18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
"One of the first principles of solving crime is never to disregard anything no matter how trivial",
This review is from: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection (5DVD) (DVD)XXXXX
"Sherlock Holmes, the immortal character of fiction created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [1859 to 1930], is ageless, invincible, and timeless.
In solving significant problems of the present day he remains--as ever--the supreme master of deductive reasoning."
The above printed introduction is found the in the first couple of movies in this fully restored collection of fourteen classic black and white movies (released in 2006) starring Basil Rathbone as the great detective with his loveable sidekick Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce). All movies were preserved by the UCLA film and television archive. They are presented on five discs with three movies per disc (except for the fifth disc that contains two movies).
The movies are presented in the order in which they were originally released. There titles are as follows:
(1) The Hound of the Baskervilles (a personal favorite)
(2) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (a personal favorite)
(3) Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (I liked this least)
(4) Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
(5) Sherlock Holmes in Washington
(6) Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
(7) The Spider Woman
(8) The Scarlet Claw (a personal favorite)
(9) The Pearl of Death
(10) The House of Fear (a personal favorite)
(11) The Woman in Green
(12) Pursuit to Algiers
(13) Terror by Night
(14) Dressed to Kill (a personal favorite)
All the movies were released between 1939 and 1946. The advantage of having these movies presented in order is that the viewer can see how the series evolved over time.
For example, the printed introduction mentioned above was phased out early. Another good example is that many movies had a printed war bonds advertisement at their end that stated the following:
"You're not giving--just lending--when you buy war saving stamps and bonds--on sale here."
These ads were gradually phased out.
The total length for each movie is between 60 and 75 minutes with the exception of the first two movies which both last about 80 minutes.
All movies have between 12 and 13 scenes each with three exceptions. Two movies have 11 scenes while one has 14.
All movies (with two exceptions) are either "based on a story" or "based on the characters" or "adapted from a story" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For those who have read the actual stories, it is more accurate to say "loosely based" or "loosely adapted." If you want to see movies based accurately on Doyle's stories, I recommend seeing those movies with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.
An invaluable aspect of this collection is that six of the movies have interesting and informative commentaries. I certainly learned a lot from them (as I'm sure any serious Sherlockian will).
The fifth disc has "Additional Bonus Material." Included here are five photo galleries where the camera pans over still pictures of scenes from each movie (with accompanying background music). Each gallery is 2 ' minutes in length. As well, there are six original theatrical trailers (not restored) that together have a total time of 7 minutes. Finally, there is some very old footage of "novelist and spiritualist" Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that lasts just over 1 minute.
All of this bonus material, though brief, is extremely interesting.
Perhaps the best reason for obtaining this particular collection is that these movies have been fully restored (except for the first two). At the beginning of disc 1, there is a 5-minute excellent "Introduction" by the "Preservation Officer of the UCLA Film and TV Archive." He tells us, among other technical aspects, how these movies were saved just in time before disintegrating into oblivion. (In fact, the last two movies in this collection have no end credits because, I suspect, they could not be saved.)
I can attest to this wonderful restoration. I've viewed some of these movies on VHS. They were horrible. As well, I've viewed some of these movies on earlier DVD. While certainly better than VHS, there was always something wrong with the picture or audio. However, with this collection, all movies are just as good as when they were first released (perhaps even better!!).
These movies are also sold separately. However, if you want to obtain the entire collection through separate purchases, it will cost you more money.
Finally, there are some that give this collection one star because, of all things, bad packaging!! To condemn a valuable piece of film history on this basis is ludicrous.
In conclusion, this is wonderful collection of restored Sherlock Holmes movies that we can now finally be viewed as they were when they were first released. I leave you with another quotation by the super sleuth:
"The truth is only arrived at by the painstaking process of eliminating the untrue."
(1939 to 1946; 16 hr, 15 min; 14 movies; black and white; English subtitles; full screen; 5 discs)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>