Although Edward Arnold was allegedly spotted by a viewer as an uncredited member of Moriarty's gang, this identification is dubious. When Arnold joined Essanay in late 1915, he was already important enough to play only credited leading roles, and did so steadily there for the next year, mostly in social dramas, such as the 16-episode series "Is Marriage Sacred?" (1916); therefore, it's highly unlikely he would have condescended to play an uncredited henchman in this one, as suggested by the contributor of this information. UPDATE: After two screenings in San Francisco and the Library of Congress, numerous audience members agree that it is in fact Arnold. Perhaps he was not working at the moment and did the small role as a favor to Essanay (his scenes could easily have been shot in one or two days). See more »
The sign outside Dr. (John) Watson's office reads G. WATSON, M.D. Either nobody noticed the art director's mistake or, more likely, they didn't want to go to the time and expense of making a new sign. See more »
There are two things to recommend this film. First of all, it is in marvelous condition for something made in 1916. Secondly, we get to see the famous William Gilette, who played the great detective over 1000 times on the stage. This version is the stage version, sans most of the dialogue. The story is a bit confusing at first, but it involves a young woman whose sister had an affair with royalty. She has letters that would prove embarrassing to a prince. Holmes has been hired to get those letters (like in "A Scandal in Bohemia"). There are a man and his wife, the Larabees, who also want to get their hands on those letters in order to turn a profit. Enter Moriarity, Holmes' arch rival. There are a series of ridiculous plots that don't work because people are stupid. The young woman is clueless. She also becomes a love interest for Holmes. This is out of bounds in the canon. One thing lacking is that Holmes is uninteresting and dull. He is coy and sad. His overconfidence is his greatest trait and he has none of that here. Still, as a period piece, it is fun.
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