The Sherlock Holmes Collection, Vol. 2 [4 Discs] [DVD]

Four classic mystery stories featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are given a top-quality presentation on this special multi-disc set. The Sherlock Holmes Collection, Vol. 2 includes the films Sherlock Holmes: The House of Fear, Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl Of Death, Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw, and Sherlock Holmes: The Spider Woman. All four films have been transferred to disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo. The dialogue for each film is in English, and includes no multiple language options. Bonus material exclusive to this set includes a commentary track for Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw from author David Stuart Davies, a short documentary on the restoration of these films featuring Robert Gitt of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and a gallery of production still and vintage film posters.
$58.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • Introduction by Robert Gitt, Preservation Officer at the UCLA Film and Television Archive
  • Audio commentary with David Stuart Davies
  • Production notes by Richard Valley
  • Photo gallery/original movie posters

Synopsis

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

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

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

Cast & Crew

  • Basil Rathbone
    Basil Rathbone - Sherlock Holmes
  • Nigel Bruce
    Nigel Bruce - Dr. Watson
  • Evelyn Ankers
    Evelyn Ankers - Naomi Drake
  • Miles Mander
    Miles Mander - Giles Conover
  • Ian Wolfe
    Ian Wolfe - Hodder, antique shop owner
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