“Sherlock Holmes and the House of Fear” by Neill

The movie Sherlock Holmes and The House of Fear was directed by the famous director of the 20th century Roy William Neill. Despite the fact that he did not have finances to create high-budget works, Neill was one of the most influential producers of the 1910-1940s. Throughout those years, he created a number of horrors and detective movies with interesting stylistic choices regarding the work of lights and shadows. Later this manner of moviemaking was called film noir, which was especially popular during the 1940s and used for dark detective stories. This particular movie is an adaptation of the novel The Seven Orange Pips by Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle can be considered as the founder of detective literature. He made this genre special by providing a subtle analysis of the investigation in the story. His characters rely on unobvious facts and clues which lead to the correct decision with a mathematical precision. This short story is one of the many tales about the adventures of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful companion Dr. Watson. The first thing that usually comes to mind when one hears the name of Arthur Conan Doyle is this character who is an unsurpassed master of solving mysterious murders.

In this movie, the viewer is met with dark scenery of an old mansion where seven wealthy elderly gentlemen, members of the so-called Good Comrades Club, gather for dinner. One of them says that he received an unusual letter, which contained seven orange seeds and a suspicious note advising him to prepare for death (Sherlock Holmes). The next day he suddenly dies in a car accident. After this mysterious incident, other members of the club receive similar letters, which creates disturbance among them. Several days later, the body of another gentleman is caught in the sea.

At first glance all these occurrences look like a result of unfortunate circumstances; however, these strange letters suggest that these deaths were inflicted by a killer. Then the main character Sherlock Holmes is invited to help to shed light on such mysterious events (Sherlock Holmes). A frightened stranger is found on the doorstep, and no one else but the detective can help him to solve this case.

The setting of the story takes place in an ancestral home of the eldest member of Good Comrades Club. This old mansion is located in the west of Scotland, on a cliff, which is surrounded by sea. The viewer is greeted by a familiar setting of Baker Street in London and a famous cabinet, where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson greet their clients and listen to them.

Sherlock Holmes is portrayed as a smart and confident investigator who is eager to not only help those in need of his skills but also to solve the riddle of these murders. He is an ingenious and unpredictable private detective who unravels the most difficult cases. Another distinctive feature is that he is a supporter of the deductive method of investigating crimes. In investigations, Holmes is always one step ahead of the police. His brilliant mind, unique knowledge of various scientific fields, phenomenal skill of observation and memory do not leave criminals a chance to escape. In addition, Holmes is loyal and reliable while also possessing a peculiar sense of humor. His style and demeanor are graceful and conservative. Furthermore, the detective has an amazing combination of physical and mental strength, the desire for improving his knowledge, and an interest in everything that happens in the world. On the other hand, Dr. Watson is a loyal friend and biographer of the famous detective. He is more sentimental than Holmes, although Dr. Watson is also a true gentleman and a devoted friend. As always, in this movie, he helps Holmes in the investigation.

The adjectives that describe the main characters are: smart (because Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the mystery of the murders), well-mannered (they are depicted as true English gentlemen), noble, brave (because they are not afraid to face the killers and manage to catch the group of people, even though they were dangerous), observant (because Sherlock manages to discover all clues that lead him to a successful conclusion).

The overall atmosphere of this movie is dark, cryptic, and frightening. In addition, as for many detectives, the plot and the killer are not that apparent. At first, Lestrade jumps to the obvious conclusion that Bruce Alistair, who is the last surviving member, murdered all the others (Sherlock Holmes). However, after Watson goes missing, Holmes has deduced the truth and leads Lestrade and Alistair to a secret room where all the Good Comrades are hiding with Watson tied up. All those men, who were thought to be brutally killed, appear to be alive and well. Then Holmes explains that Alistair was the victim of a plot to frame him for murder and collect the insurance money by his six friends. After that, all perpetrators are rightfully punished for this crime, and Sherlock Holmes marks his next victory. Although such a climax is anticipated, it is still satisfying for the viewer because the detective surprisingly quickly manages to discover the mystery.

Work Cited

Directed by Roy William Neill, Universal Pictures, 1945. YouTube, Web.

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