The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection                           review by Bobby Blakey

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Throughout the years there have been a ton of various incarnations of the famed Sherlock Holmes based on the books from Sir Author Conan Doyle. In the 1916 the iconic literary detective made his debut in the silent film aptly titled Sherlock Holmes and hasn’t slowed down since. Now a collection of films from the 1930s have been brought together featuring the character with The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection.

 

The films in this collection include The Fatal Hour (1931) that follows a card cheat who is threatened with exposure into joining a criminal enterprise that Holmes believes is controlled by Professor Moriarty. In The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935) Holmes, retired to Sussex, is drawn into a last case when arch enemy Moriarty arranges with an American gang to kill one John Douglas, a country gentleman with a mysterious past. Holmes' methods baffle Watson and Lestrade, but his results astonish them. In a long flashback, the victim's wife tells the story of the sinister Vermissa Valley.

The 1937 film Silver Blaze aka Murder At The Baskervilles follows Sherlock Holmes who takes a vacation and visits his old friend Sir Henry Baskerville. His vacation ends when he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a double-murder mystery. Now he's got to find Professor Moriarty and the horse

Silver Blaze before the great cup final horse race. In the final film of this collection A Study In Scarlet (1933) a secret society in London, led by lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew collects the assets of any of its deceased members and divides them among the remaining members. Society members start dropping like flies. Sherlock Holmes is approached by member James Murphy's widow, who is miffed at being left penniless by her husband. When Captain Pyke is shot, Holmes keys in on his mysterious Chinese widow as well as the shady Merrydew. Other members keep dying--Malcom Dearing first, then Mr. Baker. There is also an attempt on the life of young Eileen Forrester, who became a reluctant society member upon the death of her father. Holmes' uncanny observations and insights are put to the test.

 

These classic films feature two actors taking on the iconic role with Arthur Wontner taking on all except A Study In Scarlet which features Reginald Owen. I love these old movies for the sheer style if nothing else. They are all done more in the style of theater in how they shot things back then with some beautifully lighted and framed imagery. All of these films are great entries and a must see for any fans of the detective. The transfer on all these look great bringing a new vibrant look to these classic features. I could go on and on about each film, but everyone knows how Holmes films play out and these are top notch for this era. I know most people tend to mention Basil Rathbone as the premiere Holmes, but I much prefer Wontner who took on the role in five films.

 

This set not only includes the films but special features Elementary Cinema: The First Cinematic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, an original documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; Sherlock Holmes and the Blue Carbuncle, a radio broadcast recreation from Redfield Arts Audio; and exclusive introductions with filmmaker and film history icon, Samuel M. Sherman. To top it off, each of the four discs includes its own audio commentary from esteemed film experts and enthusiasts, including author Jennifer Churchill; author and film historian Jason A. Ney; writers/producers Phoef Sutton and Mark Jordan Legan; and authors/screenwriters, Peter Atkins and David Breckman; original film posters replicated as postcards, and booklet inserts with original essays from author Don Stradley and author/screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner.

 

In addition to the standard set, The Sherlock Holmes Box Set comes complete with exclusive Sherlock Holmes collector’s items, fitting for every Sherlock fan to take on a case of their own. Collector’s items include a 13-month Sherlockian calendar, featuring special anniversary dates and fun facts about the history of Sherlock Holmes; a collector’s edition Sherlock Holmes magnet; a Sherlock Holmes notebook for jotting down clues; a one-year subscription to The Film Detective app; and a Sherlock Holmes tote bag.

 

Grab your copy of The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection and Box Set available now from The Film Detective.

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