Sherlock Holmes - The Sleeping Cardinal (1931)

This rare Sherlock Holmes film was released at the same time as the Raymond Massey picture "The Speckled Band". The story is partly based on two Conan Doyle short stories: "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House".

Sceptical about the potential success of the film, the producers sold the rights to the film to "First Division Pictures" for 800 pounds. The film was released in July 1931 under the title "Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour". It was very successful, running for over a month on Broadway, which was unprecidented for a British produced programmer.

Reviews hailed the film for "bringing the real Sherlock Holmes to the screen." This prompted 4 more movies in the series The Missing Rembrandt (still considered lost), The Sign of Four, The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes and The Silver Blaze/Murder at the Baskervilles.

This film was deemed lost when the only known print went missing after being shown at a Sherlock Holmes Society reception for Arthur Wontner in 1955. The version presented here is pieced together from two separate prints to create the longest and best quality version of the film. There are noticable differences between the two prints. The lesser quality print is only used to fill in minor sections that were missing or incomplete in the better quality version. It has the US title "Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour" on screen. The quality is still not optimal, but it is a major improvement from the versions previously available.

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