Sherlock Holmes | Chicago Reader

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85 minutes

Mystery, Silent
John Barrymore stars as the great detective, holding down a complicated and rather arthritic screen adaptation (1922) of the long-running play by William Gillette. The first third takes place when Holmes and Watson (Roland Young) are students at Cambridge, yet their oddball friendship doesn't get much screen time as Holmes neglects his studies to stalk the bald, beetle-browed arch criminal Professor Moriarty (Gustav von Seyffertitz). After that, the story jumps forward a few years to 221B Baker Street, and any personal scenes center on Holmes's tepid romance with a damsel in distress (Carol Dempster). The movie is doomed by its stage origins, though director Albert Parker contributes some creepily lit scenes in Moriarty's lair and the action picks up considerably as hero and villain approach their final showdown. The supporting cast includes Hedda Hopper and William Powell in his screen debut.

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