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The Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet

41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Reginald Owen. Sherlock Holmes investigates a band of jewel thieves after a daring caper, but before he can nab the crooks they begin killing each other off to swipe the booty. Co-written by Owen. 1953/b&w/71 min/NR.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Reginald Owen, Anna May Wong, June Clyde, Alan Dinehart, John Warburton
  • Directors: Edwin L. Marin
  • Writers: Reginald Owen, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Florey
  • Producers: Burt Kelly, Samuel Bischoff, William Saal
  • 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: Alpha Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008G8CZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,470 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rudolf Schmid VINE VOICE on February 21, 2004
Format: DVD
This 1933 B&W film, which clocks at 72 minutes, not the 77 stated on the box, is enjoyable as an early example of a Sherlock Holmes movie. However, the video and sound quality are rather iffy. The print is fuzzy and of low contrast, whereas the sound track has a loud continuous background noise that sometimes makes the characters hard to understand.
The movie features Reginald Owen as Holmes, who had starred as Watson in a 1932 film, and who would star as Scrooge in the 1938 film A Christmas Carol. Owen does a decent speaking job as Holmes but visually jars as he is by far the chubbiest Holmes on screen. Warburton Gamble plays a undistinguished, at times whining (due to the cold) Watson. The film is also of interest because of its 1933-vintage costumes and settings. There are two obvious goofs: Holmes's digs are at 221A Baker Street instead of 221B, and the bungling Scotland Yard inspector is Lastrade instead of Lestrade.
The story has nothing to do with the Arthur Conan Doyle study of the same name. Rather, the movie deals with a mysterious secret trust, the Scarlet Ring. Its members progressively die off, accompanied by a nursery rhyme--and then there were five, four, .... Agatha Christie borrowed this motif in her 1939 mystery novel (and later a play), Ten Little Niggers (American titles: Ten Little Indians, And Then There Were None), which, curiously, has a character named Owen.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 22, 2005
Format: DVD
This is an odd duck of a Sherlock Holmes film. Anyone who knows the first thing about Holmes knows that A Study in Scarlet was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first story about the Great Detective, so it's only natural that this early film (1933) would bring that story to life - but it doesn't, as this Study in Scarlet has very little in common with Doyle's published story. The really odd thing about this film, though, is Holmes' address, which is 221A Baker Street rather than 221B Baker Street. A pre-Scrooge Reginald Owen doesn't make for a bad Sherlock (but he does make for a plump one), although he comes up woefully short against the likes of Basil Rathbone and the incomparable Jeremy Brett. I should note that this is Owen's one and only appearance as Holmes - and, somewhat ironically, it came a year after he played Dr. Watson opposite Clive Brooks' Sherlock Holmes.

This is a fairly standard pastiche affair. You've got this secret little society calling itself the Scarlet Ring, and it's clearly up to no good. Holmes first hears of it when the widow of one of its members seeks his help after seeing her dead husband's estate turned over to the group, leaving her with nothing. Apparently, the group's leader, smarmy lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew (Alan Dinehart), has been in Holmes' sights for some time, and he is eager to finally nab him. In a way, it's a race against time because members of the Scarlet Ring keep turning up dead under suspicious circumstances. Holmes does his investigation (including a little undercover work in disguise), figures everything out, and - in the end - explains it all to Watson and the rest of us. That explanation includes some pretty big facts that we had no possible way of knowing on our own, though, and that never sets too well with me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By classics collector on April 14, 2006
Format: DVD
A Study In Scarlet the film has very little to do with the novel of the same name. On it's own merits though it is a highly enjoyable classic mystery film. There are plenty of twists and atmosphere and I greatly enjoyed Reginald Owens as Holmes. Owens may take some time to get used to if you are used to Rathbone or Brett. He's different, unique, and exquisite in his own way. I love this movie!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Gray on January 7, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A true MUST for Anna May WONG fans. Although she has few lines, and a very limited screen time as her usual dragon lady, this PRE-CODE movie offers many good details that makes this movie 5 STARS for Wong fans....SEE! Wong smoke a cigarello while viewed from inside a fireplace. SEE! Wong dressed in a nightgown while making a pass at another woman. SEE! Wong completely wasted in this movie with a cast of two dozen.
This movie is a BIG MISTAKE for any Sherlock HOLMES fans. SEE! perhaps the worst Holmes characterization in film history! The awful insipid actor playing Holmes here is no match for Wong, who has second billing yet with only minimal material to work with. Of course WONG takes over the screen whenever she appears, and here she appears in the great bonus of terrific costumes..various depression era western rich woman's couture, and is simply stunning. The film itself has a startling high quality opening scene of which Hitchcock himself would be most proud, and a few good angel shots scattered through out the movie to help raise this short poverty row "14 day shoot" film to a keeper for Wong fans. However, as I am a Holmes fan as well, for me, repeat viewings willall include many fast forwards, as I would estimate that Wong sadly appears in only about 5% of the movie, which means that the opening scene, and Wong's appearances is all that is worth repeat viewings..but they add up to this DVD being very very well worth inclusion with your Wong section of your DVD library. THE QUALITY of the non-restored film was much higher than expected, and it is a very viewable DVD. Because of it's tiny market share, do not expect to ever find a better copy. I remain, still hoping for a restored full version of Shanghai Express.
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