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3 Classic Crime Films Of The Silver Screen - The Speckled Band / Silver Blaze / Blake Of Scotland Yard [DVD]

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • 3 Classic Crime Films Of The Silver Screen - The Speckled Band / Silver Blaze / Blake Of Scotland Yard [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Raymond Massey, Arthur Wontner, Ralph Byrd
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Classic Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Jun. 2005
  • Run Time: 206 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000818VHK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,148 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Classic crime triple bill. 'The Speckled Band' (1931) sees the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes (Raymond Massey) and his assistant Dr Watson (Athole Stewart) investigating the mysterious death of a young woman's twin, who was killed while inside a locked room. 'Silver Blaze' sees Holmes (Arthur Wontner) contesting wills with his nemesis Professor Moriarty (Lyn Harding) after the theft of a priceless racehorse. Finally, in 'Blake of Scotland Yard' (1937), the retired detective Sir James Blake (Herbert Rawlinson) is helping his niece develop a new device that could help prevent wars. Planning to donate it to the League of Nations, Blake instead finds himself investigating its theft after the device is stolen by the mysterious 'Scorpion'.

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very poor quality.
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Format: DVD
Three black and white crime films from the 30's; all are pretty creaky with variable sound and picture quality.

THE SPECKLED BAND [1931] is an enjoyable Sherlock Holmes adventure with Raymond Massey as the detective, and based on Conan Doyle's story. Pantomime villain Lyn Harding is killing people with a poisonous snake, and overacting tremendously. Massey is a good Holmes, and Holmes' wit and penchant for disguises are on display here. This film is a solid and fun template for the Basil Rathbone films which were soon to follow.

Arthur Wontner is another good Sherlock Holmes, but plays him more serious and a bit bossy in SILVER BLAZE [1938], again based on Doyle's story, but mixed with Moriarty [a hammy Lyn Harding again] and the Baskerville family, for reasons not entirely clear to me. SILVER BLAZE is a prize racehorse who is nicked on the eve of a big race. Holmes must find him, and solve the murders that lie on the trail. This is also enjoyable, and the character of Holmes, and even some of the dialogue ["the curious incident of the dog in the night-time"] are very close to Doyle's original.

BLAKE OF SCOTLAND YARD is not so good, and I was a bit bored with it. Master criminal The Scorpion has stolen new invention, the Death Ray, and Scotland Yard must attempt to retrieve it. How The Scorpion can get much done when he walks in a hunch and constantly has a [rather cool] scorpion claw-hand held up in front of his face, I don't know. This film is gloomy and dark, and suffers from not having an instantly identifiable and iconic character like Holmes. The eponymous BLAKE OF SCOTLAND YARD is largely lost in the dark.

The first two films are minor gems, especially for Sherlock fans, and if you get this used for 28p [with p+p it is still under two pounds], you've got yourself a bargain.
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Format: DVD
'The speckled band' is a curiosity that I considered worth the price alone (I paid £2.99 at a flea market). Made in 1931, and looking every year of it, it is a museum piece in every respect. Raymond Massey plays Sherlock holmes, rather well, actually, Angela Baddeley, later known as mrs Hudson in 'Upstairs, downstairs' plays the young girl in distress calling on the help of mr Holmes, and Lyn Harding, who is always guaranteed to chew up the scenery, is featured as Dr. Rylott. In the thirties Harding usually played the villain in a well over the top fashion. The print of this film is well worn and riddled with splices that often cut short dialogue, and some scenes are badly exposed, so are at times too light or heavy in density. However, as a curio, it's excellent - why, Sherlock has a team of secretaries and mechanical devices in his office to help out, so business must have been brisk!
'Silver Blaze', 1937,released in the US in 1942 as 'Murder at the Baskervilles' features Arthur Wontner as Sherlock Holmes. Wontner was considered as the critics choice for many years due to his remarkable resemblance to the original Sidney Paget drawings, (see the book 'Holmes of the movies' by David Stuart Davies) but, though he made five Holmes films in the thirties, he is now forgotten, and was completely ignored in the recent BBC documentary 'A study in Sherlock'. Lyn Harding makes an appearance again as Professor Moriarty (who doesn't feature in the novel but was thrown in for good measure, as was Sir Henry Baskerville! ).Picture quality, as in the other releases of this series of films is just awful, soft focus and badly exposed,probably being a copy of a copy, etc.
'Blake of Scotland Yard' is an American run of the mill detective film from 1936.
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Great classics, very useful for teaching. Good price, fab service. Nothing else to say really- served the purpose, came in on time for the money.
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