Personally we do not think that either the “legitimate” drama or the picture drama can recapture for us the first fine careless rapture we felt when we came upon these stories in their original version. But we are firmly of opinion that in visualising what is, at its finest, a purely literary pleasure, viz., a high-class detective yarn, the screen has hitherto proved itself a superior medium to the stage.
The Kinematograph Monthly Film Record, November 1914
The BFI is hoping to kick-start a hunt for a copy of a lost Sherlock Holmes film dating back to 1914. It’s a silent movie directed by one George Pearson, based on A Study in Scarlet and starring unknown actor James Bragington – he of the spooky face, above.
By way of clues, the BFI says:
A Study in Scarlet was shot at Worton Hall studios and on location in the summer of 1914. Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and Southport Sands in Merseyside stood in for the Rocky Mountains and the Utah plains. Reviewers praised Pearson’s clever handling of the film’s settings, finding the opening scenes of the Mormons crossing the desert “very beautiful”.
So, get up into your attic and start looking. And while you’re up there, the BFI Most Wanted lists a grand total of 75 British films which have gone missing during the past 100 years. Along with A Study in Scarlet, it has a few interesting crime titles including:
- Too Many Crooks (Laurence Olivier, 1930)
- The Crooked Billet (Adrian Brunel, 1929)
- Two Crowded Hours (1931 Michael Powell’s first film: a “very good little murder drama”.)
- The Vulture (1937: “Slapstick comedy about over-keen amateur detective Cedric Gull.”)