35. Sherlock Holmes (1932)
IMDB score = 5.5/10
Holmes and Watson? = Clive Brook and Reginald Owen
Synopsis = The famous detective is pulled away from retirement and his fiancée when the condemned Moriarty escapes from prison and swears vengeance.
Defense by Paul Thomas Miller:
This film could almost be a sequel to the Gillette play. It opens with Moriarty being sentenced to death and Holmes getting ready to retire and marry Alice Faulkner. And as an extension of that sly, actiony, romantic Holmes, it works. Moriarty soon breaks out of jail, assembles an international crime gang and it falls to Holmes to figure out what is going on.
There's a couple of interesting nods to the future in the film.
I was reminded of the comparisons which would be made later about the similarities between Sherlock Holmes and Batman. In the first half of the film the scientific chronologist produces several crime-fighting gadgets including an anti-motor ray and a footprint revealing spray.
More apparent was the presaging of BBC Sherlock's The Reichenbach Fall. The main plot of this film is all about Moriarty not just defeating Holmes, but utterly humiliating him. Killing Holmes would be too easy, Moriarty decides to trick Holmes into murdering his friend - Colonel Gore-King. I found it very interesting that what I thought was a 2012 actually dated from 80 years earlier. It seems that Canon Holmes was right in A Study In Scarlet: "There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before."
Stir in the wonderful comedy surrounding the scenes of a pub being blown up, and to my mind, you have yourself a hit. Or at least a good film to enjoy with other Holmesians.