2 February 2018 | boblipton
If It Didn't Claim to Be Sherlock Holmes, I'd Like It a Lot
William K. Howard directed this at the top of his powers. Most sources claim he was influenced by Murnau. I think his stuff looks like Tod Browning, but it doesn't really matter where he got that fast-cutting-between-askew-images-from. It's compelling and exciting. On the other hand, the script is the least Sherlockian thing I have ever seen. It's a sequel to the Gillette play. Ernest Torrence, playing Moriarity with a gotch eye is to be hanged, so Holmes is set to retire, marry Miriam Jordan and live a life of riding to the hounds. But Moriarity escapes and begins to wreak a terrible vengeance.
Clive Brooks makes an adequate Holmes, , since he lives in a world of morons. Watson disappears early on, which is a good thing, since the role is played by Reginald Owen.
So, how do I rate this? It's a movie that is worth watching, because it is such a visual treat, with some wonderful ur-Noir cinematography by George Barnes, including a sequence that is mostly lit by arc welding light. However, pretend it's Bulldog Drummond and not Sherlock Holmes.