Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Art of Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl of Death




This ninth entry in the Rathbone-Bruce series (from 1944)  is notable mainly for the appearance of Rondo Hatton as The Creeper. Hatton's facial deformity was the real thing. He was gassed while fighting in WWI and contracted a disease that messed up his pituitary gland. A bit player until landing his role in this film, he made two more movies as The Creeper (a different character) and had a major part in The Spider Woman Strikes Back. He died in 1946.

The Pearl of Death was loosely based on the Conan Doyle story "The Six Napoleons". The 1-sheet (above) is notable mainly Holmes and Watson appearing to be two heads on the same body.



More Sherlock Holmes posters HERE.

11 comments:

I.J. Parnham said...

Ah, The Creeper certainly livened up plenty of old movies with his striking features. I'm fairly sure though that the gas story is a Hollywood myth put out at the time and that Rondo in reality suffered from a version of the Elephant Man disease, acromegaly (or some such spelling).

David Cranmer said...

Every once in awhile I need a Rathone Sherlock fix and run through the entire series. And Rondo Hatton was superb as The Creeper. I just did a Wiki check (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rondo_Hatton) and they had a different explanation for his deformity as Ian mentioned

The old film posters are tops.

Nik said...

Loved the 'two heads on one body' comment! I've just received my copy of EQM (Feb)with your Holmes story inside - and a plug for this blog from Bill Crider too. Must have made your day when it arrived! Congratulations. I've a bit of a backlog of mags to catch up on but I reckon I'll read this one out of order.

David Cranmer said...

Speaking of that EQMM issue. My wife traveled all over Maine and finally found the issue. I'm looking forward to reading your piece when I hit the good old USA again.

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Evan Lewis said...

Now that you mention it, Ian, that war story does sound like hype. It says the German gas caused him to contract acromegaly (or some such spelling).

Great to hear Skyler Hobbs made it to Spain. Probably no harder to find the issue there than in Maine, or Oregon. (I appreciate your wife's efforts, David!) We have several Borders stores in the area, and several Barnes and Nobles. From my travels through the suburbs of late, I estimate 2/5 of the outlets of each company had copies, and then no more than three per store. The good news is that EQMM is now available in PDF format, and for Kindle. (Though at this moment, the most recent issue is only in the Kindle format.)

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Looks like you have been spammed, Evan.

Years ago I read that Hatton's deformity was caused by a disease. It also said that as a young man he was very handsome and voted Best Looking or something like that in his high school.

Evan Lewis said...

I was waiting for a solar panel expert like yourself to come along, Cap'n, and help our pal Anonymous.

Rittster said...

Another fantastic poster(the top one). And Rondo was the man! My fave Rondo pic: The Brute Man (made by Universal, but sold to and distributed by PRC after Hatton's death). I think it's bizarre (and maybe a little cruel) that Universal later used acromegaly (or some such spelling) as a major plot factor in TARANTULA (1955). At least when Universal exploited Rondo's condition while he was alive, he was getting paid for it.

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Anonymous said...

Hatton also played the mad scientist's henchman in Universal's "Jungle Captive." It was the third and last of the "Ape Woman" series, the first two being "Captive Wild Woman" and "Jungle Woman." The story of his having been gassed in WWI could be hype, but that's the version I've heard before. That he was voted "Best Looking" or "Most Handsome" in high school also sounds like studio publicity, to add a touch of irony.