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Sherlock Holmes - The Scarlet Claw

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Product Details

  • Actors: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Gerald Hamer, Paul Cavanagh, Arthur Hohl
  • Directors: Roy William Neill
  • Writers: Roy William Neill, Arthur Conan Doyle, Brenda Weisberg, Edmund L. Hartmann, Paul Gangelin
  • Producers: Roy William Neill, Howard Benedict
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Mpi Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000APVC7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,070 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sherlock Holmes - The Scarlet Claw" on IMDb

Special Features


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. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson journey to Canada to attend a meeting of the Royal Canadian Occult Society in Quebec. Before long, they find themselves investigating a series of gruesome murders that the locals attribute to the legendary phantom marsh monster of La Morte Rouge. But Holmes suspects a master of disguise is the real killer, who might be anyone in the village. He contrives a clever trap and courageously sets himself up to be the killer's next victim.


Here is another strong entry (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. The Scarlet Claw (1944) is an original screenplay with elements loosely inspired by Doyle's "The Adventure of the Dancing Men." A skeptical Holmes and Watson (Nigel Bruce) 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. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

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Basil Rathbone is perfect as the unfazed Sherlock Holmes.
Critic's Corner by Scotman
Together they get to the church and find the body of a beautiful young woman still clutching the bell rope, with her throat tore out.
Ben Milton
Some of the best banter between Rathbone and Bruce is in this film.
Wally Conger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on February 22, 2005
Format: DVD
On the surface, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SCARLET CLAW is just another entry in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series. One could make an argument that it's a Holmes-by-numbers production. Indeed, I can't think of any major story element that wasn't done in some earlier or later picture. There's the ghostly apparition, the grisly murder, the mysterious marshland, the secretive villagers, the disguises, etc. Yet, all the standard elements are done exceedingly well here. Everything is firing on all cylinders. It may not be the most original of adventures, but it is one of the most enjoyable.

THE SCARLET CLAW is an above-average atmospheric movie in a series that thrived on providing a grim, tense feeling. Director Roy William Neill was more than used to delivering a stark thriller, but he's really going all out here. There's nothing extremely out of the ordinary, which is perhaps why the movie is such a success. With no propaganda to ram through, no experimentation, and no surprises, the cast and crew can simply concentrate on what they do best -- making a damn entertaining movie.

The direction is superb. The acting is up to it's usual high standard. By this point, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce could play these characters in their sleep, so their performances are precisely what you would and should expect. Bruce's Dr. Watson is again relegated to comic relief, but it's a role he plays very well. The supporting cast is made up of the usual entertaining character actors.

The script contains enough of the standard Sherlock Holmes elements for it to feel familiar, even considering that it is not a straight adaptation of story actually written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Von Pein on May 14, 2004
Format: DVD
"The Scarlet Claw" (aka: "Sherlock Holmes And The Scarlet Claw") was made in 1944, and represents the 8th Sherlock film in the fourteen-movie series starring the ever-pleasing duo of Basil Rathbone as Mr. Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. John H. Watson. This is most certainly one of the better films in the Rathbone/Bruce franchise of Sherlock flicks -- a successful and entertaining franchise that began with the outstanding 1939 version of "The Hound Of The Baskervilles", and ended with "Dressed To Kill" in 1946.
"The Scarlet Claw" was one of three Sherlock Holmes' entries produced in the calendar year of 1944. Basil Rathbone was one busy Sherlock during this mid-'40s time period, cranking out yet another three Holmes' motion pictures the following year of 1945 as well.
"Claw" exudes a feeling of tension and dread right from the very first scene. The viewer is reeled into the mysterious happenings immediately, as we wonder "Who -- or What -- is ringing that church bell at this hour of the night?". A very effective, and eerie, opening to the picture.
Our favorite pipe-smoking detective from London's 221B Baker Street is soon called into this baffling case, which features murder victims being found with their throats torn open -- presumably caused by the elusive "Monster of La Morte Rouge".
The film conveys a realistic sense of the foggy, damp atmosphere that permeates the marshes surrounding the small village where these gruesome murders are taking place. This "atmosphere" is particularly powerful during the climactic scene at the end of the film.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Wally Conger on June 22, 2004
Format: DVD
Here's the very best of the Rathbone-Bruce Universal pictures. No, it's not set in the proper Sherlockian period (none of the Universal films were), but it seems "timeless," with no contemporary (1940s) references. It's dark, spooky fun...featuring a really well done MYSTERY. Some of the best banter between Rathbone and Bruce is in this film. And the bad guy ranks up there with the best of the non-Moriarty movie Holmes villains. THIS is the Rathbone movie from the Universal series that I return to again and again. The DVD quality is superb. No extras, but it's a treat to have a terrific copy of this little gem.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brian W. Fairbanks VINE VOICE on January 5, 2004
Format: DVD
The best film in Universal's Sherlock Holmes series is also the best Holmes mystery ever put on the screen. I first saw "The Scarlet Claw" in July 1967 when a local TV station aired it at the last minute in honor of Basil Rathbone who had passed away earlier that day. It was the first time I had seen Rathbone in something other than a latter day American International horror film, but sentiment aside, this film is a classic, a macabre thriller perfect in every department.
When we first see Holmes and Watson, they are attending an occult convention in Canada where the great detective is the lone dissenter, expressing skepticism and challenging the theory that a supernatural creature is behind a series of grisly murders in a nearby village. The great detective is soon on the case, and the setting is a perfect one for Holmes to ply his trade.
Everything about "The Scarlet Claw" works. The director, Roy William Neill, reaches a peak here, providing moments that will make your skin crawl and cloaking the mystery in a rich atmosphere as memorable as the story. The cast is simply perfect. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce have never been better, and they receive fine support from Paul Cavanaugh, Kay Harding, and especially Gerald Hamer, a series regular who almost steals the movie from its stars.
It isn't based on a story by Arthur Conan Doyle, and unlike most entries in the series, doesn't claim to be, but "The Scarlet Claw" is the best Sherlock Holmes film made by Universal or any other studio.
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