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Sherlock Holmes Collection, Vol. 1 [4 Discs] [DVD]

Release Date:10/28/2003
The Sherlock Holmes Collection: Volume One from MPI contains four classic mysteries from the '40s. This four-disc set contains Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, Sherlock Holmes in Washington, and Sherlock Holmes Faces Death. The U.C.L.A. Film and Television Archive has digitally restored the original black-and-white 35 mm prints. Each film is presented with a standard full-frame transfer and Dolby Digital Stereo sound in English. British author David Stuart Davies provides an audio commentary track. Other special features include a photo gallery and original movie posters. This is an excellent gift set for those who fancy Sherlock Holmes to be played by Basil Rathbone.
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    Special Features

    • Commentary from renowned British author David Stuart Davies
    • Photo Gallery
    • Original movie posters


    Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
    From the first frame of its opening credits, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror promises (and subsequently delivers) mystery and thrills several layers deep -- following a short prologue intended to introduce Holmes to contemporary England (circa 1942), there is a series of terror broadcasts from Germany, announcing destruction throughout the British isles, and a montage of explosions and other disasters causing havoc. Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) are called in by Sir Evan Barham (Reginald Denny) of British intelligence's Inner Council to investigate the Voice of Terror and the accompanying sabotage. The other members of the council are disdainful of Holmes' presence, and express heightening doubts as his investigation seems to take him up several blind alleys. The case starts to break when a dying informant gives Holmes a tip that takes him and Watson to London's seedy Limehouse district, where they get a hostile reception until Kitty (Evelyn Ankers), the widow of the murdered informant, makes a patriotic speech reminding her friends that regardless of their class or their feelings about British society, this is a war for the survival of England. With Kitty leading them, the men and women of Limehouse form an invisible army and go out in search of the saboteurs. Holmes determines that the Voice of Terror is recorded on phonograph records in England and flown to Germany for broadcast; with Kitty's help, he traces the saboteurs to a deserted dockside location where he and Watson, along with intelligence chief Mr. Lloyd (Henry Daniell), are nearly killed by Meade (Thomas Gomez), the leader of the saboteurs. Holmes and company are rescued at the last moment by Kitty's army, but Meade escapes. He crosses paths with Kitty, who pretends to be a thief on the run and joins him. Working her way into his trust, she finds evidence that Meade plans to kill Sir Evan Barham; Holmes arrives just minutes behind Meade and heads off an attempt by a German plane to land on Barham's remote estate. All of these incidents of sabotage and attempted assassination are serious enough, but Holmes suspects they're part of a larger, more sinister plot that could lead to the destruction of England. The film ends with a chase to the South Coast and a bombed-out church, where Meade and his men are preparing to take over the country. Holmes captures Meade and unmasks the man behind him, and reveals just how far ahead of the Germans he has been, turning their certain victory into defeat, but he loses a good friend and ally in the process. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

    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 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

    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

    Cast & Crew

    • Basil Rathbone
      Basil Rathbone - Sherlock Holmes
    • Nigel Bruce
      Nigel Bruce - Dr. John H. Watson
    • Evelyn Ankers
      Evelyn Ankers - Kitty
    • Reginald Denny
      Reginald Denny - Sir Evan Barham
    • Thomas Gomez
      Thomas Gomez - R.F. Meade

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.