Penrose doesn’t want Holmes snooping around but Sherlock received a letter from the deceased asking for his help, so he investigates. There are many suspicious characters in this small town and Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and his trusted assistant Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) are on the case.
There are a couple ways The Scarlet Claw resembles The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is actually mentioned early in the film. The primary being where a murderer uses old legends to cover his crimes -- OH I’M SORRY DID YOU THINK REAL GHOSTS AND MONSTERS WERE AT PLAY? MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE ISSUED A SPOILER WARNING! -- There are other similarities but I shan’t share.
What makes this episode slightly better and recent ones is that you don’t actually know who the bad guy is, and there are many suspects. One complaint I do have is that Holmes doesn’t seem terribly adept at preventing additional murders, arriving just after the nick of time.
Hey, look! It’s Ian Wolf! That guy was in everything … blah blah blah. I also recognized the name Kay Harding, but she was only in one other film I saw, another Sherlock. She was only in seven films.
You know, I’m starting to feel sorry for Watson. Sure, he’s full of bluster. He overshares in front of suspects, stumbles around, and here gets stuck in the mud. But he’s a real doctor (even gets to do some actual doctoring this time), is fiercely loyal, and always answers the call. Here he was twice referred to as Holmes’ “assistant” and is teased by Sherlock himself. Just not fair. Let’s give good old John Watson, MD some credit, shall we?
This episode lands on a higher note than the previous. It had atmosphere, excellent character performances, and real mystery. AMRU 3.5.
“Aw, what you need is more faith and less imagination!”