Here, according to billboards, is "Conan Doyle's Immortal Story Masterfully Told." Here, "Masterfully," is Clive Brook at grips with modern gangsters, a Sherlock Holmes in love, a Sherlock Holmes who knows the cute trick of discovering biscuit crumbs on people's waistcoats, who pronounces "elementary" with the grand air, who jumps out of high balconies onto villainous necks, who wields acetylene torches and shoots to kill. This is no Sherlock Holmes, this is Hollywood's "Masterful" attempt to shatter an illusion.
The plot is worthless burlesque, & hopeless melange of the worst features of the worst detective "thrillers" that the cinema has produced. Professor Moriarty is there, but dull, asthmatic, licking his stupid Bapsburg chops Swearing revenge, the renovated Professor escapes from prison. One is not sure of the method, but there is a tumult of sirens, of whistles, of confused turnkeys slithering over smooth cement floors, of dead ones breathing heartily, hanging stiffly on steel staircases, & splendid tumult to make audiences forgive and forget. The rest is too much. There is a conglomeration of leers pineapples, cockney, forgeries, subway tunnels into bank vaults, of everything in fact as far from characteristically London as Hollywood could contrive.
Devotees who have visited the warm musty sanctum on Baker Street, who have seen thin, ascetic fingers cure Quietly around an hypodermic who hart watched a spare figure draped unhand somely in tweed and mufflers despots in the swirl of a London fog, in short all who know Hoimes as Doyle conceived him, will turn from this latest atrocity with grim sentiments.