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Superb DVD, Which Does Justice To This Atmospheric Gem!,
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes - The Scarlet Claw (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.
This DVD version of "Claw" comes via MPI Home Video, and displays nicely-restored video quality, thanks to the praise-worthy preservation efforts undertaken by the "UCLA Film and Television Archive". This black-and-white Holmes' classic has most certainly never looked better on any home video format.
The DVD's soundtrack is pleasing enough, although not completely free from all background "crackle". It's a Dolby Digital 2-Channel Mono track used here, with no alternate-language track employed.
This stand-alone, single-disc edition of "The Scarlet Claw" contains nothing but the film itself. No supplemental bonus features are present whatsoever. There's a simple static Main Menu, with just one lonely Sub-Menu (for the 11 Chapter Selections).
Additional information concerning this DVD ...........................
>> Video Aspect Ratio -- Full Frame (1.33:1), which is the original theatrical ratio.
>> Audio -- DD 2.0 Mono (English only).
>> Subtitles -- English.
>> Running Time -- 74 minutes. (Which is actually one of the longest of the 14 Sherlock Holmes' films in this Rathbone-starring series. Generally, Basil's Holmes was required to wrap up the mystery and get his man in just a tad more than 60 minutes.)
>> Insert Included? -- Yes. A one-sheet enclosure with Chapter List.
In this reviewer's opinion, the immensely-likeable and ingeniously-cast tandem of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce shall forever represent the quintessential "Sherlock Holmes" and "Doctor Watson". "The Scarlet Claw" is a shining example of the twosome's appeal and talent. And these traits have never looked more visually alluring than on this beautifully-restored DVD from MPI Home Video.
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Initial post: Jun 19, 2011, 8:11:06 PM PDT
Critic's Corner says:
Well said, David. Just saw this myself.
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