Sherlock Holmes: The Fatal Hour
I know this may sound rather far fetched, Doctor Watson (Ian Fleming). Yet for quite some time now I've had a hunch that one solidarity figure is behind most of the crimes in our city.
Yes. I'm not pulling your leg, old bean. I'd say a good example of this would have to be that bank robbery reported to me earlier in the day by Inspector Lestrade (Philip Hewland). You know. That one where the perpetrators got away with a printing press whilst one of the security guard's perished in the act.
And as for another of these crimes, well, do you remember telling me about Kathleen Adair's (Jane Welsh) older brother, Watson? What's his name again? Yes. That's the chap. That unscrupulous card-shark called Ronald (Leslie Perrins). Well, somehow, somewhere, and sometime, I have a sneaking suspicion he will meet the mastermind behind this bank robbery, and when he does, he will also get himself into a lot of trouble.
Still. That's most probably why what next transpires all gets rather deductive when a shrouded figure enters the room and says to me, 'Hello, Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Wontner). My name is Professor Moriarty (Norman McKinnel). Pleased to meet you'. As Mrs. Hudson (Minnie Rayner) has something to say - it's never easy keeping crime at bay - a card-shark takes a disastrous shuffle - and at the end of the day, a bad man looses out in the eventful kafuffle.
If you're the type of Sherlock Holmes fan who has no qualms about watching a great mystery that appears rather dated upon the screen, then look no further, my friends, because 'The Sleeping Cardinal' is defiantly a film for you.
In fact, one of my most favorite scenes was the one where she was cleaning up after Sherlock and Watson, and starts moaning to them both as to why they don't tidy up after themselves. I also loved that sequence where she argued with her next door neighbour's daughter, plus how she was utilized at the very end of this piece. And the reason why I say this, my friends, is because I felt her inclusion added a very 'Down to Earth' quality to these proceedings. Almost rooting the entire story-line into some sort of 'real' or 'natural' pretext.
Now please don't get me wrong. Mrs Hudson isn't at the very heart of this movie. If anything, what's at the heart of this movie is Sherlock's introduction to Moriarty, as well as illustrating -- once again -- how he and Watson are a brilliant-brilliant double act. A double act, I might add, that is one part logical, one part warm, and one part incrementally challenged.
A good illustration of this can be found nearing the end of this film, when Sherlock starts blathering on about one thing or another, seemingly making himself comes across like a blithering old fool. But of course, Sherlock being Sherlock, nothing he does throughout the duration of this movie is done in a foolish capacity. And this is highlighted at the very end of it, when he eventually explains to Watson why he acted in the way he did before.
As a matter of fact I thought this particular nuance was very commendable on Arthur's portrayal of Holmes, because it does make sense within the confines of this tale, whilst making me wonder why he isn't mentioned more often when a Sherlock Holmes project is stated in the press.
Overall I'd say 'The Sleeping Cardinal' was one hell of a great murder mystery for any of you Sherlock Holmes fans out there. The style seemed very authentic for its time, and in a round about way it does tell of Sherlock's first meeting with Moriarty. What's more, the characterizations were spot on, and as push comes to shove, I say, old chap, this is one splendid slice of Sherlockian cinema.
THE RATING: A-