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on 25 February 2005
This set is absolutely stunning. And at the price - its also a 100% bargain.

As a big Sherlock/Rathbone fan, in a mad attempt to get decent copies of these films, I've been buying Sherlock DVDs on many different labels since I've had a DVD player. Most of the ones I have acquired originate from USA. They've all been released in this country by Orbit Media. The quality of the pictures & sound is generally poor. Some of the copies I've paid out for are nothing short of miserable.

This set absolutely wipes the floor with EVERY other Rathbone Holmes DVD on the market. For picture quality & sound clarity it is positively without rival. Quality is simply pristine.

As for the films themselves - you probably know! I'm aware the Brett fans will argue til the cows come home that he was the best (and I can see why), but for me, Rathbone WAS Holmes. Nigel Bruce's bumbling Watson has been an iritant of serious Sherlockians since these films were made, but as someone who largely came to Holmes through this series, I personally have a lot of affection for both the actor and his clumsy, pompous Watson.

One of the discs contains a short documentary, detailing the lengths that the producers went to get this set as brilliant as it is. It was 10 years in the making!

There are expert and insightful audio commentaries by David Stuart Davies on 5 of the films. These were full of fascinating facts about a whole range of subjects connected to the pictures you were seeing; from subtle props (that I hadn't previously spotted) through to mini biographies of the actors who pop up throughout the 14 films. It's honestly just wonderful!

The films are;

1939: The Hound Of The Baskervilles
1939: The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1942: Sherlock Holmes And The Voice Of Terror
1942: Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Weapon
1943: Sherlock Holmes In Washington
1943: Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
1944: Sherlock Holmes And The Spider Woman
1944: The Scarlet Claw
1944: The Pearl Of Death
1945: The House Of Fear
1945: The Woman In Green
1945: Pursuit To Algiers
1946: Terror By Night
1946: Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Code ("Dressed To Kill" In The USA)

Cheers to whoever's idea it was to finally give these films the respect they deserve! You've made my decade (at least in a DVD sense)!
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There’s hours of enjoyment to be found in this valuable package. It contains all 14 Sherlock Holmes films featuring Basil Rathbone and Sir Nigel Bruce dating from 1939 to 1946. There’s also a fascinating account of the films restoration history, in which we are told that the work occupied almost a whole year for each film, and also that one or two of the films, including one of the last of them, “Pursuit to Algiers”, were almost ready to disintegrate. The resultant visual quality is amazingly good – I can distinguish the various tweeds from which the coats of Holmes and Watson are made.
Mainly produced and directed by Roy William Neill, the series originated in England where the first 2 films were made. Each used “period’” costume and setting, although only the first was based on a Conan Doyle story. Then production was transferred to Hollywood where mainly British cast members were still used, but the settings were now contemporary and sometimes the films were unashamedly war propaganda.
With a presence, appearance and inimitable diction, Basil Rathbone is unsurpassed as an exponent of Sherlock Holmes in film. His wish to be relieved of the role and the death of regular producer and director Roy William Neill terminated the series. Nigel Bruce, as Doctor Watson, replicates the bluff, doddery English buffoon that he played so well in numerous films of those years. It’s nothing like Conan Doyle’s original, but wonderfully endearing.
These were never more than B Grade film productions in their day, most lasting little more than one hour. Somehow, their appeal remains strong. If the opportunity arises, and visitors and relatives of all ages survey my shelves, one or other of these films is often chosen in preference to something of more substance. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is the most often chosen, but my favorite is “Pursuit to Algiers”.
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on 25 February 2006
For the benefit of the reviewer above here's a list of all 14 films:
1. The hound of the Baskervilles
2. The voice of terror
3. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes
4. The secret weapon
5. Sherlock Holmes in Washington
6. Sherlock Holmes faces death
7. The spider woman
8. The pearl of death
9. The scarlet claw
10. The house of fear
11. Pursuit to Algiers
12. The woman in green
13. Terror by night
14. Dress to kill
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on 1 September 2005
The 14 movies (on 7 discs) are:
The Hound of the Baskervilles 1939
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1939
The Voice of Terror 1942
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon 1942
Sherlock Holmes in Washington 1943
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death 1943
The Spider Woman 1944
The Scarlet Claw 1944
The Pearl of Death 1944
The House of Fear 1945
The Woman in Green 1945
Pursuit to Algiers 1945
Terror by Night 1946
Dressed to Kill 1946 (Known in the UK as Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code)
Yes, I think Jeremy Brett is the best onscreen Holmes, but I grew up watching Basil Rathbone and these films are still wonderful, atmospheric movies that capture the spirit of Holmes the master detective.
The box set makes a great addition to any DVD collection.
Picture it; an open fire in midwinter, a glass of something in your hand and one of these movies flickering away on the TV. Bliss.
I also recommend the Sherlock Holmes radio shows that Rathbone and Bruce made in the 30s and 40s, they're great too - and the whopping great 23 DVD set of the Granada TV/Brett series (another excellent buy from Amazon).
I love being transported back and losing sight of the 21st century for an hour or two, and this DVD box set does that wonderfully.
The DVD transfer is excellent. The films look better than I have ever seen them.
Come on, get your credit card out... the game's afoot!
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2007
This was a collection that I had waited years for and it didn't disappoint. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce will always be Holmes and Watson for me and the chance to see these great 1940's films in a clear remastered form was too good to miss.

I'm not going to go into plot details of each film as that has already been done, the boxset's highlight apart from the remastering of the films themselves is the great documentary on the restoration of the series, the amount of work that went into restoring these old prints was staggering and took years but the results show, depending on the original condition of each film a handful of them look as if they were filmed yesterday while the others have been improved enormously. The one downside is that I would have prefered a mini documentary on each of the film's restoration rather than the same general overview of all the films that is repeated on every disc, good though it is.

A selection of the films has the original movie trailers attached and these have not been restored but are so interesting and rare that I don't really care and in a way being presented in their raw form as it were does invoke a strange kind of Pathe newsreel type footage feeling and I can imagine being in the old cinemas watching this, another great special feature.

There are audio commentaries on selected episodes by various Holmes experts and they are among the best that I have ever heard, the amount of information that they provide is astounding, not only about the Holmes films but movies of the time in general. There are also reproductions of a selection of the movie posters on postcard that are varied in each boxset, a friend's set of 5 cards are completely different from mine.

These films are classic and brilliant and for the remastered footage alone any Holmes or old movie fan simply must own this boxset, with the excellent and rare special features making it even more indispensible.
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on 4 November 2006
Just wanted to comment on the quality of the transfer. Who ever decided to go through and remaster these films deserves a pat on the back.

Some of the older films whilst still having an appeal are spoilt by the distraction of the quality. This is not the case here!!

Whilst watching them you could all most believe they were filmed recently. Even on LCD and plasma they still stand out as quality.

Even if you have the earlier unmastered copy's I would say still get this copy you will be amazed at the difference, and the price amazon have them at it won't break the bank either!!

Roll on to them winter afternoons with the snow outside and fire inside, watching one of these, there is no better way to spend an afternoon.
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on 24 July 2006
Mr Davies is right. This definitive series of Basil Rathbone's interpretation of Sherlock Holmes is inspired. Forget the carpers. They complain about anomalies and say the updated stories are not true to Conan Doyle's originals. But Hollywood's interpretations work in their own right - even the films where the great detective fights the Nazis!

Basil Rathbone is the definitive Holmes. Spot on with his interpretation of the character. Far from seeming old fashioned Rathbone seems curiously modern. He speaks fast, but with wonderful clarity and force. And Nigel Bruce is superbly funny as Dr Watson. Rathbone and Bruce are one of the great double acts in cinema history. You can see they were friends in real life by the way they react and bounce off each other in these films.

Who said B movies can't be classics? These are. Lovingly made and filmed. And now wonderfully restored. If anything can bring about a Basil Rathbone revival it's this boxed set.
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on 7 May 2006
i can not express enough the feelings of joy and relief, to discover that someone has gone to a lot of time and effort in methodically remastering all fourteen sherlock holmes films with the incomparable Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. what a joy to behold.

there is a feaurette explaining how all this was done, and is informative.

the previous D.V.D release of these films was pitiful to put it politely. picture and sound quality left a lot be desired.

so sit back and enjoy the number one interpretion of the famous detective - yes that is you Basil and not the over- rated Brett(he is okay).
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on 5 February 2005
Brilliant. A superb collection of the best Holmes and Watson ever - yes even better than the very good modern alternatives. OK they might be a bit corny if you are judging on today's standards but nothing compares to the magic and atmosphere of these excellent digitally remastered black and white editions.
The DVD's come in a really well designed and easy to use package that takes up no more room than a thick book.
Buy them, sit back on a rainy Sunday afternoon or on a dark winter's evening and enjoy.
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on 31 January 2007
This collection has the last 12 of the 14 Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes films from the 1930/40s.

The first two films "Hound of the Baskervilles" and "The adventures of Sherlock Holmes" do not appear here as they were produced by Fox and not Universal, who produced the last 12 which are here.

The quality of the film to DVD transfer is good, and perfectly watchable, however there are DVD releases of all 14 films released which have massively improved clear remastering...the choice is yours. These are perfectly acceptable for the price, but if you want absolute clarity and pristine transfers, you will have to fork out much more money.

The films speak for themselves, quality writing/acting from all involved.
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