Starring John Barrymore and Carol Dempster
July 1922

You should see this if you are a devotee of John the Barrymore. You should see it if you are a devotee of the Conan Doyle detective yarns.

It is one of the most artistic and unusual films ever made. Its settings and photography are amazingly fine. Its cast is one of the few real all-star affairs. Albert Parker, the director, has not been afraid to follow his imaginative impulses, with interesting results.

It's just a chapter from the life of that busy fellow, Sherlock Holmes. There is a romance with Carol Dempster as the kissee. Dr. Watson is Roland Young. Gustav Seyffertitz, a fine actor, is a splendid Dr. Moriarity. Reginald Denny and Hedda Hopper are also present.

Starring John Barrymore and Carol Dempster
August, 1922

Because an actor must have a definite personality, there are but a very few who are able to keep their own individuality subservient to the individuality of the character they are creating. John Barrymore, however, achieves this with the same success with which he achieves other things. So it was Sherlock Holmes which we enjoyed more than John Barrymore as Sherlock Holmes.

If we nurtured a belief in witchcraft we would believe that Barrymore transmitted the psychology of his characters to his audience by supernatural means. He sways his audience as the winds sway slender reeds ­ But his magic is that of he artist and of the craftsman. His technique is colored by the great imagination with which he endows his work. By a hundred and one subtleties he portrays that which others fail to capture even after going to great lengths in their desire to achieve it.

Even to those rare souls who have not read Conan Doyle's story of the great detective whose lightning deductions astonished the greatest minds of England, Sherlock Holmes is not a stranger. And in stepping from the covers of the novel to the screen, the character has lost no interest.

The production, possessing a very definite artistic quality, also is interspersed with sensational episodes which jog the senses. The thread of suspense is maintained at something of a tension throughout the story of how Holmes foils the fiendish ends of Moriarty. Moriarty is forced to seek his dwelling farther and farther under ground ­ first in cellars and then in sub-cellars in order to escape the persecution of Holmes.

The love interest, with Carol Dempster playing the girl Sherlock eventually marries, was the creation of the scenarist, for Conan Doyle did not bless his detective with an inamorata. Women occupy a great deal of time, thought and consideration, and it is not likely that Holmes would have been romantically inclined. His days were well filled. However, they had to do something about the fadeout, and the love interest is not permitted to dominate at any time.

Gustave V. Seyffertitz plays Moriarty and his portrayal bears a semblance to Barrymore's depraved Dr. Jekyll in "Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." As a matter of fact, several people thought that Barrymore was creating a dual role. Certainly the portrayal deserves praise and commendation. Seeing it, we stop to wonder why the Vitagraph officials permitted this actor to depart from their studios.

Many of the exteriors for "Sherlock Holmes" were filmed in England. There are several shots of extraordinary beauty ­ particularly one scene, which finds Holmes standing at twilight on London Bridge, the Parliament buildings misty in the distance. There were scenes of the Limehouse district, too, with the arched and curving byways and the huddled houses dripping in the fog.
"Sherlock Holmes" is, by far, the finest production of the past month, and, for all of that, one of the finest productions which has come to the screen this year.

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