Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet(1933)

May 2, 2011

Filmed and produced at California Tiffany Studios this 1933 Sherlock Holmes film A Study in Scarlet (1933) starred Reginald Owen as Holmes, Warburton Gamble as Watson, and Anna May Wong as the mysterious Mrs. Pyke. The story isn’t remotely close to the novel by Conan Doyle and from what I understand the studio only purchased the right to the title and not the contents. If anything it has a similar plot to The Five Orange Pips, a story where various members of a society are killed off one by one in order for one of the members to obtain large amounts of insurance from the deceased. In the case of this story there is a group who call themselves the Scarlet Ring society which has stolen jewels from the Orient valued at a million pounds. The head of the ring is a character not unlike Prof. Moriarty who will let nothing stand in his way until Holmes enters the scene. Reginald Owen, best known for his role as Ebenezer Scrooge, also played Dr. Watson a year earlier in Sherlock Holmes something of a rarity. In addition he also contributed to the screenplay. The movie, available on the internet archive, has suffered from having been made eighty years ago, and I just had a difficult time with both Owen and Gamble as Holmes and Watson. What I did enjoy was the mysterious creepy role of Anna May Wong as Mrs. Pyke. Because this is a free viewing or available at an extremely low cost it is worth a watch. (**)

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