Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES Volume 2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Introduction and Notes by Kyle Freeman.

Many of us old movie fans love to watch Basil Rathbone zeroing in on his quarry in the classic Sherlock Holmes films such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles or Terror by Night, but it's also great to go back to the original stories and see how terrific most of them are. Don't be put off by the time period in which they were written; the style is completely accessible and most of the tales are grand entertainment. This wonderful volume includes the novel "The Valley of Fear," in which Holmes solves a startling murder in a house with a moat, then discovers the brutal history that led up to the murder. For many chapters Holmes doesn't appear as Doyle takes us on a flashback to America and a town held in thrall by a corrupt group modeled on the Molly Maguires. Absorbing and suspenseful stuff indeed. "The Adventure of the Empty House" describes how Holmes managed to escape death after his alleged fall off a cliff while struggling with Moriarty. "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" has Holmes solving several mysterious, almost supernatural-like deaths, and "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" is both fascinating and affecting. Okay, one or two of the stories are comparatively lame, but most are intriguing and well-done, with satisfying conclusions. Kyle Freeman's notes and introduction are excellent as well.

Verdict: Good show, Watson! ****.

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