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The Devil’s Foot
(1921) British
B&W : Three reels / 2514 feet
Directed by Maurice Elvey

Cast: Eille Norwood [Sherlock Holmes], Hubert Willis [Doctor Watson], Harvey Braban [Mortimer Tregennis], Hugh Buckler [Doctor Sterndale]

Stoll Picture Productions, Limited, production; distributed by Stoll Picture Productions, Limited. / Scenario by William J. Elliott, from the story “The Devil’s Foot” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Cinematography by W. Germain Burger. Art direction by Walter W. Murton. Editing is thought to have been done by Leslie Britain. / Film 2 of the 15 film (first) series “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” — all 15 released simultaneously in April 1921. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. / Preceeded by The Dying Detective (1921).


Synopsis: While vacationing away from London, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson discover a family sitting bolt upright and dead at their dinner table. Holmes quickly discovers something strange about the table lamp just as the police arrive. The maid found the family and went to call in the police. Tregennis introduces himself to Holmes and reveals that he was in the house with his brothers and sister last evening, but left early. He admits that years ago they disagreed over a division of property, but maintains that they had since forgotton the dispute. Holmes requests an accounting of Tregennis’ movements the past evening which he promptly does outside the home. That evening, Holmes reveals to Watson that Tregennis will be arrested the next day since his footprints outdoors negated his alibi. The next day, Tregennis is discovered dead in the same manner as his siblings. Holmes discovers another clue on the floor lamp, and unusual gravel on the window sill. With the help of the local inspector, Holmes searches for matching gravel in the village. The search leads them to the home of Dr. Sterndale, adventurer. That evening, Holmes confides to Watson that he believes an exotic poison is responsible for the Tregennis deaths. After a nearly fatal experiment, Holmes confronts Sterndale for a motive. Sterndale produces a letter from Tregennis revealing his plan. Sterndale admits to having loved Tregennis’ sister, and having been approached by Mortimer for money. Tregennis may have killed his siblings, but Sterndale for revenge forced a confession and suicide from him at gunpoint, then planted the poison that killed him. The act of vengeance is overlooked by Holmes on the understanding that Sterndale return to Central America.

Survival status: Print exists.

Keywords: Authors: Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) - Characters: Sherlock Holmes - Law: Enforcement: Police: Detectives

Listing updated: 9 June 2010.

References: Film credits, film viewing.

Home video: DVD.

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