The Dying Detective
|Eille Norwood and Hubert Willis.
Frame enlargement: Silent Era image collection.
B&W : Two reels
Directed by Maurice Elvey
Cast: Eille Norwood [Sherlock Holmes], Hubert Willis [Doctor Watson], Cecil Humphreys [Culverton Smith], J.R. Tozer [his servant], Madame d’Esterre [Mrs. Hudson, Holmes’ housekeeper]
Stoll Picture Productions, Limited, production; distributed by Stoll Picture Productions, Limited. / Scenario by William J. Elliott, from the short story “The Dying Detective” 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 1 of the 15 film (first) series “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” — all 15 released simultaneously in April 1921. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format. / Followed by The Devil’s Foot (1921).
Synopsis: Holmes is discovered in disguise and held at gunpoint. Holmes reveals that he knows that Smith has murdered Victor Savage, and that he will find a way to pin the charges on him. Days later Holmes lays in bed, stricken with the contagious Tampanule Fever. Refusing medical attention from Dr. Watson, Holmes instructs him to fetch Smith, an expert on Asiatic diseases. Watson questions Smith on the fever and how Holmes could have contracted the disease in London. Smith and Watson arrange an appointment for seven o’clock, and Smith arrives at Baker Street and Holmes’ bedside. Smith admits that he is responsible for Holmes’ fever, having sent a mysterious box that contained the contagion after being threatened with a murder charge. Fearlessly, Smith taunts the dying Holmes with the details of his murder of Victor Savage. Having confessed, Holmes ends his charade, and holds Smith at gunpoint. But the captive reveals that he isn’t Smith. Holmes gets the last laugh as the real Smith is arrested outside Baker Street.
Survival status: Prints exist in private film collections [16mm reduction positives].
Current rights holder: (unknown)
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.