Sherlock Holmes in The Scarlet Claw : The Film - The Print
Now I understand that you don't want me to investigate the savage murder of your dearly departed wife, Lord Penrose (Paul Cavanagh). Especially since you've already attributed her death to a glowing apparition spotted nearby. But please man, try to see sense. And use me for your source of inspiration.
I'm a man of science. I'm a man of cold hard logic. And I a man who recently received a letter from your spouse not so long after you heard about her passing. A letter asking for me to help her before... hmmm... it was too late.
Yes. I know it's too late by now, good sir. However, it isn't too late for me and Doctor Watson (Nigel Bruce) to look into this crime further. Because I'm sure we'll be able to smoke out this fiend one way or another.
So far I've managed to deduce that Lady Penrose was once an actor of Canadian decent. And that she had familial ties to a number of people living in your hometown of, 'La Mort Rouge'. Like the esteemed hotelier called Emile Journet (Arthur Hohl) for instance. As well as that reclusive Judge named Brisson (Miles Mander).
More than that, though, I'm nigh on positive that's why what next transpires will become even more mysterious, when I -- the one and only Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) -- spots a glowing apparition nearby. As a policeman lends a helping hand - the local townspeople are as flexible as a rubber band - a killer would never appear on the X-factor - and at the end of the day, please remember you can never trust an actor.
For a change I want to kick off my review by presenting you with my usual filmic facts. Yet, whilst you're going through them, dear reader, can you please pay some extra special attention to one fact in particular, relating to this story's own origins.
Now I hope you've done what I've asked for, folks. Because if you've read my facts properly -- which I'm sure you have -- you would have noticed that 'The Scarlet Claw' is basically 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' in disguise.
Honestly, dear reader. In my eyes this film has got all the timely charm most of the other Sherlock Holmes films have in spades. For instance, you have the simple premise that's one part intriguing and one part evolving. Then you have the cast of suspects you're never quite sure about until the final end reel. And finally you have the glue that holds this whole production together. Basil and Bruce. Two amazing actor's who stamp their ground and leave their mark on both the story-line and on the franchise.
Heck, one of my most favorite scenes in this film is the one where Doctor Watson gets drunk whilst Sherlock spots a glowing figure out in the woods. From my point of view this sequence just goes to show how different the two characters are in temperament and in heed. With Watson playing the venerable clown whilst Holmes proves himself to be the coldly logical master sleuth he really is.
But apart from that, though -- nah! -- 'The Scarlet Claw' is a really-really great film to sit down and watch. The production values were noir-like in tone, especially those scenes out in the blue wild yonder. Most of the actors were on their 'A game', and I did get a kick out of how the policeman helped with this adventure. And overall I couldn't give a toss what they call this film. It's still a superb slice of cinema I'd highly recommend to anyone who loves their mysteries mysterious, and their characters brave and bold.
THE RATING: A