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Sherlock Holmes [Blu-ray] [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: Silent, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • Release Date: Dec 13 2011
  • ASIN: B005SDB7S8

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Comparing the Blu-ray to the DVD, slight picture improvement & trailers added. Nov. 29 2011
By Paul J. Mular - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
Comparing the new Blu-ray to the old DVD shows that there are two main, but slight, improvements.
First: The black levels have been raised a little, just enough to bring out details that are hard to see in the old DVD but not enough to make it look washed out. (The same player was used for both discs so it is not a player issue.)
Second: The framing shows just a sliver more picture on all sides. I first noticed this when you can see the film frame line move into the picture and move back out. This is no doubt the result of image stabilization which was masked off in the DVD presentation.

A good frame to compare the presentations on is at 04:14 into the movie. An interior office shot with two men at a desk. At the top of the picture the two books on the mantle piece are completely in view on the Blu-ray, but the DVD cuts off the top of the second book. Likewise there is a knob at the bottom of the picture that gets cut off slightly in the DVD. The right side of the picture is in dark shadows, but on the black-adjusted Blu-ray you can see details of a chair and other objects that are hard to see in the darker DVD.

And yes, Blu-ray has more resolution than DVD so on a big screen the image will look sharper. On a 32" TV you will not notice the difference.

Yes, Kino has technically added some bonus material, 3 theatrical re-issue trailers.
1) Moroder's Metropolis
2) The Complete Metropolis
3) Battleship Potemkin
These are the trailers that recently ran at theaters to promote that theater's showings of Kino's new restored versions.

There is a nice reproduction of a trade magazine ad for the Sherlock Holmes movie on the reverse side of the cover insert that was not on the DVD. And the new menu shows stills from the movie, some may just be frame grabs while others are probably from trade ads.

Other minor changes are a new revised Kino Classics/Kino Lorber logo replacing the old Kino International logo, and a fancier FBI warning logo.

Quite frankly I was surprised to see John Barrymore's Sherlock Holmes come out on Blu-ray, the original film material was not in that great of shape. My first hope was that some of the missing footage was found, not so. Is there reason to re-invest in a Blu-ray copy if you already have the DVD, maybe. The improved details in the shadows do make the movie more enjoyable, but if you are happy with the picture quality of your DVD there is no big reason to upgrade.

For the side-by-side comparison I ran only the first 6 minutes of each presentation on the same Sony Blu-ray player and monitor. I do have an advance review copy. If there is a glaring difference later on in the movie i will update my review.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Great To Have On DVD But Wish Movie Was Better. June 30 2009
By Chip Kaufmann - Published on
Format: DVD
I have looked forward to having John Barrymore's SHERLOCK HOLMES on DVD for quite some time. I had seen the movie before but only in a wretched public domain VHS which was so dark that most of the film was hard to make out. It's also hard to follow because it's based on the William Gillette play which takes several liberties with Conan Doyle's original source material. Like the play, the film is problematic in many ways. Though atmospherically lit, the camerawork is rather static and the direction is often ponderous. To be fair, this restoration by the George Eastman House is 24 minutes shorter than the original and this could be a case of where the missing footage makes it seem longer. There are obvious gaps and the film just doesn't flow right.

The biggest problem with this release as far as I'm concerned is the use of Ben Model's virtual organ score. Model is a fine musician who has enhanced many a silent film but this is a movie that badly needs an orchestral score to cover its deficiencies. This score, while well played and well recorded, failed to keep my interest. Still the movie is definitely worth having for the performances alone. In addition to Barrymore you get to see early turns by William Powell (his first), Roland Young (as Dr. Watson), Carole Dempster (away from D.W. Griffith), Hedda Hopper before she became a columnist, and Gustav von Seyffertitz as the ideal Moriarty. SHERLOCK HOLMES is part of Kino's new 4 DVD JOHN BARRYMORE COLLECTION but it can be purchased separately.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A different and silent Sherlock July 25 2009
By Barbara Underwood - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of several early, silent film versions of the ever-popular detective, and one that lives up to the original and traditional trademarks and characteristics of Sherlock Holmes. In just under 90 minutes, this fast-moving drama takes us from the beginning of Sherlock's career as a freelance sleuth helping out Scotland Yard, meeting his arch enemy, Professor Moriarty, and finishing with the capture of the infamous evildoer after forty crime cases Holmes had worked on over the years. But rather than the typical murders and crimes we are used to today, the story of this 1922 version revolves only around one particular case of a theft and consequent set-up of a European Prince, as well as letters to his betrothed which are later the object of a blackmail attempt. Even so, Holmes puts into action his famous (and often humorous) astute observations and deductive reasoning with his loyal companion, Doctor Watson, and even disguises himself as Moriarty in order to trap the villain once and for all.

What might seem like a somewhat dull and plodding story to modern audiences is given extra appeal and zest by some of the stars, in particular of course, its famous star, John Barrymore. Although this role as Sherlock Holmes doesn't present many opportunities for Barrymore to shine and show off his usual charisma and talents, he does step into the part of Holmes quite well, even if it takes a little getting used to at first. A good villain is also important in stories like this one, and the sinister Moriarty is perfectly portrayed by the brilliant character actor, Gustav von Seyffertitz, who played an impressive array of varied characters, good and evil, throughout the silent era. Also thrown into the mix to attract a wider audience is Carol Dempster, famous for being D.W. Griffith's leading lady in a number of 1920s films, who plays a small but significant role as Sherlock's love interest, adding a twist not expected in the standard Sherlock Holmes mystery. Other viewers might find it of interest to see William Powell, perhaps best remembered for the Thin Man series of movies in the 1930s and 1940s, in his screen debut in "Sherlock Holmes" as Forman Wells, also playing a small yet important role in assisting Holmes.

The picture quality is overall quite good, though perhaps not as outstanding as many other silent films from the early 1920s issued on Kino, and the music is a very good organ score composed and played by Ben Model, who has performed many fine organ accompaniments to silent films. There are no bonus or special features on this DVD, and it is part of a four-DVD set by Kino of John Barrymore silent films, and as part of such a collection "Sherlock Holmes" is an important addition to highlight Barrymore's earlier and unusual roles. On its own, it would be of special interest for Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts in particular, and some knowledge of the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would no doubt help in appreciating this particular silent version.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An Underrated Silent Gem Jan. 30 2015
By London Fog - Published on
Format: DVD
An outstanding example of early cinema that should appeal to any aficionado of the silent era, this 1922 film also proves its merit as a serious Holmesian adaptation. While there is no question liberties have been taken with characterization, a testament to the fact it was heavily based on William Gilette's infamous stage play, remarkably enough, those changes flow well with both the character and plot, so that this version of the Great Detective's exploits is actually not so Canonically dubious as this purist had originally imagined it might be.

Featuring one of the most mesmerizing actors to fill the exalted role of Sherlock Holmes, John Barrymore's portrayal cannot be overlooked. True, the acting was above par, the plot strikingly complex, but he slips into the character so thoroughly, sans all those extraneous trappings not found in the stories, which would later become synonymous with Holmes due to the innumerable other actors who left their mark, even the love aspect becomes tolerable - if not believable. It is obvious Barrymore is deriving a monumental portion of his inspiration from Canon, because while there /is/ a love interest for him in the form of Alice Faulkner, his Holmes remains a thinker, his deductions and solutions deeply motivated in intellectualism. And make no mistake, while it does involve a romance, it is more of a background sub-plot, and this film is decidedly not a love-story.

On that account, though, being such an early example, Barrymore has mainly the books to gain insight from, and that is apparent in the way in which he plays a Sherlock Holmes under the spell of Cupid's arrow. His Holmes is obviously head over heels, but still manages to come off as tentatively innocent, quietly reserved about what must be an overwhelming emotion for one so accustomed to repressing them. He is blessedly free of theatricality, truly the "quiet thinker of Baker Street".

As a general rule, I normally find romance to be off-putting character assassination, but developing it as he did with the confines of how Holmes might react without losing his formidable acumen, Barrymore not only convinced me it could have happened in such a way, but also made it quite endearing. From a personal standpoint, he epitomized Sherlock Holmes for me that well. As did the film itself, its plot strikingly complex, with the entirety of it reminiscent of several Canon stories. I even lost count of how many deductions and snippets of dialogue it paid homage to. And cleverly, too, with a Moriarty that was given a prominent presence and was possibly one of the most ominously creepy Napoleon of Crimes to grace the silver screen until Eric Porter later epitomized the role.

Roland Young, unlike others who would follow shortly thereafter, portrays a capable, multifaceted Watson who is a schoolmate of Holmes' at Cambridge, as is Prince Alexis, who has been wrongly accused of theft and petitions the doctor for help. Watson, of course, petitions Holmes to look into the matter, where he sees Moriarty's hand, but is at the present unable to thwart the Professor. After the initial case is resolved - or rather, covered up by Moriarty - Holmes loses sympathy for the Prince regarding his ill treatment of his fiance, who also happens to be the sister of Alice Faulkner. There both his interest in her and that case will lie to rest until many years later, when he learns Moriarty is out to harm Miss Faulkner, who intends to use letters of her sister to blackmail the Prince (a la SCAN), letters he wants for his own nefarious purposes...

In summation; intricate plotting, a (apologies, but I must admit it) satisfying romance, competent Dr Watson, Barrymore's eccentric, cerebral Holmes who epitomizes the character, intelligent "dialogue" that did not require the complete cessation of neuronal activity, and one pretty impressive Moriarty, made for an extremely enjoyable silent film which is, from a personal standpoint, deserving of being ranked alongside other Holmesian classics. My only complaint is that Watson, while faithful to the man described in the original stories, his relationship with Holmes ringing true, was shamefully underused here. If that were not the case, I would be hard pressed to say this were not the greatest underrated film adaption. As it stands, its definitely one of the better ones, and really should be viewed by those who love the silents and serious Holmesians alike.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Silent Sherlock Holmes June 26 2013
By Scrapple8 - Published on
Format: DVD
Silent films are not the best medium for Sherlock Holmes cases, because his deductive inferences require reasoning from which you see. While Sherlock Holmes and the audience may see the same thing, it misses the point of the stories if his inferences are nor clearly explained to us. Holmes was so popular, though, that the opportunity to put him on the silver screen was irresistible. A young John Barrymore grabbed the title role in this 1922 movie directed by Albert Parker.

The action is based on the stage version of Sherlock Holmes by William Gillette. You can still find elements of the story that are ground in the original cases by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but the case as a whole is hard to follow, even with dialogue boards added throughout the movie. This is, I believe, a limitation of the medium of communication.

Early in the film there is a scene where Holmes is pondering the science of deduction. The list of his limitations is taken from the famous list of Doctor Watson in A Study in Scarlet. The ability to discover a man's height by the length of his stride is also discussed in `A Study In Scarlet.' During his studies in curiosity, Holmes falls from a window as the beautiful Alice Faulker, played by Carol Dempster, was riding by in a carriage. Faulkner provides the love-interest for Holmes in this silent film.

Ironically, Sherlock Holmes never had a love interest in the cases. A later scene, where he keeps a photo of Rose Faulkner to remind him of her sister Alice, has a similar moment in `A Scandal in Bohemia.' Bohemia was the first of the Sherlock Holmes short stories. When Holmes tells Watson that married life agrees with him, that line and the anecdote about the servant girl also comes from `A Scandal in Bohemia.' The deduction about Watson moving the table because of his shaving habits is from `The Boscombe Valley Mystery.' Both short stories were collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first of his collection of short stories.

The old man disguise in the movie was a famous scene in The Sign of Four. Holmes, of course, was master of disguise. The majority of the film focuses on the villain Professor Moriarty, who is fully described in the short story `The Final Problem,' an influential short story that all Sherlock Holmes fans ought to read. The German actor who played the Professor does not look like the man described in The Final Problem, but he was acceptable as a villain. The United States spent millions of dollars in propaganda during World War I to paint the Huns as villains; as a result, actors with German names received steady work typecast as villains during the Roaring Twenties. From his opening scene, the viewer instantly recognized Professor Moriarty as a villain.

The Final Problem was a short story from the collection entitled The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Two other cases from the Memoirs, the Gloria Scott and Musgrave Ritual, describe the young detective Sherlock Holmes as a student, who worked on cases introduced to him by fellow students. Those details provide the background for the beginning of this film.

A minor Holmes assistant named Billy the page appeared in The Valley of Fear, one of the four Sherlock Holmes novellas. Billy also appeared in the Mazarin Stone, a case which was released the year before this movie was made.

The movie had enough references to the Sherlock Holmes cases of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to interest this viewer. The story itself, as it appeared in the silent movie format, appeared disjointed and not easy to follow. The quality of the film was good; Kino did a nice job of restoration on the movie.