The Scarlet Claw

1944

Action / Crime / Film-Noir / Mystery / Thriller

5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 4029

Synopsis


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Cast

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
Ian Wolfe as Drake
Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
525.55 MB
968*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 14 min
P/S 0 / 3
1.11 GB
1440*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 14 min
P/S 0 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 7 / 10

A must for Sherlock Holmes devotees

Many people consider this to be the very best of the Universal Sherlock Holmes series, although personally I prefer others. However, there's no denying how particularly well-made and atmospheric it is, even if the studio's recreation of a Canadian village is a little far-fetched and just looks like a British location instead. This is a film where the actors and the director are at the peak of their game. By now, Rathbone and Bruce had settled comfortably into their roles and weren't displaying any of the boredom that turned up in the latter adventures. The regular supporting cast go through the paces with ease and the crisp black and white photography makes things interesting to watch.

Although propaganda does pop up in it, thankfully this isn't one of the films concerning Nazi plots or the like. Instead, it's a traditional murder mystery yarn which has plenty of horror elements in it. At first a supernatural villain is blamed for the murders, even a werewolf perhaps, so Universal were obviously cashing in on the craze for THE WOLF MAN at the time. The good old dry-ice machine is utilised for a number of creepy moments set on some spooky moorland, and the film reaches its high point when a strange, glowing figure (not unlike the one in AIP's DIE, MONSTER, DIE!) appears to frighten Holmes. This is a simple special effect, yet it works due to its unexpected nature.

Rathbone is fine as Holmes, athletic and quick-thinking to boot, and he brings an authority to the role here so that nobody ever questions his resources or methods. Bruce is also very good as Watson, helping the plot when necessary and also providing his exceptional comic relief when its needed (I loved the scenes where he falls into the bogs). There are all manner of eccentric characters in the village to be entertained by, from the chirpy postman to the paranoid, hermit-like judge who lives in a barred house with his gun at the ready. The locations are varied and the murders are sufficiently gruesome. There are various scenes of action, including a cool moment when a villain jumps through a window to escape and is shot falling into the river. In all, this makes THE SCARLET CLAW one of the most enjoyable of the series and a must for Holmes fans.

Reviewed by Nigel P 8 / 10

Spoilers follow ...

Opening with mist-shrouded streets and the sound of the church bell mournfully ringing through the night, we are introduced to the character of Potts (Gerald Hamer), who makes his way through a wonderfully atmospheric Inn, full of smoky wide-eyed locals and superstitious townsfolk. When Potts speaks, it is with that familiarly conflicting mixture of Received Pronunciation and cockney, Universal films' gleeful interpretation of how working class fellows enunciate.

This is directed by Roy William Neil, who oversaw 'Frankenstein meets the Wolfman' two years earlier. He was, and would remain, the man behind the Universal Sherlock Holmes series starring the unsurpassable Basil Rathbone as the shrewd investigator, and Nigel Bruce as Watson, whose occasional drifting into the befuddled realms of buffoonery has caused his interpretation to meet with mixed reactions. My views on Bruce are far more favourable – he does what he does exceedingly well, and is a vital identification figure for an audience to whom Holmes is too distant to relate to. If Watson was more the equal of Holmes, then we wouldn't see the softer more humorous side to the great detective that proved so pivotal to these films' success. The affection between the two leads is a definite highpoint.

There are a couple of minor oddities about this production. In one scene, Sherlock is putting on his coat, but only manages to get one arm into the sleeve, with the majority of the unfurling scene spent with the coat flapping behind him. Also, the ending features Holmes soliloquising; Watson interrupts to ask whom he is quoting. After replying 'Churchill,' Holmes clearly continues his speech, but his words are muted and he quickly fades away as the end credits roll in. Strange.

Of all the films in this series, this is saturated with the Universal horror treatment more than any other. Gruesome murders, rich performances, frightened butlers, and at the heart of it, a good old fashioned whodunit. When we find out who in fact has 'done it', the results are mixed – the actor in question isn't really strong enough to adequately convey the necessary evil relish that befits the nature of his actions. And also, a few cheats have been employed to ensure we would never guess the killer's identity. However, the whole exercise is carried out with such atmospheric expertise, by a cast and crew now adept at such murky horror trappings (as well as moments of reused music from their Frankenstein/Mummy series), that the results are impossible not to thoroughly enjoy.

Reviewed by Paul Evans 9 / 10

A must for crime fans

If it's crime, atmosphere and suspense that you want, look no further then the Scarlet Claw. For my money the best entry in the series of films starring the great Basil Rathbone. As a story I guess it resembles The Hound of The Baskervilles, in deed its even referenced. However the story is so clever, full of intrigue, and full of twists. The scenes on the marshlands look wonderfully creepy and eerie, and the accompanying music works very well. It is remarkable to realise that this is now over seventy years old, they knew how to sell a story then! Great performances as always in these films, our two lead actors are on top form, but it's Gerald Hamer, who'd appeared in a few of the films, who steals the show. The best bit for me has to be Nora's murdering the judge, its a very creepy scene. The accents are a little messy, apart from the odd 'monsieur' we could easily have been in Britain.

All in all this is a fantastic film, one I truly love watching. 9/10

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