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The Sherlock Holmes Collection, Vol. 2 (The House of Fear/The Spider Woman/Pearl of Death/The Scarlet Claw)


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Deal of the Week: Up to 66% Off "Universal Pictures: 100th Anniversary Collection" on DVD and Blu-ray
Now, for a limited time only, own a piece of Hollywood history with the Universal 100th Anniversary Collection featuring a selection of 25 unforgettable films that helped shape the legacy of one of the most successful movie studios of all time. Learn more


Frequently Bought Together

The Sherlock Holmes Collection, Vol. 2 (The House of Fear/The Spider Woman/Pearl of Death/The Scarlet Claw) + The Sherlock Holmes Collection, Volume One + Sherlock Holmes Collection Volume 3 (Dressed to Kill/In Pursuit to Algiers/Terror By Night/The Woman in Green)
Price for all three: $123.60

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Product Details

  • Actors: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Gale Sondergaard, Dennis Hoey, Vernon Downing
  • Directors: Roy William Neill
  • Writers: Roy William Neill, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bertram Millhauser, Brenda Weisberg, Edmund L. Hartmann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Mpi Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 275 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000APVBY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,946 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Sherlock Holmes Collection, Vol. 2 (The House of Fear/The Spider Woman/Pearl of Death/The Scarlet Claw)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Introduction by Robert Gitt, preservation officer at the UCLA Film and Television Archive
  • Audio commentary by David Stuart Davies
  • Photo gallery/original movie posters

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The master detective Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and his faithful cohort Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) are back, preserved and digitally restored in 35mm to original condition by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. This newly restored version of the classic film includes the period war bond tag and studio logo and credits from its original theatrical release. Filled with ominous shadows and interesting camera angles, the visual beauty of the film in 35mm is stunning. Includes: Sherlock Holmes and The Scarlet Claw Sherlock Holmes and The Spider Woman Sherlock Holmes and The House of Fear Sherlock Holmes and the Pearl of Death

Amazon.com

Here are four strong entries (each beautifully restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive) from the peak of Basil Rathbone's prolific, seven-year run as a definitive Sherlock Holmes for the big screen. Three of these films were released in 1944 alone, beginning with the gripping Pearl of Death, a then-contemporary update (set in the World War II years, as with most of the Rathbone-Holmes features) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Six Napoleons."

A reluctant Holmes agrees to help a London museum recover a stolen, rare pearl. But the investigation takes a strange turn when the great detective and his sidekick, Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce), find their mystery linked to a series of odd murders involving the destruction of porcelain china. Typically, "Pearl of Death" has its share of inside jokes for true Sherlockians, including Holmes's declaration, "If I'm wrong, I'll move to Sussex and raise bees." Of course, that's exactly what Doyle's most famous character did upon retirement.

The Scarlet Claw is an original screenplay with elements loosely inspired by Doyle's "The Adventure of the Dancing Men." A skeptical Holmes and Watson attend a meeting of the Royal Canadian Occult Society in Canada, but are soon looking into a killing spree attributed to a fanciful marsh monster. Fantastic events are soon supplanted by an even stranger horror concerning a master actor bent on revenge.

The Spider Woman employs details of Holmes's apparent death and resurrection between "The Final Problem" and its follow-up, "The Adventure of the Empty House." But the movie takes a different direction when a bizarre series of late-night "pajama suicides" finds Holmes probing the involvement of a femme fatale. Of the quartet of features in this set (all produced and directed by the energetic Roy William Neill) Spider Woman has the most vivacity and familiar textures from Doyle's canon.

Finally, "The House of Fear," adapted from "The Five Orange Pips," is a chamber mystery concerning successive murders of the members of an elite club, the Good Comrades. On film, the tale seems a bit ludicrous, but its conclusion is among the most startling in the Rathbone films. There's also a fair amount of comedy between Watson and Inspector Lestrade's bumbling ways. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Through the London fog!
Hal Annapolis
The wait is over and I can say that all the movies have been restored to provide sharp crisp video and audio content.
"dscot62"
You must be a Sherlock Holmes/Basil Rathbone to really enjoy this series.
The Durango Kids

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Arty Abrams on September 17, 2003
Format: DVD
Lets be thankful that we are going to soon be treated to restored versions of these classics. I have purchased versions of the Scarlet Claw that were nearly inaudible and blurred. And it has been out of print for some time.
So I am writing this pre-review to express my Great Expectations and excitement over the upcoming DVD release of the 14 Sherlock Holmes movies made by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
For those of us who have loved and worn out our VHS versions of these films, I am sure that I speak for many of us in expressing incredible anticipation and near shock that someone has finally recognized the need to release a "restored version" of these timeless classics.
We are told that they have been "Preserved and restored in 35mm by the UCLA Film and Television Archive." This is marvelous and I have already pre-ordered Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 from MPI Home Video.
I so hope that the entire 14 movies, are ultimately released in restored condition. Especially the rarest of them, "The Scarlet Claw" which has rarely been shown on televison and only been available on VHS sporadically.
To me and many others I know, Basil Rathbone is the definative Holmes. Not just because he looks alarmingly similar -as much as is humanly possible- to Sidney Pagets drawings of Holmes from the Strand Magazine illustrations, but mostly we love Rathbone because he portrayed the same Holmes that we as readers get through the buffer of Dr. Watson explaining away not magnifying Holmes' shortcomings.
Jeremy Brett chose to amplify every negative aspect of Holmes' personality that in the written versions Watson explained away.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By MARK C. BALE on September 27, 2003
Format: DVD
I am also waiting with delight at the release of these classics. The bad news is the two 20th Century Fox films (the first films Rathbone/Bruce made as the duo) have not been restored - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES/ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES were not made by Universal and were not part of the restoration project at UCLA. This is why chronologically they are not being released first, as the visual condition of these two titles are not as good as the restored Universal dozen. I don't know if any cleaning/remastering has been done on the two Fox titles though.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2003
Format: DVD
After viewing the films in volume 2 of this collection, I have to say that they did a terrific job in restoring these classics. What makes this volume especially good is the fact that the best of the Rathbone/Bruce series are contained in it. The film The Scarlet Claw is presented the best I have seen it ever. The visuals and audio are extremely crisp and clear. Unfortunately, as in the first volume, the DVD extras could have been better (however, there is an interesting short on how the restoration process was done that I thought was good). That issue aside, I believe that most people will want this collection for the availability of these films for the first time in over 10 years.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hound Dog on October 20, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For all fans of classic mystery films, you should seriously consider investing in this particular set from the 14 original Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce during the 1930's and 1940's. Lovingly restored by UCLA and liberally adapted from the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, there isn't a weak link among the four selected films here.

In "The Spider Woman," Holmes is forced to fake his own demise in order to counter the title character's fiendish plot. Perhaps the best sequence of the film is the circus shooting gallery finale.

In "The Pearl of Death," Holmes and Watson face off with a ruthless serial killer who is intent on recovering a lost jewel by burglarizing the homes of seemingly random victims. Before it is too late, Holmes must realize that he is facing more than one opponent.

Another serial killer is on the loose in "The Scarlet Claw," as Holmes make a rare visit to Canada to attend a convention. In a remote village, a sinister master-of-disguise is at work bumping off a list of unsuspecting victims that he has long sought vengeance on. The mark of death is a gardening tool used as a gruesome claw. I'll note that this particular film is surprisingly violent for the Rathbone series, but it only adds a greater sense of realism to the plot.

Finally, the "House of Fear" may be well the best of the series from the World War II era, as nicely woven humor is added by the befuddled presence of Inspector Lestrade. An insurance company hires Holmes and Watson to look into the bizarre deaths of an exclusive club of recluses known as the "Good Comrades.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Gleeson on December 2, 2003
Format: DVD
The UCLA credit on each film reads "Preserved by" which is not quite the same as "Restored by" but the 4 films are as good as
Holmes fans have waited for. Each volume has one film with a commentary by David Stuart Davies. He gives a lot of detail and makes interesting observations but failed to review himself for accuracy. He refers to cameraman George Robinson as Bernard Robinson (a Hammer art director) and actress Kay Harding as having made just The Scarlet Claw, when she appeareded mostly as Jackie Lou Harding - and was also in The Woman In Green.
There are so many experts on the Rathbone series that MPI should have had a commentary for each film instead of the one catch-all for each set.
Nevertheless, you won't buy these for the extras but for the pleasure of seeing all 12 of Universal's Holmes films in such superb condition.
Volume 3 will be released in January and the two Rathbone Fox films in May 2004.
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