This is the second of the early Holmes film experiments. In The Sign of Four, they messed up by showing us the entire history before Holmes appears. Here, they do something similar. While Holmes interviews a woman about her recently dead husband, we have the major part of the film time occupied in a flashback illustrating her story.
That story is a small film by itself. The outer story is a combat between Moriarty and a retired Holmes that ends with a chase up a medieval tower with what might have been exciting camerawork in its day. This story does respect Holmes as a detective, and the task he tackles is not something we already understand. I can see that as they made extra films, they tried different mixes of explicit storytelling and deduced and explained stories.
Posted in 2015
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.