to reveal Moriarity's nefarious scheme here, it can be noted that The Woman in Green comes to a nailbiting conclusion as a hypnotized Holmes wanders precariously along the ledge of a penthouse! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Terror by Night
The penultimate entry in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series, Terror by Night takes place almost exclusively on a speeding train, en route from London to Edinburgh. Holmes (Basil Rathbone) is on board to protect a valuable diamond from the clutches of master criminal Colonel Sebastian Moran. The trouble is, Moran is a master of disguise, and could be just about any one of the other passengers. Murder and mayhem plague the train excursion before Holmes can successfully complete his mention. Poor old Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) is a bit denser than usual here, though his ingenuousness is cleverly woven into the script. Alan Mowbray, who played Inspector Lestrade in the 1932 Clive Brook adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, is seen in a pivotal supporting role. One of three Holmes entries currently in the public domain, Terror by Night is also available in a computer-colorized version (but stick with the original black-and-white). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The House of Fear
This excellent Sherlock Holmes adventure is based on Conan Doyle's The Five Orange Pips. Most of the action takes place in a remote Scottish mansion, home of "The Good Companions," a group of elderly eccentrics. After taking out insurance policies on one another, the club members begin dropping like flies, each death preceded by a mailed envelope containing an orange pip. Enter Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce), who hope to not only solve the killings but also find out why the corpses mysteriously disappear after each death. For once, the usually ineffectual Watson takes an active part in the deductive process, uncovering the vital evidence that helps Holmes emerge triumphant once more. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Pearl of Death
This above-average entry in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series is loosely based on the Conan Doyle story The Six Napoleons. On this occasion, Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Watson (Nigel Bruce) are assigned to guard the priceless Borgia Pearl, a "cursed" gem that has inspired scores of murders over the years. Their principal antagonist is master criminal Giles Conover (Miles Mander), who, though he is constantly thwarted in his efforts to pilfer the pearl, manages to discredit Holmes in the eyes of the public. Conover's chief assistant is the beautiful Naomi Drake (Evelyn Ankers), who adopts several clever disguises in the course of the action. Complicating matters is a series of seemingly unrelated murders, in which the victims are found with their backs broken, lying amidst piles of shattered China. Holmes deduces the connection between the murders and the Borgia Pearl, and in so doing nearly becomes the latest victim of The Creeper (Rondo Hatton), a horribly disfigured homicidal maniac. In addition to providing Basil Rathbone and Evelyn Keyes endless opportunities for bravura disguise scenes, The Pearl of Death launched the short starring career of the tragic Rondo Hatton, a real-life victim of the disfiguring disease known as acromegaly. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Scarlet Claw
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. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman
Someone in London has driven several prominent men to madness and suicide. Normally, Scotland Yard would call in Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) to help solve the case, but Holmes has recently perished in an accident. Or has he? Officially declared dead, Holmes is able to move about undetected as he tries to find out who's behind the rash of suicides -- and why. The culprit turns out to be the bewitching, deadly Andrea Spedding (Gale Sondergaard), and for once, Holmes seems to have met his match. The now-famous climax finds a bound-and-gagged Holmes hidden behind a shooting-gallery target, while his faithful assistant, Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce), unwittingly prepares to blast away at the target with live ammunition (in wartime, yet). Filled to overflowing with amusing dialogue and devilishly clever plot twists (one of them involving an autistic pygmy!), Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman is among the best of the Universal Holmes series. Best bit: told to "act inconspicuous," Inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey) ceremoniously rolls his eyes upward and begins whistling loudly -- whereupon Dr. Watson chides him with "Inconspicuous, Lestrade, not half-witted." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Dressed to Kill
Based on the prolific Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries, Sherlock Holmes is on the job again. This time the inmate of a British prison has incorporated stolen Bank of England engraving plates into a series of music boxes he has made and multiple criminals are out to find them. Holmes must be first. It's a weak, thin plot for the final of the Holmes/Watson series but it is still a joy to see Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce working off one another. ~ Tana Hobart, Rovi

Pursuit to Algiers
Taking place almost exclusively on a transatlantic ocean liner, this easygoing Sherlock Holmes entry finds Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Watson (Nigel Bruce) escorting Far Eastern regent Nikolas (Leslie Vincent) on a diplomatic mission. A group of assassins have targeted Nikolas for extermination, and they're not averse to knocking off Holmes and Watson to achieve their goals. In the end, it seems as though the villains have gained the upper hand -- but that's before the cagey Holmes reveals the film's biggest surprise (which, for a change, really is a surprise). Throughout Pursuit to Algiers, it's fun to watch bad guys Martin Kosleck and Rex Evans making like a road-company version of Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. The film's only disappointment is Watson's recital of the case of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, which we never get to hear in its entirety! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
The second of Universal's "modernized" Sherlock Holmes films pits the Great Detective (Basil Rathbone, of course) against that "Napoleon of Crime," Professor Moriarty (Lionel Atwill). Surpassing his previous skullduggery, Moriarty has now aligned himself with the Nazis and has dedicated himself to stealing a top-secret bomb sight developed by expatriate European scientist Dr. Franz Tobel (William Post Jr.). Before being kidnapped by Moriarty's minions, Tobel was enterprising enough to disassemble his invention and distribute its components among several other patriotic scientists. Racing against the clock, Holmes and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) try to stem the murders of Tobel's colleagues and prevent Moriarty from getting his mitts on the precious secret weapon. The now-famous climax finds Holmes playing for time by allowing Moriarty to drain all the blood from his body, drop by drop ("The needle to the last, eh Holmes?" gloats the villain). Dennis Hoey makes his first appearance as the dull-witted, conclusion-jumping Inspector Lestrade. Constructed more like a serial than a feature film, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (based loosely on Conan Doyle's The Dancing Men) is one of the fastest-moving entries in the series; it is also one of the most readily accessible, having lapsed into public domain in 1969. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
There are those who consider Sherlock Holmes Faces Death to be the best of Universal's Holmes series, though others hold out for 1944's The Scarlet Claw. Based loosely on Conan Doyle's The Musgrave Ritual, the plot finds Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Watson (Nigel Bruce) being summoned to the Musgrave estate when several mysterious murders occur. By the time the mystery is solved, Sally Musgrave (Hillary Brooke), young mistress of the estate, has decided to donate her property to "the people" as part of the war effort, cuing another of Holmes' patriotic curtain speeches. The best moment occurs when Holmes suddenly realizes that the floor of Musgrave castle resembles a huge chess board -- a clue vital to the ultimate solution of the case. Peter Lawford shows up unbilled as an inebriated sailor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce make their second screen appearances as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Ostensibly based on the stage play by William Gillette, the film owes nothing to the play beyond the characters of Holmes, Watson, Billy the page boy and Professor Moriarty. Played with relish (and a bit of pickle) by George Zucco, Moriarty plots to steal the Crown Jewels, and also to confound Holmes by obliging the Great Detective to be in two places at once. Ida Lupino costars as an imperiled young woman who is seemingly plagued by an ancient family curse--a plot development that has been carefully stage-managed by the malevolent Moriarty. Basil Rathbone is excellent not only as Holmes but also in the guise of a cockney music-hall entertainer (if indeed that is Rathbone performing a buck-and-wing in longshot). The second of Twentieth Century-Fox's Holmes films (Hound of the Baskervilles was the first), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was the last in which Rathbone and Bruce were seen in a 19th century setting. In the subsquent Sherlock Holmes series at Universal, the exploits of Holmes and Watson were updated to the World War II years. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sherlock Holmes in Washington
One of the silliest and most unbelievable of the Universal Sherlock Holmes series, Sherlock Holmes in Washington is also undeniably one of the most enjoyable. The story gets under way when an Allied spy (an unbilled Gerald Hamer, one of this series' "regulars") smuggles a valuable piece of microfilm into the U.S. The film is hidden in a matchbook cover that passes through several hands, ultimately ending up in the possession of Washington, D.C., socialite Nancy Partridge (Marjorie Lord). Brought to Washington from London to help locate the missing film, Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) do their best to rescue Nancy from the clutches of the Axis villains -- nearly losing their own lives in the process. And when the case is finally solved, Holmes reveals that there's still another twist to the proceedings -- a few minutes before he delivers his obligatory patriotic quote from Winston Churchill. One of the delights of Sherlock Holmes in Washington is the casting of George Zucco and Henry Daniell as the bad guys; both actors also played Holmes' archenemy Moriarty in other series entries. It's also fun to see poor old Watson tangle with American slang and a wad of bubble gum, and to watch as Holmes and Watson driven past a series of famous D.C. monuments -- covering several miles in a matter of seconds! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Hound of the Baskervilles
Though it takes a few liberties with the Arthur Conan Doyle original -- not the least of which is turning Sherlock Holmes into the second lead -- The Hound of the Baskervilles ranks as one of the best screen versions of this oft-told tale. After learning the history of the Baskerville curse from the hirsute Dr. Mortimer (Lionel Atwill), Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) takes upon himself the responsibility of protecting sole heir Henry Baskerville (top-billed Richard Greene) from suffering the same fate as his ancestors: a horrible death at the fangs of the huge hound of Grimpen Moor. Unable to head to Baskerville mansion immediately, Holmes sends his colleague Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) to act as his surrogate. What Watson doesn't know is that Holmes, donning several clever disguises, is closely monitoring the activities of everyone in and around the estate. Meanwhile, young Henry falls in love with Beryl Stapleton (Wendy Barrie), sister of the effusively friendly John Stapleton (Morton Lowry). Holmes and Watson compare notes, a red herring character (John Carradine) is eliminated, Henry Baskerville is nearly torn to shreds by a huge hound, and the man behind the plot to kill Henry and claim the Baskerville riches for himself is revealed at the very last moment. The Hound of the Baskervilles "improves" upon the original with such embellishments as turning the villain's wife into his sister, and by interpolating a spooky séance sequence involving mystic Beryl Mercer. In other respects, it is doggedly (sorry!) faithful to Doyle, even allowing Holmes to bait the censor by asking Dr. Watson for "the needle" at fadeout time. A big hit in a year of big hits, The Hound of the Baskervilles firmly established Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as moviedom's definitive Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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