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» » Silver Blaze (1937)

Short summary

Sherlock Holmes takes a vacation and visits his old friend Sir Henry Baskerville. His vacation ends when he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a double-murder mystery. Now he's got to find Professor Moriarty and the horse Silver Blaze before the great cup final horse race.

Final screen appearance by Arthur Wontner as Sherlock Holmes.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: BeatHoWin
    Although Arthur Wontner is little remembered today, in his time he was considered by many to have been the best of those who had portrayed Sherlock Holmes on screen. "Silver Blaze", the last of the Holmes series that starred Wontner, is a solid feature that takes the Doyle story of the same name and adds to it some of the characters and elements from the other Holmes stories.

    The strength of Wontner's performance is that he looks very convincing as the Holmes of literature, and he also looks very much at home in the Victorian era settings. While his portrayal of Holmes lacks the sharpness and forcefulness of Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett, Wontner is certainly adequate in the challenging role of the great detective. He does well here despite the low-budget look to everything else.

    "Silver Blaze" is also of interest in adding Moriarty, Lestrade, and the Baskervilles to the original story. As Moriarty, Lyn Harding has some screen presence, but he doesn't really make Moriarty seem like the brilliant strategist that you expect him to be - here he is more like a tough guy whom you wouldn't want to cross. His role is mainly used to create some extra suspense sequences. The central mystery itself is an interesting one, with some of the unusual details that you hope for in a Holmes story. Overall, this is a solid if unspectacular feature.
  • comment
    • Author: Winail
    Arthur Wortner appeared as Conan Doyle's great detective in six films, four of which survive today. Silver Blaze was the last one, by which time Wortner was over sixty, although still looking the picture of Holmes as he appeared in the Paget illustrations of Strand Magazine.

    This version of Silver Blaze takes some liberties with the story; it involves Sir Henry Baskerville, plus Professor Moriarty (an engaging and entertaining performance from Lyn Harding), and Colonel Moran from The Empty House. However it retains the same twists and turns which were present in the original story and, as a film, it works very well.

    Filmed on the cheap with obviously faked sets (notably when Holmes and Watson transfer their investigations to 'the moors') it is good to see Wortner's excellent Holmes, sardonic and sharp. Dr Watson is played by Ian Fleming, who is fairly good as well.

    John Turnbull as Lestrade is a good foil for Holmes, and one can sense the level of tolerance and grudging admiration that exists between the two crime-solvers.

    For Sherlockians, this version of Silver Blaze compares well with the one created during the 1980s as part of Granada's TV adaptations, and stands up well in its own right as a B-picture mystery.
  • comment
    • Author: Kale
    Arthur Wontner played Arthur Conan Doyle's famed investigator, Detective Sherlock Holmes, on numerous occasions in the 1930s, and – behind Basil Rathbone – his portrayals are often considered among the best early efforts. Wontner's final Sherlock Holmes film, 'Silver Blaze' was based on Doyle's 1892 short story of the same name, published in the collection, "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes." However, in addition to the basic mystery, director Thomas Bentley and writers H. Fowler Mear and Arthur Macrae (both uncredited) have tossed in a few twists and turns of their own, most notably the addition of Inspector Lestrade, Sir Henry Baskerville, and, of course, Holmes' arch-enemy Professor Moriarty and his ruthless assassin Moran. In 1941, for the film's release in the United States, the title was changed from 'Silver Blaze' to 'Murder at the Baskervilles,' most likely to cash-in on the success of Sidney Lanfield's 'The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939),' which starred Basil Rathbone as Holmes.

    The basic plot of the mystery remains much the same as the original story, though certain details and characters have been added and changed. Whilst Holmes and Dr. Watson (Ian Fleming) are visiting their old friend Sir Henry Baskerville (Lawrence Grossmith), the good-natured by rather dim-witted Inspector Lestrade (John Turnbull) approaches them to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the famous racing horse, Silver Blaze. Just days before an important race, the horse has mysteriously disappeared, and the stable lad who had been looking after him has been fatally poisoned. After following Silver Blaze's subtle footprints in the grass, Holmes happens upon the murdered body of James Straker (Martin Walker), whose family had owned the horse. The prime suspect in the murders – due to some substantial bets he had made against Silver Blaze – is none other than Sir Henry Baskerville's future son-in-law. Holmes, however, feels that there is more to this mystery than meets the eye, and he quickly suspects the evil and cunning Professor Moriarty (Lyn Harding) to be behind it all.

    Arthur Wontner is an excellent Sherlock Holmes, possessing the mild-mannered but shrewdly-brilliant air of Doyle's famous literary character. Based on Sidney Paget's original illustrations for 'The Strand' magazine, he even looks like Sherlock Holmes! He delivers his dialogue with all the calmness and confidence that you'd expect from Holmes. My personal favourite, to Inspector Lestrade, who really has no idea how to proceed with the case: "We're old friends. I should hate to see you make such an ass of yourself as wrongfully to arrest the future son-in-law of Sir Henry Baskerville." Dr. Watson – who doesn't really have much to do until the end of the film – has a pleasant and curious personality, and Ian Fleming (not to be confused with the author of the James Bond novels) brings this very nicely to the screen. Strangely, Fleming somehow reminds me, in his general manner and delivery, of Charles Chaplin in his talkie years.

    Though undoubtedly low-budget, 'Silver Blaze' is a competent Sherlock Holmes mystery, and a pleasant way to spend an hour or so. There are a few ambitious moments; I was most impressed by the scene in which a jockey was shot with Professor Moriarty's trademark silent air-gun whilst riding a horse in full flight. This one is worth a look.
  • comment
    • Author: Yahm
    This is the second Arthur Wontner-Sherlock Holmes movie I saw on a two-sided dollar DVD (The first was The Sign of Four). Silver Blaze has Holmes and Watson (Ian Fleming, no not THAT one!) visiting the Baskerville house to spend a little holiday there. The title character is a horse that a bookie doesn't want to win since he'll lose his shirt if that horse finishes first. Holmes' nemesis Prof. Moriarty (Lyn Harding), for a certain amount, will make sure that won't happen. A bit talky for my tastes until the end when Watson gets...Well, I'll just leave it to anyone who reads this to seek this movie out. The print I saw was a little better looking than The Sign of Four though it still could have used some improvements. Well worth seeing for any Holmes fans or even those who love '30s British pictures.
  • comment
    • Author: Fiarynara
    Dedicated Sherlockians on both sides of the Atlantic used to regard Arthur Wontner as the definitive Holmes. Partly this was reaction against the Basil Rathbone films, with their serial-style WWII plots and the portrait of Watson as a lovably bumbling idiot; Rathbone was admired but the films were blasphemy. By comparison, Wontner's Holmes was visually the absolute picture of the Sidney Paget illustrations that accompanied the original stories in The Strand, and at least some of the six films (not all of which survive) were faithful adaptations of notable Holmes stories not otherwise filmed.

    Then... along came Jeremy Brett (also the picture of the Paget illustrations), and it had to be admitted that the Wontner films were so cheaply made that they really had nothing going for them besides Wontner, and lacked the polish and entertainment value of even the Universal Bs in the Rathbone series. Next to Brett, also, Wontner's Holmes is if anything too genial; he lacks the suffer-no-fools snappishness that is an essential part of Holmes' character. (That's especially odd considering that that's exactly the sort of character Wontner plays in his best-known role outside this series, as an acerbic ambassador in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.) Silver Blaze (a short story padded out much like the Brett series episodes would be) is probably the best of the bunch, and remains watchable but, now, a minor chapter in the saga of Holmes on film next to better movies starring Holmeses such as Basil Rathbone, Robert Stephens, Christopher Plummer, Ian Richardson and, best of all, Jeremy Brett.
  • comment
    • Author: Iseared
    Except for the link to Conan-Doyle, this could be listed among the B outputs of any poverty row studio. And, even with regard to Conan-Doyle, this is more of a pastiche than anything else.

    Twenty years after the matter of the gigantic hound, Sir Henry Baskerville invites Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Wontner) and Dr. Watson (Ian Fleming) to his country estate for a visit. Watson is all for it. He's always prescribing vacations for the obsessive Holmes, even though they often wind up with Holmes glued to a local case of murder, as happened so often to Hercule Poirot.

    Sir Henry has nothing really to do with this case. It's adapted from Conan-Doyle's "Silver Blaze", only with multiple changes, among which the introduction of Professor Moriarty and his sidekick Colonel Moran. I don't think I'll reveal much of the plot except to say that it's chiefly about the disappearance of a favorite horse before an important race, and the apparent murder of his young stable boy or whatever he's called.

    My suggestion is to read the story. It's one of the better ones, and it has a classic exchange about "the curious incident of the dog in the night." "The dog did nothing in the night." "That is the curious incident." As Watsons go, Fleming is decent, not the buffoon of Nigel Bruce. As for Wontner, he resembles the Sidney Paget illustrations as closely as Basil Rathbone did, but he lacks Rathbone's darting glances and crisp, portentous comments. Wontner is more like the fond uncle you invite over for Christmas Eve because he has no place else to go. And, of course, he's not up to the standards set by Jeremy Brett in the Granada series. Nobody is.

    This isn't an important enough movie to go on about at any length. Wontner manages to make some low brow observations, say "elementary, my dear Watson" (twice), smokes a non-canonical pipe. The problem is that this isn't really a story about Sherlock Holmes at all. You could dress all the characters in 1937 fashions, eliminate the familiar names of Holmes, Watson, Baskerville, and the rest -- and what you have is a cheap detective movie of no particular quality. A flabby Moriarty scowls and wobbles his jowls, like any Top Gangster. Colonel Moral is a big thug dressed in a black suit, the muscle of the team with no brains of consequence.

    Really -- read the story.
  • comment
    • Author: Urllet
    Murder at the Baskervilles (1937)

    ** (out of 4)

    Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Wontner) and Dr. Watson (Ian Fleming) investigate a kidnapped horse and the murder of its trainer. Wontner appeared as Holmes in six films, although two are now lost and this one here was the last in the series. I can't say I was really impressed with that much here, although there's one very good sequence when a car is following Holmes and tries to kill him. There's some nice tension in this scene but tension is missing throughout the rest of the film, which moves at a snail's pace. It takes twenty-six minutes for the actual mystery to start and all of the introductions leading up to it are rather bland and boring. The supporting cast doesn't help matters as they add very little to the movie. Wontner on the other hand is quite good as Holmes and he certainly makes me interested in the other films in the series.
  • comment
    • Author: Galubel
    SILVER BLAZE was quite inappropriately retitled "MURDER AT THE BASKERVILLES" when it was released in the US in 1941. though it has nothing much to do with this great Sherlock Holmes story--other than adding the Henry Baskerville character for no apparent reason. Instead, the film is roughly Conan Doyle's "The Silver Blaze"--but with many changes--most notably the addition of Moriarty and Col. Sebastian Moran. Oddly, these characters (especially Moriarty) were included in many Holmes films even though in the books he was only a minor character (the same could be said of Inspector Lestrade). In reality, Moriarty appeared in just a few stories and was ultimately killed in a fight with Holmes mid-way through the series. Unfortunately, the addition of Moriarty didn't do much to bring excitement to the film and this master criminal seemed inexplicably involved in a very petty case that seems beneath his genius.

    I really don't want to describe the plot--others have done so and IMDb has a summary. Instead, it's important to talk about the overall effort. The film was made by a "poverty row" studio (Astor Films) and sure bears the earmarks of such a cheap film. Many of the outdoor scenes are clearly sets--and not very good ones. The acting is okay, but combined with a rather dull script and music, it just seems to have no life. Now I am not necessarily blaming those who played Holmes and Watson. Holmes was much closer to the books than the flamboyant character played by Basil Rathbone and Ian Fleming managed to play a decent Watson--not a total idiot like he was in many films (though not in the books). While their performances were decent, they cannot hold a candle to the Granada Television series of the 1980s--the Jeremy Brett series was just perfect and the scripts stayed extremely close to the brilliant original stories.

    So overall, this is a very watchable but jumbled film plot-wise. The acting is okay--not great but not bad, however the whole thing lacks energy. Worth seeing if you are a Holmes fan, but otherwise you'll probably find the whole thing a bit dull.
  • comment
    • Author: Mejora
    (Some Spoilers) Going to a well deserved vacation at the Baskerville Manor, the sight of one of his most famous cases some 20 years earlier, Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Wootner, and his long time friend and aid Dr. John H. Watson, Ian Flemming,have anything but free time to rest and relax there. Not far from the Baskerville Home there's a racetrack and it's to have it's biggest race of the meet that weekend, The Barchester Cup, with the much heralded horse Sliver Blaze the very heavy betting favorite. Unknown to everyone in and out of the track the brilliantly evil Prof. Moriarty, Lyn Harding, is involved to make sure that Silver Blaze does not only lose the race but is not even on the track the day the big race is to be run.

    Being contacted by big time British bookie Miles Standford, Gilbert Davis, and given $10,000.00 to make sure that Silver Blaze is out of the winner circle at the end of the Barchester Cup race Moriarty goes to work overtime to make sure that it happens. Big-time bookie Stanford will end up broke if Silver Blaze win the race since he doesn't have the cash to cover all the winning bets he has on the racehorse. Things start to go into motion days before the race with the stable boy of Silver Blaze found dead and the horse gone. Later the trainer James Straker, Martin Walker, of Silver Blaze in found dead on the moors outside Baskerville Manor with his neck broken. Holmes in his usual and brilliant way picks up the clues that everyone else on the case missed including police inspector Lasterade, John Turnball. Like Sherlock Holmes tells him: "You see what I see but I trained myself to notice what I see".

    Holmes deduces that the groom of Silver Blaze died from an overdose of opium that was put in his curry dinner meal that night at the stable by non other the Silver Blaze's trainer James Straker. Straker taking Silver Blaze out to the secluded moors outside the stables tried to cut the horses tendon with a surgical knife so it would break down during the race. The equine instead reared up and broke his neck with a well placed kick killing him.

    Finding the horse disguised with his silver blaze across his face colored over with black paint Silver Blaze is entered into the Barchester Cup race only to have his jockey shot, with a hidden air-gun inside a newsreel camera, off the horse during the race thus losing it. Holmes later using Dr. Watson as bait, to find and trap Prof. Moriarty, who's pistol-whipped and taken prisoner blindfolded to the Moriatry hideout by one of his goons Moran, Arthur Goullet.

    Afer receiving his $10,000.00 from Stanford for getting Silver Blaze to lose the race Prof. Moriarty has Watson about to be dropped 80 feet to his death Sherlock Holmes and the police comes to Watson's rescue and take Moriarty and his goons, as well as Stanford, into custody.

    As prof. Moriarty is taken away by the police at the end of the movie he gives the usual "I'll Be Back" speech that you get from movie villains as their arrested at the end of a crime/murder movie. Prof. Moriarty has been coming back, in dozens of Sherlock Holmes films, ever since.
  • comment
    • Author: furious ox
    This is about on par with the lowest of the Monogram films that the U.S. produced during the '40s--however, it's a British B-film with little to recommend it.

    Holmes is played by sharp-featured Arthur Wontner (who bears somewhat of a resemblance to Basil Rathbone) and Ian Fleming is a suave version of Dr. Watson. Unfortunately, Lyn Harding is a very unimpressive figure as Professor Moriarty.

    The story taken from "Silver Blaze," left me uninvolved with its racetrack background. The TCM presentation begins with an announcement that the film has been restored, but you'd never know it. The soundtrack is poor with much of the British dialog unintelligible and the scenes themselves are murky and poorly photographed.

    I lost count of how many times Wontner says, "Elementary, my dear Watson," but let's just say this will never rank as one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes stories.

    Summing up: A feeble exercise in mystery that seems longer than its one hour and six minutes.
  • comment
    • Author: The Rollers of Vildar
    Arthur Wontner as Holmes is virtually the only reason to see this film, although it would be a passable time-filler even without him. The production values are erratic, sometimes convincing, sometimes shoestring, but the choppy print doesn't really help.

    Wontner certainly looked like The Strand's Man, but I find his portrayals almost too eccentric to swallow easily. His devouring of tobacco smoke was made great play of at the beginning, but as the story kicks in we're treated to his more analytical and serious side in the solving of a murder and a mysterious death on the Moors. You've got to admire the effrontery of someone who can identify a horse's horseshoes and pick out and track them miles across the Moors to where a body lay!

    Having just seen Come on George, made 2 years later than this, I found it disconcerting to hear the stableman Ronald Shiner referred to as a "boy" - was he ever? I would have thought that both Rathbone and Bruce must have seen this series of films, if only for reference, but LeStrade is pronounced LeStrayed here (as it was later on in the Jeremy Brett UK TV series). Favourite bit: Holmes and LeStrade reaching hearty agreement on clearing Trevor's name from guilt. First time of watching, but hopefully I'll come back again sometime for a second helping.
  • comment
    • Author: Whitemaster
    Silver Blaze is also known as Murder at the Baskervilles, starring Arthur Wonter. He was Sherlock Holmes in five of Doyle's murder mysteries. The sound is pretty terrible, but it is going on a hundred years, so one can't complain. Ian Fleming (the one that ISN'T James Bond...) is Doctor Watson. Lyn Harding is the evil Professor Moriarty. and shenanigans at the horse-races. This one moves a little slower than some of the others. When Mr. Straker ends up croaked, it's up to Holmes to figger it out. and Silver Blaze is actually the horse. which is missing. Directed by Brit Thomas Bentley; he was in vaudeville, moved into early silent films, and continued in talkies for another ten years. He had worked with Wontner for years! This one is just okay. lots of talking. currently showing on Film Detectives channel.
  • comment
    • Author: Broadcaster
    Am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and get a lot of enjoyment out of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. Also love Basil Rathbone's and especially Jeremy Brett's interpretations to death. So would naturally see any Sherlock Holmes adaptation that comes my way, regardless of its reception.

    Furthermore, interest in seeing early films based on Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and wanting to see as many adaptations of any Sherlock Holmes stories as possible sparked my interest in seeing 'Silver Blaze', part (the last in fact) of the series of film with Arthur Wontner. Would also see anything that has Holmes encountering his arch-nemesis Professor Moriaty.

    'Silver Blaze', not just a straight adaptation of just this particular story, but with elements of other Holmes stories (with the interesting inclusion of Moriaty and the Baskervilles) too, is very much worthwhile. Not one of the best Sherlock Holmes adaptations certainly, the best of the Jeremy Brett adaptations and films of Basil Rathone fit under this category. It's also not among the worst, being much better than any of the Matt Frewer films (particularly 'The Sign of Four') and the abominable Peter Cook 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.

    It's not perfect. The sound quality is less than great, while some of the pace could have been tighter, especially at the start as it does take too long to get going.

    Some of the dialogue unnecessarily rambles a bit in a particularly talky outing in the Wontner Holmes films, and the low budget limitations do show in the production values (other than some nice shots the film looks pretty cheap, the cheapest looking of the Wontner Holmes films).

    However, there are some nice interesting shots that stop the film from looking completely cheap. The writing generally is thought-provoking, Holmes' deductions and crime solving are a huge part of the fun as well as very true in detail and spirit to Conan Doyle's writing, the mystery elements are intact, there are moments of suspense and the story is intriguing and not hard to follow.

    Arthur Wontner may technically have been too old for Holmes but he did not look too old and his portrayal is on the money, handling the personality and mannerisms of the character spot on without over-doing or under-playing. Ian Fleming is a charming, loyal, intelligent and amusing Watson, with nice chemistry between him and Wontner, really liked his inferior attempts at deduction. The support is competent without being outstanding or as memorable, Lyn Harding's Moriaty comes off best.

    Overall, worth watching and decently solid if not great. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • comment
    • Author: Vizuru
    Don't expect anything much, apart from a stiff performance by Wontner as a Sherlock fond of disguises, but deficient in acting. This plot involves a race-horse and the solution of a conspiracy designed to drug the horse so that he does not win a big race.

    The action moves awkwardly from inside to a studio-bound exterior shot and back again. It looks what it is - a shoddy effort designed to milk Wontner's status as one of the screen's most famous Sherlocks.
  • comment
    • Author: MOQ
    This Arthur Wontner / Sherlock Holmes film is not all that bad but it's not the greatest Holmes film on the market. And I find it's not as good as the title suggests or sounds like it would be but it is still fun little ditty to watch! Here we have Sherlock and Doc Watson on a case of murder and a stolen horse named Silver Blaze. Sherlock suspects his old nemesis Professor Moriarty to be behind it all. But why does Moriarty want Silver Blaze badly enough to murder the stable boy? What are his diabolical plans this time? A pretty good morning murder mystery to watch with a cup of coffee! Not a bad way to wake up.

    7/10
  • comment
    • Author: Thohelm
    Wontner's last film in his series, Silver Blaze (1937) or Murder at the Baskervilles, I regard as his best. The ingenious script by Arthur Macrae (who also plays the young lead with considerable charisma), H. Fowler Mear and Wontner himself, not only adheres with reasonable fidelity to Conan Doyle's story, but also introduces a clever framing device which allows for a final demise of Professor Moriarty (who had clearly met his end in the previous entry; but there was no way a picturegoer's memory would stretch over two years, so why not?). And moreover, it was directed by Dickensian expert, Thomas Bentley. Dickens? Well, after all, there are significant caricatural or Dickensian qualities about Holmes, Watson, Moriarty and company, to say nothing of the way the heroine is so short-changed and has so little to do or say. Judy Gunn, in her final of twelve movies, plays so fleeting a role, she is way down the credits. But look at some of the other supporting characters here: D.J. Williams as Silas Brown has only the one scene – but what an impression he makes! Of course the support player everyone greets with delight is none other than Ronald Shiner. Although far away from his glory days as Britain's number one most popular star and biggest box office draw in the early 1950s, Shiner still shines even at this early stage (if you can call it early. He'd already made 16 films). Williams and Shiner are so Dickensian, it hurts! True, Bentley handles the action in a somewhat perfunctory fashion. He's no Yak Canutt certainly. But overall this Silver Blaze is a polished, pleasing production. And best of all, it enjoys the highest quality of the available Wontner DVDs, with a nice clear sound track and well-defined images.
  • comment
    • Author: Goldenfang
    Just caught this as a restored version on TCM. I thought the most interesting (or comment-worthy) aspect of this film was the use of camera by director Thomas Bentley. Some interesting shots (low angle of Moriarty as he enters his new lair), tracking/dolly shots that tie aspects of the scenes together (dolly along the Baskerville terrace when Holmes arrives) and quick pans which bring characters together in scenes. Although I don't consider myself an expert on this period of production, I generally find many lower-budget films of this era were fairly static visually. It definitely improved my enjoyment of the film as a Holmes fan.
  • comment
    • Author: Went Tyu
    To bring back Baskerville Hall as nothing more than a location, not use it as a significant part of the plot is a disappointment. The movie is really about a horse racing Sherlock Holmes episode called "Silver Blaze." Professor Moriarity has great interest in a horse, which will bring him an incredible amount of money. He hires some henchmen to do his bidding, but once again Sherlock interrupts his dealings. The movie wanders about, part the story of the horse, the other the mania of Moriarity. Holmes sort of poses for the camera and makes pronouncements. It's never quite clear how he solves the crime, but he does, of course. It's worth watching, just to see Arthur Wontner looking so much like those illustrations from the Strand. Watson is also a bit formidable. The rest of the cast is sort of thrown in there. The final scene isn't so final.
  • comment
    • Author: black coffe
    Wontner is not my favourite Holmes; to me he seems a bit nondescript altogether. The storyline of this movie of course is well-known and follows, if not exactly but pretty closely the story of the same name in the canon. There is just a whiff of EMPTY HOUSE in it, with Col. Moran using the famous air gun on Holmes. What's a bit odd is the inclusion of Sir Henry Baskerville (presumably because the story is set in Dartmoor) and what's even weirder is Baskerville's adult daughter who has a minor role in the story (but where's Beryl I wonder? Or maybe she isn't the mother....). Then of course we have the omnipresent and stereotypical Professor Moriarty (who was given the first name 'Robert' **ROFL**!!!) but I think he doesn't come across very convincingly. All in all watchable but average.
  • comment
    • Author: Ynonno
    Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming reprise their Holmes and Watson roles, once again foiling a plot by the villainous Professor Moriarty (Lyn Harding) and his top henchman Moran (Arthur Goullet). This time around, the story involves a murder and the theft of a race horse in an effort to insure that a big time gambler doesn't lose his shirt if the opposition horse wins.

    Holmes achieves particular delight in putting down Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade (John Turnbull), but in this film, Lestrade seems to realize what Holmes is doing. His look of exasperation is evident when Holmes utters the line quoted in the summary above. On the flip side, what's missing this time around is the philosophical debate between the detective and his nemesis Moriarty. They meet only at the end of the film when Moriarty is discovered and captured at his secret hideout. Quite honestly, I was expecting Moriarty to fall to an expected demise in the empty elevator shaft, as he did not once or twice, but three times going up against the sleuth (The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and The Secret Weapon, and The Woman in Green).

    There are similar elements in this film that were also used in the prior year's "Charlie Chan at the Race Track" (champion horse with an altered appearance, use of a weapon at the end of the race, big time money resting on the outcome), but the stories diverge from there. They merge once again though as the case is solved by each film's ranking detective.

    I'd be a little critical of Sherlock Holmes' method in this one however. He relies on an old horseshoe belonging to Silver Blaze to make an exact match with a grassy outline in a moor a distance from the Baskerville Castle. Sure it fits, but so would just about any other horse shoe - sounds a lot like a ringer to me.
  • comment
    • Author: Chillhunter
    Not being, frankly speaking, a 'real' Sherlock Holmes fanatic (Hercule Poirot's more in my line, though he's pretty queer as well; but he DOES have that 'continental' charm), during the fifth and last movie in which Arthur Wontner portrays the famous sleuth (and he's REALLY brought the role to perfection by now), there are moments when he begins to get on my nerves with his constant line 'Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary!", his impossible observations and deductions, and his obsession with his arch-enemy Moriarty... But let's not do this film any wrong!

    It's a very well written, directed and acted crime mystery (in fact, with a plot feature that's REALLY stunning, although in fact it's so obvious - IF you deduce correctly...), with some beautiful shots of Dartmoor, where Holmes returns to the 'scene of the crime': he visits Sir Henry Baskerville, whom he had saved 20 years ago from the horrible hound; and becomes involved in the local horse racing scene, getting a chance to have a close look at the almost sure derby winner, 'Silver Blaze'. But Moriarty back in London at the same time agrees to a deal with a bookmaker who under NO circumstances wants 'Silver Blaze' to win - and so, soon Holmes and Watson find themselves in the middle of a strange mystery of murder and horse kidnapping...

    As I pointed out before, Arthur Wontner probably was the most characteristic 'Sherlock Holmes' ever, even more so than Basil Rathbone (he's only better remembered because he did a whole series of 15 Holmes movies for Hollywood's 20th Century-Fox Studios); and it's certainly worth taking a look at those older, genuinely British Doyle adaptations!
  • comment
    • Author: Kagda
    Silver Blaze finds Sherlock Holmes and the ever present Dr. Watson back at Baskerville Hall seen of their greatest case. Apparently Sir Henry Baskerville gives them free run of the joint in gratitude for saving his life back in The Hounds of the Baskerville case. Anyway no sooner are they there than the murder of a stable-boy and the theft of a prize race horse happen and suspicion falls on the Baskerville son-in-law.

    On the other side of the pond Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming did a few Sherlock Holmes films and are as known there as Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are here. The horse itself is found on the moor where that infamous hound used to prowl, apparently none the worse for wear. But that's only the beginning.

    Wontner and Fleming are certainly the equal of Rathbone and Bruce. Except for a couple of the early films, the Rathbone/Bruce films were B films the same as this British production so the quality is about the same.

    Professor Moriarty is at the bottom of things here as you note by the cast list. This Moriarty believes in taking direct action and does try to eliminate Holmes before he spoils the Professor's foul scheme.

    My criticism of the film is that in fact Moriarty is grafted into the screenplay. The original novel does not have him in it. I'm not a Holmes expert, but it seems to me that Moriarty always went in for bigger schemes than fixing horse races.

    Still it's a good Sherlock Holmes mystery well worth Americans viewing a British view of their conception of the greatest sleuth in history who happens to be one of their's.
  • comment
    • Author: Ausstan
    Enjoyed this 1937 film version of Sherlock Holmes, (Arthur Wontner) and Ian Fleming, (Dr. Watson) who are both on vacation and are invited to Sir. Baskedervilles who has a very great horse called Silver Blaze and Sherlock finds out the horse is entered in an important horse race and has disappeared and the trainer has been murdered. Holmes and Dr. Watson find out that Professor Moriarty is behind this horse theft in order to stop Silver Blaze from ever winning the race and Moriarty has also managed to view the horse race and had one of his henchman fire shots at the jockey running the race. I must say, that I really enjoyed Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce who in later years appeared in their 1940's film version of Sherlock Holmes same story.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Arthur Wontner Arthur Wontner - Sherlock Holmes
    Ian Fleming Ian Fleming - Dr. Watson
    Lyn Harding Lyn Harding - Professor Moriarty
    John Turnbull John Turnbull - Inspector Lestrade
    Robert Horton Robert Horton - Col. Ross
    Lawrence Grossmith Lawrence Grossmith - Sir Henry Baskerville
    Judy Gunn Judy Gunn - Diana Baskerville
    Arthur Macrae Arthur Macrae - Jack Trevor
    Arthur Goullet Arthur Goullet - Col. Sebastian Moran
    Martin Walker Martin Walker - James Straker
    Eve Gray Eve Gray - Mrs. Mary Straker
    Gilbert Davis Gilbert Davis - Miles Stanford
    Minnie Rayner Minnie Rayner - Mrs. Hudson
    D.J. Williams D.J. Williams - Silas Brown
    Ralph Truman Ralph Truman - Bert Prince
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