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Published on July 5, 2016

A Study in Scarlet (1933) is an American Pre-Code drama film directed by Edwin L. Marin and starring Reginald Owen as Sherlock Holmes and Anna May Wong as Mrs. Pyke. The title comes from Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel of the same name, the first in the Holmes series, but the screenplay by Robert Florey was original.

Despite her billing, Anna May Wong only appears on screen for less than ten minutes. Reginald Owen had played Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes the previous year; Owen was one of only four actors to play both Holmes and Watson (Jeremy Brett played Watson on stage in the United States prior to adopting the mantle of Holmes on British television; Carleton Hobbs played both roles in British radio adaptations; while Patrick Macnee played both roles in US television movies). Warburton Gamble, the actor cast as Watson in this film, physically more closely resembles Doyle’s description of Holmes, fueling speculation that the actors might have switched roles prior to production, especially since Owen had played Watson the year before in the series’ previous film.


Reginald Owen as Sherlock Holmes
Reginald Owen – Sherlock Holmes
Anna May Wong – Mrs. Pyke
June Clyde – Eileen Forrester
Alan Dinehart – Thaddeus Merrydew
Alan Mowbray – Lestrade
Warburton Gamble – Dr. Watson
Wyndham Standing – Captain Pyke
Halliwell Hobbes – Malcolm Dearing
Doris Lloyd – Mrs. Murphy

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