The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes, 1935 film
This is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Valley of Fear". Dr. Watson is moving in, Holmes is moving out for his retirement. Professor Moriarity visits to wish him "a pleasant and permanent retirement". Moriarity commands respect from his client, and is offered $50,000 for the job (about £10,000). The owner of a house goes downstairs to check the doors and windows. A letter to Holmes has a coded message. "Something sinister is afoot." Inspector Lestrade visits with news of a murder at Birlstone Castle. Holmes and Watson go there to investigate. The body of Mr. Douglas has a brand on the arm. The murderer took the wedding ring from Douglas. Lestrade questions the people there. [Does the wife seem sad?] That brand is the mark of the "Scourers", a secret society. Widow Douglas tells their history in America.
She met Jack Murdock in America. Ted Bolding didn't like him. Jack hears about the Ancient Order of Freemen, and how the local branch differs from every other town. Jack is there to see McGinty and make his acquaintance. A policeman warns Jack, this makes him acceptable to the others. They plan to work over the local newspaper editor. Councilman McGinty visits him just before the police arrest him. Murdock gets in tight with the Scourers, but he can't leave just yet. The arrival of a Pinkerton Detective causes Jack to leave town quickly. He warns the others and gathers them all into a room for a showdown. There is a big surprise! Birdy Edwards arrives with the police. The gang went to the gallows, Bolding alone got life but later escaped. So "Mr. & Mrs. Douglas" fled to another country. So is this case settled? What about the missing dumbbell?
Can an umbrella be used in fishing? Barker and Mrs. Douglas laugh over their behavior. [Suspicious?] Holmes looks into the moat. Watson explains his certainty that Mrs. Douglas and Barker did the murder. The missing dumbbell solves the mystery! The passage of time can be measured by a candle. Recreating the crime exposes the time element and the flaw in their story. At night Holmes resolves the crime by finding a missing person. [This was done better in the book!] Holmes explains his deduction. Then they wait for another visitor. Can Moriarity escape capture? There is a long drop to the moat.
The original story was changed in its details. [This is to attract the audience that read the book.] Doyle heard about this story by talking to the owner of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and used it to create this long story. If you research the history of the 1876 Coal Wars in the Anthracite region you will learn the real history of this era and the Reading Railroad. This clever story points out how easy it is to jump to a wrong conclusion when you depend on circumstantial evidence. Holmes does not make such mistakes. [Do you wonder how a private detective amassed a great fortune so he could buy a castle in England? Was the hidden agenda of this story and "A Study in Scarlet" designed to discourage emigration to America?]