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The Man with the Twisted Lip
(1921) British
B&W : Three reels / 2412 feet
Directed by Maurice Elvey

Cast: Eille Norwood [Sherlock Holmes], Hubert Willis [Doctor John Watson], Robert Vallis [Neville St. Clair], Paulette del Baye [Mrs. St. Clair]; Madame d’Esterre [Mrs. Hudson]

Stoll Film Company, Limited, production; distributed by Stoll Film Company, Limited. / Scenario by William J. Elliott, from the short story “The Man with the Twisted Lip” 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 8 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. / British certificate: A. [?] Film credits list the production company as Stoll Film Company (with SFC logo) not as Stoll Picture Productions, Limited, as in the earlier films in the series. The film was released in the USA by Educational Film Exchanges, Incorporated, on 1 February 1922.


Synopsis: Receiving a desperate letter imploring him to rescue her husband, Doctor Watson goes to the London docks to retrieve a slumming man. There, he encounters Sherlock Holmes in disguise in an opium den. Back at Baker Street, Holmes discloses that he has been investigating a famous crippled street beggar known in Piccadilly Circus as the Man with the Twisted Lip. A second point of interest is the respectable Neville St. Clair, a well-to-do father of two. Mrs. St. Clair receives a telegram that brings her to the waterfront, and by chance she sees her husband in a run-down building window. She is alarmed when he is taken away from the window, and she charges into the building where she is immediately ejected. The police are quickly brought in to investigate. Inside, they discover the man with the twisted lip and evidence of Mr. St. Clair having met foul play. The cripple is arrested for questioning. Mrs. St. Clair brings the case to Sherlock Holmes for investigation. Holmes explains to Watson that he cannot fathom the motive the cripple had for murdering St. Clair. Mrs. St. Clair arrives with a letter from her still-living husband. Holmes investigates further. At the police station Holmes confronts the man with the twisted lip, who turns out to be Neville St. Clair! St. Clair confesses that he is actually a very successful professional beggar, and that he has kept the secret from family and friends. The day he was seen by his wife, he was changing from one persona to another. He had no choice but to remain the cripple to avoid detection. St. Clair is released, and Holmes breaks the story to his wife. Love is greater than deception, and all ends on a happy note.

Survival status: Print exists [incomplete 16mm reduction positive (missing the opening opium den sequence)].

Current rights holder: (unknown)

Keywords: Authors: Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) - Characters: Sherlock Holmes - Drugs: Opium: Opium dens - Law: Enforcement: Police: Detectives - Letters - United Kingdom: England: London

Listing updated: 20 November 2012.

References: Film credits, film viewing : Pohle-Holmes p. 81 : Website-IMDb.

Home video: DVD.

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