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SHERLOCK HOLMES and the VOICE OF TERROR (Unique Script Archive for the 1942 Universal adaptation of "His Last Bow")
Burbank, Ca: Universal Studios, 1942. Doyle, A. Conan (John Bright and Lynn Riggs, screenwriters). SHERLOCK HOLMES and the VOICE OF TERROR. Los Angeles: Universal Studios, 1942. This unique film studio archive consists of two hand-corrected original manuscripts, a mimeographed copy of the shooting script, and the final dialogue and continuity script. In short, a treasure trove of primary material relating to one of the most endearing and enduring film series of the 1940s. The twelve Sherlock Holmes films produced by Universal Pictures during the years 1942-1946 are legend; they are surely the best known screen-adapted adventures of English Literature's most iconic character and Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are still cherished, despite our current superb 21st century film and TV adaptations, as the definitive Holmes and Watson. 1. Dated March 10th, 1942, John Bright's brad-bound first draft includes a 4pp ribbon copy outline of the story along with a 120pp annotated carbon copy manuscript with the early and discarded title: "Sherlock Holmes vs. Lord Haw-Haw." The typescript is complete in typically bland WW2 Universal Studio covers stamped with the production number (7025), the pages are pale yellow, and there are a few notations in pencil and pen. The cover is a worn but the contents are Very Good indeed. 2. Dated April 2nd, 1942, Lynn Riggs' complete 121pp ribbon copy manuscript entitled "Sherlock Holmes #1" with numerous penciled annotations. It also sports drab brown covers with handwritten notes in red and regular pencil. Cover worn, contents in excellent condition. 3. Dated May 4th, 1942, this 113pp studio-mimeographed shooting script credits both John Bright and Lynn Riggs, as well as Conan Doyle and "His Last Bow." The new (but also later discarded) title is "Sherlock Holmes Saves London" and consists of both studio-issued white pages and revised blue pages. The studio covers are slightly tattered and worn, as befits a shooting script. Contents still fresh and Very Good indeed. 4. Dated July 28th, 1942, the complete studio-mimeographed self-wrapper final dialogue continuity script, bound with two brads at the top, bearing the film's final, accurate title "Sherlock Holmes and The Voice of Terror." In Very Good condition. Although 20th Century Fox produced two films from the Sherlock Holmes canon in the 1930s (also starring Rathbone and Bruce), they were set in Victorian England. Once Universal purchased the rights to all of Conan Doyle's characters from his estate (for $300,000), they took a hard look at World War Two audiences and observed that, for a world at war, cobblestoned streets and hansom cabs might seem irrelevant. So the inventive and pragmatic minds at Universal, competing with other movies full of modern gunplay, car chases, film noir, and horror, made the controversial but essential decision to update Sherlock to modern times and have him take on the Nazis. Thus, although this film was inspired by Conan Doyle's "The Last Bow" which had an espionage plot set in WW1, very little of that plot found its way into the film. The producer of SHERLOCK HOLMES and the VOICE OF TERROR was Howard Benedict (from RKO's Saint and Falcon series). The screenwriters were John Bright ("Public Enemy") and Lynn Riggs ("The Garden Of Allah"). The director, John Rawlins, known for quick and cheap serials, was the weakest link in this creative group. He was soon replaced by the genius behind the Universal Sherlock films Roy William Neill who directed the other eleven Universal Sherlock Holmes movies. SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR opened on September 18th, 1942 to mixed critical reviews but a wildly enthusiastic embrace by a thrilled public. One might call this The Case of the Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity. Please check out the other Sherlock Holmes original screenplays we have in stock. . Signed. Original Manuscript. Unbound. Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Lakin & Marley Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-08-10           Check availability:      Biblio    

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