Sherlock Holmes Solves the Sign of the Four (1913)

Genres - Mystery  |  
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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Harry Benham played the title role in this Thanhouser "special," produced in two reels on location at Fort Schuyler, NY, and at the Comet Film Co., which the company rented while their fire-damaged studio was being rebuilt. According to surviving accounts, Arthur Conan Doyle's 1890 tale was told in a forthright manner and as complex as the two reels permitted: A treasure stolen from an Indian Rajah comes into the possession of one Major Sholto, a British army officer. Sholto wills the treasure to his two sons and a niece, Miss Morstan (Mignon Anderson), but the older son is found murdered, a deed attributed to the mysterious Sign of the Four. It takes a rather young-looking Holmes (Harry Benham) and his equally youthful sidekick, Dr. Watson (Charles Gunn), a mere reel to solve the case of the missing treasure. At least one trade reviewer, writing for the influential Motion Picture News, found Thanhouser's Conan Doyle efforts to be "intensely interesting."