The Speckled Band

  • 1931
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Mystery

Raymond Massey made his screen debut playing Sherlock Holmes in this offbeat entry in the series of Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations. Set in 1930, the film features a modern Holmes whose office is outfitted with the latest detective tools. Automated filing systems, stenographers, secretaries, intercoms, recording devices, beakers, flasks, bunsen burners,...read more

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Raymond Massey made his screen debut playing Sherlock Holmes in this offbeat entry in the series of Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations. Set in 1930, the film features a modern Holmes whose office is outfitted with the latest detective tools. Automated filing systems, stenographers,

secretaries, intercoms, recording devices, beakers, flasks, bunsen burners, and chemicals crowd Massey's house. Enter Stewart as Dr. Watson, who asks his friend to investigate the strange death of his friend Baddeley's sister, Moore. Moore was found dead in the large, dark, and mysterious manor of

Harding, the girls' stepfather, but no cause of death could be determined. Harding is immediately under suspicion, but he points to some nomadic gypsies who were camped nearby as being the most likely suspects. Baddeley, who has decided to marry, might be eliminated by Harding next, because when

she leaves her inheritance would go with her. Harding decides to have some construction done on the house, so Baddeley is forced to sleep in her dead sister's room. That night the gypsies return to camp near the manor, and Massey disguises himself as a workman in order to gain entry into the

house. Harding releases a giant poisonous snake into the air vent connected to the room where Baddeley sleeps. Massey spots the snake and forces it back down the shaft, and it kills Harding instead. The visual style of THE SPECKLED BAND, heavily influenced by the German expressionists, is made up

of harsh angles, contrasts of dark and light (especially in the scenes at the manor), and strange sets. Massey brings a different reading to the role of Sherlock Holmes and transforms him into a more cynical, cerebral, and rueful character than had been seen previously.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Raymond Massey made his screen debut playing Sherlock Holmes in this offbeat entry in the series of Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations. Set in 1930, the film features a modern Holmes whose office is outfitted with the latest detective tools. Automated filing s… (more)

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