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The Sign of Four (1987)

The disappearance of a young woman's father and a mysterious note years later after the strange regular annual delivery of valuable pearls to her puts Sherlock Holmes on the case.

Director:

Peter Hammond

Writers:

Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), John Hawkesworth (dramatised by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr. Watson / Dr. John Watson
Robin Hunter Robin Hunter ... Major Sholto
Alf Joint ... McMurdo
John Thaw ... Jonathan Small
Kiran Shah ... Tonga
Jenny Seagrove ... Miss Mary Morstan
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs Hudson
Derek Deadman Derek Deadman ... Williams
Ronald Lacey ... Thaddeus & Bartholomew Sholto
Ishaq Bux ... Lal Chowder
Terence Skelton Terence Skelton ... Captain Morstan
Marjorie Sudell Marjorie Sudell ... Mrs Bernstone
Emrys James Emrys James ... Inspector Athelney Jones
Gordon Gostelow Gordon Gostelow ... Sherman
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Storyline

A young lady, Miss Mary Morstan, contact Sherlock Holmes for his help regarding her father, captain Morstan, who disappeared 10 years ago. Since his disappearance she annually receives a valuable pearl by post from an unknown person. The mystery leads Holmes and doctor Watson into an intricate plot regarding a lost treasure belonging to four convicts on the Andaman Islands. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first episode filmed after Jeremy Brett began treatment for bipolar disorder. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, Watson is looking out the window as a cab pulls up outside. The building opposite is clearly shown as number 128. It would be odd for a building opposite number 221B to have a number almost one hundred different, and in fact across the road from 221B is actually number 234. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. John Watson: Very pretty young woman crossing the street. And I think she may be coming here.
Sherlock Holmes: Incidentally, I have glanced over your latest account of my work.
Dr. John Watson: Oh, yes?
Sherlock Holmes: Honestly, I cannot congratulate you upon it. Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science. Observation, deduction, a cold unemotional subject. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism which has much the same effect as if you'd worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Hound of the Baskervilles (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Sign of Four
22 January 2020 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

A young woman Mary Morstan (Jenny Seagrove) visits a snappy Holmes with a story of her father's disappearance some years earlier and how she later started receiving a precious jewel each year.

This leads to an encounter with the quirky nervous Thaddeus Sholto (Ronald Lacey) whose father served in India with Mary's father. He tells Mary that her father did die in an accident.

As Holmes and Watson are taken to see Thaddeus's twin brother Bartholomew regarding a box of treasure that has been found. The brother has been slain and the box containing he treasure is missing.

Holmes looks for clues and reckons a poisoned dart was used to kill the Bartholomew in a room that looks impossible to scale from the outside.

Before long Holmes and Watson are hot on the heel of Jonathan Small (John Thaw) and ex soldier who served in India, now a one legged man who is taking revenge in those who cheated him and his fellow convicts.

This was the first feature length movie of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series. It does look beautiful with some filming taking place in Malta which doubles for India. There is also a wonderful chase scene in the river. Norfolk being used to double for the River Thames.

John Thaw enter the proceedings rather late in the day, initially with a dart blowing pygmy by his side played by the legendary Kiran Shah. As in the book, A Study in Scarlet. Small tells his story in flashbacks and giving reasons why he is out for revenge. It is a strong intimidating performance from Thaw.

This was also the best of the feature length adaptations in the Brett series.


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