Once in a while we discover a wonderful movie that was considered lost forever, and this is one of those films. The producers of this Sherlock Holmes mystery filmed it for release in 1931, and although it wasn't a big money production, it was very well done. But alas, they discovered that a larger, well financed version of a Homes mystery, The Speckled Band, was released on March 5, 1931, and their movie wasn't ready for release until July of 1931. The producers were convinced that after their audiences would not be very impressed with their version after seeing the fine job that Raymond Massey did in the movie released in March. So they sold the movie to a sucker (or so they thought) for 800 pounds. I'm not sure how well the movie did in Britain, but in the U.S. it was a spectacular hit, playing in theaters on Broadway for over a month straight. Reviewers were excited that this portrayal of Sherlock Holmes was as close to the author's image as any ever produced. It was terribly unusual for a British film to do so well in the U.S., and the lucky folks that bought and distributed the film did very well. Four more episodes with the same actor playing Holmes were made, The Missing Rembrandt (still considered lost), The Sign of Four, The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes and The Silver Blaze/Murder at the Baskervilles. This movie was thought to be lost forever until recently. The known time before now that the film was shown was in 1955. It was presented at a Sherlock Holmes Society reception for the star of the movie, Arthur Wontner. No one knows where that print is today. This copy is patched together from two incomplete versions, creating the only known complete copy of the famous film.
Director: Leslie S. Hiscott
Stars: Arthur Wontner, Ian Fleming, Minnie Rayner