Raymond Massey as Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band” (1931) – reviewed by George

Raymond Massey makes a good Sherlock, but the film badly needs restoration, making following the story a bit difficult. The dialogue suffers most. The movie starts with a death. A young woman runs screaming from her bedroom and falls. Her sister Helen rushes up to her and cradles her head. The girl says, “The band… speckled…”, and dies. Dr. Rylott (Lyn Harding), a full-bodied, deep-voiced individual, is the stepfather of the two women. Their mother has been dead some time, and now the surviving sister Helen Stonor (Angela Baddeley) is left alone with this unpleasant, demanding man. However, she has a boyfriend who is about to leave England for a year, and who has been begging Helen to marry him and come with. As happy as she is, she doesn’t want her stepfather to know anything: especially that she is leaving. When he finds out, she sneaks out and takes a train to London to see Dr. Watson (Athole Stewart), an old family friend. Helen appeals to him to help her; she is sure that Rylott will somehow stop the marriage. Even though he is not supposed to know about it, his conversation has made it clear he will try to keep her at home. Sherlock becomes involved and asks Helen all sorts of questions about her sister’s room (which Rylott has forcibly moved Helen into).
A good, tight story, with a good Sherlock, well-directed by Jack Raymond, but the condition of the film makes full enjoyment a problem.

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