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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2003
Holmes and Watson are visited at Baker Street by an insurance agent who relates to the crime solving duo the strange occurances at a seaside manor house. Meeting there is a group of men who have entered into life insurance policies naming the others as their beneficiaries.
Now the men are all being murdered one by one, immediately after receiving envelopes filled with orange pips. This strange factor picques Holmes' interest and he sets off with Watson to visit Scotland and solve the mystery.
Rathbone is in fine form here and the scenes at the manor contain some of the most atmospheric moments in the series. This is highly recommended for fans of the worlds most famous consulting detective. Hopefully we will see all of Rathbones Holmes movies released onto DVD.
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Sherlock Holmes agrees to an insurance company request to investigate the gruesome deaths of wealthy gentlemen living in a Scottish mansion. Each death is predicted by the strange delivery of Orange Pips to the next intended victim.

Lets get the main fact out of the way first, although an adaptation of Conan Doyle's Holmes story, {Adventures} The Five Orange Pips, The House Of Fear bears little resemblance to that particular source. So purist fans of the literary aspects are in for a let down. Or are they? Directed by Roy William Neill with the screenplay coming from Roy Chanslor, this tenth entry in the Rathbone/Bruce series of Sherlock Holmes films is a deliciously atmospheric mystery piece holding its own. Set very much in the creepy mansion formula, House Of Fear, with all its off kilter camera work {beautifully realised now with the marvellous restoration job}, utilises the scope for "nothing is ever what it seems" to great effect. Thus of course giving Holmes {Rathbone impeccable as usual} license to detect with great gusto and ingenuity. This is after all what one wants from a Sherlock Holmes film me thinks? The film is also aided by some rather fine work from the sound department, winds and footsteps are sharp to the ears, again impacting on the mood to fully involve the viewer.

While the relatively short running time stops it from being a fully born out mystery, and yes if you dig deep enough you will find a couple of creaky plot holes. The House Of Fear is still one of the better entries in this marvellous series of films. Sometimes it's all about the characters and the situation they find themselves in. With that, this becomes an essential Holmes movie, regardless of grumbles from purists and plot holers alike. 7/10
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on 25 May 2003
This is something to watch on a rainy day in front of the fire. All the elements of classic mystery are there : a castle by the sea in Scotland, howling winds and rain, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson inimitably portrayed by Rathbone and Bruce, a gathering of friends (or enemies?), (victims or perpetrators)? Perhaps the mysterious and melancholic housekeeper knows, but she's not telling. Inspector Lestrade arrives to "solve" the case but manages to complicate it even more.
I enjoyed it a lot and will watch it again ; the only drawback is the quality of the print - it's a shame it wasn't restored for the DVD release.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 June 2007
This is one of the better Rathbone and Bruce Sherlock Holmes films. A group of gentleman start receiving envelopes with orange pips in them. After each receives the envelope they then die mysteriously. It keeps you guessing right to the very end, as a number of characters appear to be likely suspects. Watson is his usual funny self and Lestrade appears to take the credit at the end and of course Rathbone as Holmes is superb.

So from a purely entertainment point of view this is first class. However, all the Rathbone/Bruce films are now available in a wonderful remastered boxed set and this is what you should be buying.
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on 24 August 2015
I really like all the old Sherlock Holmes films but for me there is only one Sherlock Holmes and Watson on screen and that is Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce ,the time and atmosphere are fantastically recreated even if you know the stories inside out
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on 22 May 2013
Received the film promptly as always. Another great film for an avid old Sherlock Holmes film buff with Basil Rathbone
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on 8 December 2014
Cannot get enough of these they age a lot better than I have good service as expected
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on 1 January 2016
wonderful film you can't get any better than basil Rathbone very atmospheric.
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on 27 December 2015
Bought as a gift.
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on 26 May 2016
Very good
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