The Sign of Four (August 14, 1932)

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Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four
 

Released on August 14, 1932: Four master criminals are after the Treasure of Monte Cristo, and the lady that they believe holds the treasure needs the help of Sherlock Holmes and Watson to avoid death.

Directed by Graham Cutts

The Actors: Arthur Wontner (Sherlock Holmes), Isla Bevan (Mary Morstan), Ian Hunter (Doctor John H. Watson), Graham Soutten (Jonathan Small), Miles Malleson (Thaddeus Sholto), Herbert Lomas (Major John Sholto), Gilbert Davis (Detective Inspector Atherly Jones), Margaret Yarde (Mrs. Smith), Roy Emerton (the tattoed man), Mr. Burnhett (tatoo artist), Charles Farrell (funfair patron), Clare Greet (Mrs. Hudson), Moore Marriott (Mordecai Smith), Edgar Norfolk (Captain Morstan), Kynaston Reeves (Bartholomew Sholto), Ernest Sefton (Barrett), Togo (Tonga, snake charmer).

 

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I learned to love detective mystery stories from my dad. It was a sin to go to a movie theater to watch a movie, but if the same movie appeared on television years later it was all right for us to watch it, and he always loved a good detective mystery. I could never understand why it was alright to watch it on television if it was a sin to watch it in a movie theater, and still cannot grasp the logic. It was one of those things that parents in my day got away with by saying, "Just because I said so."

"But why," I would repeat.

And the only answer that a parent needed was the all-encompassing, "Just because I said so."

And that was that. No amount of discussion would pry any additional explanation out of Dad or Mom. They left me with many mysteries like that to finally decide for myself once I was an adult and away from their supervision. Sometimes when I have made a decision that I know they would not have made, I think that if they had the same experiences and information that I was using that they would certainly have made the same choice. They just did not have the experiences and information that I had when I chose a different path. Today I am very grateful that they gave me the 'Just because' line instead of any deeper reasoning, because that allowed me to re-visit the question later and use my own reasoning. And why do I think that they might have agreed with my reasoning? Elementary . . . they were the ones that taught me how to think, and taught me to always search for the truth on my own, not blindly relying on the thoughts of others. They taught me to test everything that others proclaimed as 'truth' against what my heart and mind told me. Dad and Mom were never what anyone would call wealthy, but they taught me how to think for myself, and that is the most valuable treasure that any parent can give to their children.

You will watch no better Sherlock Holmes mystery than one of the five motion pictures starring Arthur Wontner as the famed detective. The Sign of Four, filmed in 1932, was the third of the Arthur Wontner movies. This early talkie is a well-worn print, but well worth the watch. In this adventure, the treasure of Monte Cristo is the prize sought by four master criminals. Toss in a beautiful young lady mysteriously involved in the adventure who needs Holmes and Watson to help her keep from being murdered, and you have a first class mystery worthy of the master author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Arthur WontnerArthur Wontner, Ian Hunter and Isla Bevan
Arthur WontnerArthur Wontner, Ian Hunter and Isla Bevan
Arthur WontnerArthur Wontner, looking at you
Arthur WontnerArthur Wontner
Edgar Norfolk and Graham SouttenGilbert Davis
Edgar Norfolk and Graham SouttenGilbert Davis
Gilbert DavisGraham Soutten
Gilbert DavisGraham Soutten
Herbert LomasIan Hunter
Herbert LomasIan Hunter
Isla BevanIsla Bevan and Ian Hunter
Isla BevanIsla Bevan and Ian Hunter
Miles Malleson, Ian Hunter and Arthur WontnerRoy Emerton
Miles Malleson, Ian Hunter and Arthur WontnerRoy Emerton