THE SCARLET CLAW

All clews point to Liberace, Watson! (1944)
With Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Gerald Hamer, Arthur Hohl, Miles Mander
Directed by Roy William Neill
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

    An excellent entry in the sometimes silly, always fun Sherlock Holmes series from Universal.  Borrowing liberally from the plot of Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, THE SCARLET CLAW find Rathbone's Holmes and Bruce's Watson in Canada investigating a series of gruesome murders attributed to a mysterious glowing "monster" who comes out of the foggy marshes (natch) to tear throats out with a five-pronged claw.  The village and its denizens appear to have come straight from the set of a FRANKENSTEIN film, giving the film a spookiness and sense of period lacking in some other Universal Holmes films.  Rathbone is at his best, and Bruce again comes off as humorous rather than buffoonish.  The story itself is filled with red herrings, making for a fine game of "whodunit" throughout.  Considered by many to the best of the Rathbone-Bruce films made at Universal, THE SCARLET CLAW definitely rivals THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES in entertainment value and Holmesian flair. 4 - JB

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