Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Experiment #8 - "The Scarlet Claw" (1944)

In which we discuss Peter Pan and opera. Then Holmes and Watson journey to (of all places) Canada and investigate one of their darkest, most terrifying mysteries yet.


They (whoever they are) say that it’s all about who you know. If Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t already one of the most famous men in his day, then he wouldn’t have to worry about knowing the right people. He rubbed elbows with some of literature’s finest figures…

Nick: The names read off like a ‘who’s who’ of Victorian literature: Arthur Conan Doyle. Oscar Wilde. J.M. Barrie. Robert Louis Stevenson. Bram Stoker. All of them were friends. It sort of boggles the mind!

Cat: It does, but honestly? It is really satisfying to know that that’s true and that they were all buddies, some  of them even all playing in the same cricket league at one point or another. I can only liken the feeling to when you watch a movie and there are two or more actors who either play best friends, or characters in a relationship - and then you find out that it’s true in real life, off screen. It just makes you feel like all is right in the world. Or, at least, it was, considering that was over a hundred years ago, but I digress.

Oh, how we would have loved to have been flies on the wall

Nick: Well, here’s the part which I enjoy the most (and you can surely fill me on more information as you are the resident J.M. Barrie expert in the room), but Doyle and Barrie actually - for a time - collaborated on an opera together. How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during those collaborative sessions.

Cat: Yeah, funny story about that: so J.M. Barrie was working on an opera for awhile...and then kinda got sick of it and so frustrated that he handed it over to our friend, ACD, to finish it. Not entirely sure how that all went down creatively (I get the feeling that Barrie literally wanted this thing as far away from him as possible at this point), but the fact that that is a true story is as hilarious as it is awesome. I can only hope we’ll reach that level of friendship some day, Nick.

Nick: I do too and, honestly, I don’t think we’re far off from that point. Now, here is another question to which you can apply your Barrie knowledge: Does Barrie have the same sort of following as Doyle does? I mean, Peter Pan is a part of our culture in the same way that Sherlock Holmes is, but are there fan societies devoted to the work of J.M. Barrie and the boy who wouldn’t grow up? (I’m always looking to expand my nerdy knowledge.)

J.M. Barrie - The Man Who Never Grew Up

Cat: That I don’t know about. I mean, there’s me. And other souls who share the same fascination as me. But in terms of anything scholarly, I don’t know. If there are, then I want to join. There are a couple individuals who have focused a lot on Barrie himself and how Peter Pan fit into his life and all though! (For a class somewhat recently, I did a research project about Barrie’s life and this one website I found was sort of a motherload of J.M. Barrie knowledge: to keep from geeking out too much, it had digital copies of TONS of important documents relating to Barrie, including letters and other things. It was super cool. For those interested, this is the link.)

Nick: That sounds like the Peter Pan holy grail! I must make a confession: I was not raised on Disney movies as a child (when I was six my mother took me to see the original Dracula for Halloween which more-or-less influenced the rest of my life) so I do not know my Peter Pan mythos as well as the rest of the world. But, I can certainly appreciate the enthusiasm on the part of much of the world. We geeky obsessives do have to stick together.

Cat: We are kind of all we’ve got. :’)

Nick and Cat could go on for ages talking about these literary figures and their various exploits. However, there’s a movie to discuss today and it’s arguably the best of the Rathbone/Bruce series.

Vital Statistics:
The Scarlet Claw (1944)
Major motion picture
Starring Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes), Nigel Bruce (Dr. Watson), Gerald Hamer (Potts), Paul Cavanaugh (Lord Penrose), Arthur Hohl (Journet), Kay Harding (Marie Journet), Miles Mander (Judge Brisson)
74 minutes, black-and-white


Nick: Well, we’ve finally arrived at what many consider to be the high-point of the Rathbone/Bruce series. The Scarlet Claw is perhaps the finest film in the Universal Holmes series and it is surely the darkest and perhaps most polished production. It’s one of my favorites to be sure.

Cat: It was certainly quite good - and I was incredibly surprised to find out that it was not based on one of the cannon stories! (And no, I wouldn’t have known that right off the bat - I’m still learning here.)

Nick: Well, it may not have been based on one of the original stories, but the film owes a lot to The Hound of the Baskervilles. The tone for one is derived from the novel what with this film’s dark, cloying sense of foreboding and mystery. The fact that something supernatural could be responsible for the deaths in the Canadian village is not unlike Hound either, though that idea is sort of dropped halfway through. The biggest debt which The Scarlet Claw owes to Hound though is the fact that the legendary monster which is recreated by the murderer (who we’ll get to later) glows brightly with phosphorous. In the original novel, the hound is coated in phosphorous to make it glow and appear more ghostlike.

It glows in the dark...and kills people

Cat: It definitely does. And I felt, like with Hound, the possibility that something supernatural might be at work was handled just right: it never felt like it was turning into something like Scooby Doo or anything like that. (Though Scooby Doo rocks.) I, for one, really enjoyed that aspect especially. Since there wasn’t anything (aside from Hound for inspiration) to necessarily base this plot or tone off of, I felt like the filmmakers really handled that aspect very, very well.

We’re usually pretty spoiler heavy on this blog, but we feel the need to insert an extra spoiler warning in here as this film’s plot does contain some genuinely surprising twists. If you haven’t done yourself the pleasure of watching The Scarlet Claw yet, then please do before continuing...

Nick: The supernatural aspect is handled really well in this movie, but when that aspect of the plot is dispensed, I think the movie actually really hits its stride. The central concept - of the murderous actor adopting a number of disguises to commit his crimes - is a really neat idea and it’s handled really well. It’s a testament to actor Gerald Hamer that he is able to be on screen (with a close-up on his face) as he’s wearing a disguise and still manage to throw the viewer off the scent!

Cat: I’m not going to lie: I didn’t even try to keep up with figuring out whodunit once disguises were involved. My track record with seeing through disguises has honestly been a little all over the place. However, I entirely agree that both the concept and the execution here were really well done!

Nick: Well, for me at least, it’s fun to watch these movies with someone whose seeing-through- disguises track record is sketchy. I got to see many surprised reactions. Anyway, the disguise aspect of the plot does allow for one of the film’s highlights (and honestly one of the highlights of the entire series): The vengeful actor Ramson disguising himself as the housekeeper to Judge Brisson and brutally murdering him with a garden weeder. It’s a truly scary scene, and really lingers in the memory.

Cat: You’re just saying that because I’m melodramatic and gullible, Nick. (Glad I amuse though.) And that was CREEPY, okay? Super, super, really creepy - and I honestly kinda wish there were few more moments like that scattered throughout, because it was just that good. I think what was so effective about it was the way that it showed exactly why a murderer that adopts multiple disguises is such a terrifying concept.

Nick: It’s certainly the most overtly terrifying scene in the movie. I have read more than one Sherlock Holmes commentator compare the scene with Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (in both the relative gruesomeness of the whole thing and a man adopting women’s clothing to do murder), and it’s an accurate description. It’s even more interesting to note that this movie came out 16 years before what is arguably Hitchcock’s most famous movie. But, while the murder scenes are perhaps most memorable about The Scarlet Claw, the sense of dread which pervades the film makes it feel even creepier. I mean, this movie kills off the central, innocent female character who is little more than a teenager. That was unheard of in 1944 and it makes this movie feel particularly nasty.  

Cat: (Here is where Cat admits reluctantly that she actually has never seen Psycho and is in fact a tiny bit uncultured in the world of cinema, so she’s just going to go along with whatever Nick says.) That was just really sad, honestly. She totally didn’t deserve it! :’(

Nick: Our next blog can be devoted to the works of Alfred Hitchcock. (I can only imagine what’s going through Catharine’s head now.) But, yeah, this movie is bleak. You have never felt the need for some of Nigel Bruce’s comic relief more.

Cat: We really need to keep a running list going for our next potential blog. Yes, we’ve discussed this in great detail. And yes,  almost everything is stuff Nick has seen that I have not. (I just can’t win, unless I want to try to convince Nick that a blog about Disney movies would give him the childhood that he missed out on. That debate is still an ongoing helplessly lost cause…) Nigel Bruce and his comic relief makes everything better. The one part that I took note of however that did not make everything all better was when Watson got a cold after a mishap on the marshes. I have never so strongly felt the need to travel back in time for the sake of giving someone a hug. I think this just strengthens my belief that all medical professionals make really lousy/pathetic patients.

Oh, Watson...

Nick: That makes me very happy because only a few short months ago you were not the president of the Nigel Bruce Fan Club and now you wish to travel back in time and give him a hug! How wonderful! Well, let’s cheer ourselves up a bit: Canada. Who would ever have thought that Holmes and Watson would travel to the land of maple syrup and moose?

Cat: Why not though? If they can make it to Washington D.C., they can make it anywhere! Though I was greatly amused by the fact that the film opened with the Royal Canadian Occult Society. I don’t know how one goes about getting membership, but I want in. Just...Canada!

Nick: I have nothing against Canada (thought I should mention that). And I agree, of all places Holmes would go as a guest, the Royal Canadian Occult Society is certainly a curious one. And, I mean, the fact that Canada is the setting is pretty unimportant to the plot. For all intents-and-purposes, the setting could be in the English countryside. Although, the little Canadian town where the majority of the movie is set is called La Mort Rouge which literally translates to “The Red Death.” Actually (historical background time), this film started out as yet another Holmes vs. Moriarty movie simply entitled Sherlock Holmes in Canada. Along the way, just about everything about the film changed...except for the Canadian setting.

Cat: Aww man, really?! Not that I’m unhappy with the final product, but I can’t believe we missed out on another Rathbone Holmes vs. Moriarty movie! At least we still got Canada.

Nick: Well, don’t worry, Catharine. There’s one more Rathbone Holmes vs. Moriarty movie and it’s quite a doozy. Well, let’s talk about some of the actors real quick because I do think this is one of the most well acted films in the Universal series. I have to single out Arthur Hohl (who played spider expert Gilflower in The Spider Woman) as Journet, the reddest of red herrings. Hohl is really good; especially at the very end when he kills the murderer with his own murder weapon (the same weapon which killed Journet’s daughter). And, of course, the aforementioned Gerald Hamer as the killer is amazing. He’s really quite evil.

Cat: I actually particularly enjoyed Kay Harding’s performance as Marie. I thought she balanced between being mysteriously skittish about the matters at hand and sweet and endearing very well. And then they killed her. (Why is it every character I like ends up dead?)

Nick: That is a question I cannot possibly answer. But Kay Harding does a really good job in this movie. I don’t know any of her other movie credits off the top of my head, but she does make you sympathize with her character which makes her surprising death even worse.

Before we start up again on this film’s bleak moments, let’s move onto Final Thoughts:

Nick: While I don’t think I can call The Scarlet Claw my favorite of the Rathbone Holmes films, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was near the top. And it may very well be - in my mind - the best-looking and most handsomely produced film in the series. The story is original and dark and it is interesting to see Holmes cross paths with a truly psychopathic killer. As I mentioned when it comes to the death of Judge Brisson, this movie has scenes which linger long in the memory and can still raise goosebumps. (Just thinking about Holmes helplessly standing by as the Judge is murdered is a chilling thought.) The Scarlet Claw is just an all around really good entry in the series. Certainly one of my favorites. And you Catharine? Final Thoughts?

Cat: I think I’m very much in the same boat as you - while I can honestly say that I don’t think this particular flick has worked its way into my favorites, I certainly admire the evident creativity and hardwork. It’s well acted, extremely well written, and has what I think is a very unique mood. (Whether or not this is because the film is set in Canada is unknown...) I also do want to take a moment to highlight something that I thought was particularly cool that is, in my mind, a great example for how much attention the film received behind the scenes. During the initial “marsh manhunt” scene where Holmes and then Watson are chasing after the supposedly supernatural killer, they see him in all his glowing  glory. The effect they use to light him up like a glowstick is brief, but really well done  and really effective. There’s lots of little moments like that (for me, at least) throughout the movie that keep things interesting and engaging.

Nick: Yes! Wonderful shout out to the Special Effects department (headed by John P. Fulton who did some amazing things for Universal’s Invisible Man series.) Okay, so the moment of truth: How many deerstalkers does The Scarlet Claw receive?

Cat: Despite just singing the movie’s praises, I think I have to go with a very solid 4 out of 5 deerstalkers for The Scarlet Claw. While this movie was really good in my opinion, I feel like it’s something that is best appreciated when you’re more familiar with the Rathbone series. That’s not a bad thing though! But I do feel like that note is what’s holding me back from rating it higher. How about you, Nick? What’s your deerstalker rating?

Nick: This one is definitely one of the best of the series and, in all honesty, one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes film period. Not top five worthy, but certainly top ten. It’s a 4.5 out of 5 from me.

With another movie reviewed, Cat and I are off to emulate Arthur Conan Doyle and J.M. Barrie and attempt to collaborate on an opera. How that will end is anyone’s guess...Actually, that’s a bad idea. We should stick to simply watching and discussing Sherlock Holmes films.

Nick's Rating

Catharine's Rating

Next Time: A cursed pearl and snapped spines

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Experiment #7 - "The Spider Woman" (1944)

In which we make our triumphant return to the Internet and then promptly kill off Sherlock Holmes!


Nick: Hello Internet we have returned! You could say that - not unlike the great detective himself - we have returned from our Great Hiatus. But, rest assured the Experiment is not completed. In fact, we are about to enter what many believe to be the Golden Age of the Rathbone/Bruce films.

Cat: I almost laughed at that; this thing is HARDLY over. But yay for more Basil Rathbone! I’d honestly be content with just watching 70 more years of Basil Rathbone, I’m not going to lie. Am I going to get as hooked on every era that we go through…?

Nick: I certainly hope that you do. Well, considering it’s been quite a while since we have posted anything, so I say that we jump right in and get down to business with The Spider Woman!

Vital Statistics
The Spider Woman (1944)
Major motion picture
Starring Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes), Nigel Bruce (Dr. Watson), Gale Sondergaard (Adrea Spedding), Dennis Hoey (Inspector Lestrade)
62 minutes, black-and-white


Nick: Well, I suppose the best place to begin is the beginning: The death of Sherlock Holmes.

Cat: That is not a very good place to start, if I may say so. To give some context, I had gone over to Nick’s house, thinking I was going to enjoy an afternoon with my friend and a couple of good movies and then BAM, emotional sucker punch. I was not a happy camper. I never want to see Nigel Bruce look so sad and unhappy ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER again. Never ever. (I was actually starting to tear up over this!) So, Nick, since you ENTIRELY knew this was coming and totally let this catch me by surprise, what are YOUR thoughts on this fun development in the beginning of the movie?

Holmes and Watson in Switzerland? Never good

Nick: Well, I think that this beginning is one of those incidents like Sherlock Holmes Face Death where you sort of know that Holmes isn’t really dead, but it’s still hard to watch. What I think makes this beginning so powerful though is Nigel Bruce, Mary Gordon, and Dennis Hoey. Seeing the usually blustering Watson and Lestrade actually getting sad and contemplative is really moving, and Mary Gordon’s Mrs. Hudson on the brink of tears is incredibly sad. To anyone who claims that Nigel Bruce’s Watson never displayed any serious moments, the few opening scenes of The Spider Woman are prime examples to the contrary.

Cat: Yes, very hard to watch. I think what really made the scene work is how quickly the tone turned and everything got serious; moments before, Holmes and Watson were having fun on a fishing trip and then, whoops, all of a sudden we have a dead detective on our hands. It was really sudden, and I think that starting with the bumbling, cheerful Nigel Bruce was very important in establishing that side of his character before switching to having a rare moment of entirely serious sadness. I never would have expected it, but he (as well as Dennis Hoey and Mary Gordon) were very good at playing it serious. It made me upset, at least.

Nick: Well, your point about the tone is, I think, one which applies to the movie on a whole. The interesting thing about The Spider Woman is that it is arguably one of the darkest films in the Rathbone/Bruce series, but it also features some of the series’ lightest and funniest moments. I mean, the same movie which features the brooding Dr. Watson also finds him playing the tuba and nearly ripping the beard off a man who he believes to be Sherlock Holmes. While some could argue that this makes the film’s tone inconsistent, the balance of the humor and seriousness works, I think, to the film’s advantage. And, the comedic moments come at just a point when you need some relief from all the seriousness.

Hate to burst your bubble, but that isn't Holmes...

Cat: I agree, I never really felt like it was inconsistent or anything. I liked it, at least. The funny points in this movie were definitely hilarious (though I firmly believe that nothing will truly top “Hey there, buddy, what’s cooking?”).

Nick: Ah yes, that immortal line shall live forever. However, that scene where Watson mistakes Adam Gilflower for Holmes is very funny and would be parodied (to great effect) in Sherlock: The Empty Hearse; one of the many neat little references to the Rathbone/Bruce films which Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat love so much. Also, I don’t think that I will ever be able to forget Bruce’s Watson admitting to the fact that he used to be known as “Twinkletoes” as a child. (Holmes’ deadpan reply of “I’m sure you were a beautiful baby Watson” is one of my absolute favorite moments in the series.)

Cat: That was a strange, but beautiful moment. Except when I picture the scene that Watson was describing of him running across dewy grass as a child, I can’t help but imagine a little kid with Nigel Bruce’s face on it. That’s what makes the scene truly amusing for me.

Nick: Well,let’s go from the light and amusing to the dark and serious. Any discussion of The Spider Woman would not be complete without a discussion of the Spider Woman, Adrea Spedding, herself. Catharine, any thoughts?

Cat: I totally LOVED her. She was totally creepy but so good about being so slyly creepy. It also felt like she gave off this air of “Look at me the wrong way and I will make your life miserable” most of the time. I mean, she kills people with SPIDERS. That’s just plain devious.

Nick: She truly is the first femme fatale of the series (there will be a few more coming soon) and she is surely one of the most memorable. The actress, Gale Sondergaard, is wonderfully cast in the role. Her cold, devious line-readings are brilliant and she makes for an excellent foil for Rathbone’s Holmes. The two of them really play up the game of cat and mouse element to the story which makes this particular movie so exciting to watch. (Interestingly - here’s the inner movie history nerd coming out in me - Rathbone and Sondergaard had previously starred in a fairly dire 1941 film version of The Black Cat for Universal. The movie doesn’t resemble the Poe story in the slightest and is more of a bad murder mystery than anything else. Rathbone plays the chief suspect while Sondergaard is the creepy housekeeper of the old dark house where the film is set. A good indicator of the film’s level of wit: After trying to play detective, someone snidely remarks of Rathbone’s character: “He thinks that he’s Sherlock Holmes.”)

Cat: Hah, that’s funny. I understood that reference. (And, Nick, be honest - your movie history nerd is in no way only on the inside) But yes, I totally think that she holds her own against the Great Detective very well. It takes a lot of creativity (and a certain degree of twistedness) to come up with death by spiders, after all.  

Nick: It is very true, my inner movie nerd is hardly a secret any more. And, going back to your point about the spiders...I can hardly watch the part of the movie where the spider crawls through the ventilator and down the wall. Suffering as I do from intense arachnophobia, it makes portions of this movie hard to watch. (Death by spider would also turn up in a version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, however I won’t tell you which one as I am still trying to keep elements of this experiment a surprise.)

Cat: Oh no, I do agree with you there. Spiders are not friends of mine, so my skin was crawling as well. (And yaaay, I look forward to that scene in the future…)

Nick: Well, if we’re talking about things which make our skin crawl and hair stand on end than I think we have to mention this movie’s climax: The shooting gallery. It is - I think - one of the film’s most memorable scenes and one of the most brilliantly executed. It is incredibly suspenseful.

Sherlock Holmes faces death (again)

Cat: Oh my GOD, I was legitimately on the end of my seat for that ending. I thought it was really brilliant. It brought about so much anxiety but it was SO GOOD! I thought it was perfectly paced and I have never been so thankful for Watson being as bumbling and absent-minded as ever, truly. There was going to be something very poetic about Watson being the one to shoot Holmes though, even though that would have been unbelievably painful to witness. I think the Spider Woman herself deserves some props for coming up with said method of execution, because that was almost fool-proof. Except she forgot that she was dealing with Sherlock Holmes, so she was a bit out of her league there.

Nick: Just whose side are you on Catharine? I mean, the Spider Woman is a good adversary, but she tried to kill Sherlock Holmes...twice in one movie. (Three times if you count the one time he was in disguise.)

Cat: Hey, hey, hey - I’m JUST saying. It deserves recognition! You SAW me freaking out every second the little shooting gallery wheel went around. Unbelievable. Accused of treason on my own blog! (Well, I say “my”...)

Nick: Didn’t mean to offend. Haha! Anyway, a word on the literary origins of this particular movie as it plays as a “greatest hits” version of the dark and grisly of the original stories. So, there are elements of The Speckled Band to be found in this movie (perhaps more directly the Adrian Conan Doyle penned pastiche, The Deptford Horror even though that came out after The Spider Woman). The use of a pygmy as a method of murder is lifted from The Sign of Four. Holmes faking his death is taken from The Final Problem (the fact that he pretends to plunge from a waterfall in Switzerland only emphasizes the point further). Lastly, Spedding uses the deadly root The Devil’s Foot (from the short story of the same name) in an empty to kill Holmes and Watson. Looking back on it, the Rathbone/Bruce series more-or-less created the “insert fun nod to the Canon here” trend which has persisted in Sherlockian media for so long.

Cat: It’s a wonderful trend, and I’m so glad that it exists. I feel like it’d almost be morally wrong to not do so. It’d be like doing a Peter Pan related movie and NOT at least making a donation to the Great Ormond Street Hospital. (It is here that Cat’s secret Peter Pan obsession makes an appearance). And, on the note of the Final Problem, my grandfather caught wind of our project not too long ago and magically gifted me with some complete set of all the stories (with all the original illustrations). He apparently had this lying around somewhere and decided to give it to me, since it seemed relevant to my life. I already have a complete compilation, except it’s this huge coffee table size book and this is a much more respectable size book. Anyway, to get to the point (and perhaps shed some further light on my reaction to the beginning of our movie), as I was finding a place for it on my (crammed) bookshelves, I decided to read the end of The Final Problem for the hell of it and found myself tearing up over the ending of it. So whenever this theme appears, expect me to be emotional. I feel like it’s something that a lot of people sort of “take for granted” in the Sherlock Holmes world, but it manages to make me emotional every time. A bit off an off-topic note, but there you have it.

Tissues are recommended

Nick: Catharine, that’s one of the biggest no no’s in the Sherlockian world: Do not just read the end of The Final Problem (for the hell of it or no) without tissues close at hand. And, rest assured, Sherlockians take that incident very seriously. As we write this piece, May 4 has only just passed which we collectively learned was the day that Holmes confronted Moriarty atop the Reichenbach Falls. Who knew that Star Wars Day was so sad?!

Cat: I like to live dangerously and stupidly apparently. I didn’t know any better! And yeah, how in the world is THAT fair! I can’t be miserable and enjoy Star Wars at the same time! I have a bone to pick with ACD over this.

Before we cry ourselves silly, it’s time for Final Thoughts:

Nick: I shall give you the floor Catharine. A verdict on The Spider Woman?

Cat: Oh boy. I really, really liked this one a lot. I liked the mystery of this movie (though I do have mixed feelings about the actual spider-related scenes) and especially liked the adversary of the movie. And her title. I made a Spider Man joke before the movie even started, because I’m just that childish. This was just really fun, I thought. I think that, as the Sherlockian Novice here, I’m growing to like this branch of Sherlock Holmes movies: the cat-and-mouse stuff is just really, really fun. This one was really good. Your thoughts, Nick?

Nick: Though they’re completely different, I don’t think it is entirely wrong to liken this movie to Sherlock Holmes in Washington. They’re both fast-paced, very modern-feeling adventures (well, modern for the 1940s), however The Spider Woman is the better film. I love the suspense and the darkness which surrounds this entire film but it also boasts some wonderful comedy. I agree that it is a very fun entry in the series and surely one of the best. So, what would your official deerstalker rating be?

Cat: Honestly? I think I’ve got to give this one a 4.5 out of 5. I don’t know if I’ve really properly explained my feelings about The Spider Woman, but there was something about this that really appealed to me, and I think it might be that similar(ish) element that is found in Sherlock Holmes in Washington. This is definitely one I’d rewatch. It was emotional, it was funny, it was clever and creepy. Two thumbs up from me!

Nick: I’d agree and you summed it very well by calling it emotional, funny, clever, and creepy. I’d give this one 4 out of 5. It’s a great entry in the series.

Another historical sidenote:

Nick: Two years after The Spider Woman was released, Universal tried to recapture the success of the film by casting Gale Sondergaard in a movie called The Spider Woman Strikes Back. It has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the Holmes movie and it is generally considered to be one of Universal’s least memorable horror films of the ‘40s. Just thought that warranted a mention.

Cat: Well, that is certainly a shame, because I thought that she was really quite good in this. She always pulled those really freaky smiles where you can feel that she’s plotting your death, but you have no idea how or when. But that is a very cool little sidenote!

Nick's Rating
Catharine's Rating


We would just like to take a moment to express our profound thanks to all of the wonderful people we met at the open house hosted by Sherlockian Denny Dobry, who has wonderfully recreated Holmes and Watson’s sitting room at 221b Baker Street. The Sherlockians that we met were incredibly nice to us and really made us feel a part of the Sherlock Holmes Community. As we try to make our way in the Sherlockian world, their positive encouragement was greatly appreciated.

Next Time: Holmes and Watson journey to Canada, but their trip is hardly as sweet as maple syrup.