The House of Fear (1945)

66 or 68-69 mins | Drama | 16 March 1945

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Murder Club. For additional information on the series and other films featuring the Arthur Conan Doyle characters, consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, and the entries for Sherlock Holmes and The Hounds of the Baskervilles in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4020 and F3.2009. ...

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The working title of this film was The Murder Club. For additional information on the series and other films featuring the Arthur Conan Doyle characters, consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, and the entries for Sherlock Holmes and The Hounds of the Baskervilles in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4020 and F3.2009.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Mar 1945
---
Daily Variety
12 May 1944
---
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1945
p. 3
Film Daily
23 Mar 1945
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1944
p. 5
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 1944
p. 23
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1945
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Dec 1944
p. 2250
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Mar 1945
p. 2374
New York Times
19 Mar 1945
p. 23
Variety
21 Mar 1945
p. 10
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Virgil Miller
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
John B. Goodman
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Saul Goodkind
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Strand (Nov 1891).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
The Murder Club
Release Date:
16 March 1945
Production Date:
9 May--early Jun 1944
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
6 December 1944
LP13029
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
66 or 68-69
Length(in feet):
6,235
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10243
SYNOPSIS

Famed private detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Dr. John H. Watson, are visited by Chalmers, an insurance agent, who tells them of the mysterious happenings at Drearcliff House, a seaside mansion in western Scotland. The mansion is the new home of a seven-member private club known as the Good Comrades, and Chalmers explains that one night, after receiving a mysterious envelope containing seven orange seeds during dinner, club member Ralph King was killed in a fiery automobile accident. A few nights later, member Stanley Rayburn received a similar note with six seeds, only to be found drowned ten days later. Chalmer's interest in the matter stems from the fact that the club members have made each other beneficiaries to their substantial life insurance policies. Holmes agrees to take the case when he learns that Dr. Simon Merrivale, a surgeon he once suspected of murder, is a member of the club. Holmes and Watson arrive in Scotland just in time to learn that Guy Davies, a third member of the private club, has been incinerated. Despite the presence of Holmes, Watson and the newly arrived Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard, club member Alan Cosgrave's exploded body is found near a shed filled with dynamite. Soon thereafter, club member Capt. John Simpson receives an envelope with three orange seeds, and his mutilated body is later found on the beach, identifiable only by his tattoos. That night, Lestrade receives a note from the local tobacconist, Alex MacGregor, who believes that he has found a clue to the Drearcliff mysteries. When Holmes and the inspector arrive at his shop, however, they find the merchant ...

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Famed private detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Dr. John H. Watson, are visited by Chalmers, an insurance agent, who tells them of the mysterious happenings at Drearcliff House, a seaside mansion in western Scotland. The mansion is the new home of a seven-member private club known as the Good Comrades, and Chalmers explains that one night, after receiving a mysterious envelope containing seven orange seeds during dinner, club member Ralph King was killed in a fiery automobile accident. A few nights later, member Stanley Rayburn received a similar note with six seeds, only to be found drowned ten days later. Chalmer's interest in the matter stems from the fact that the club members have made each other beneficiaries to their substantial life insurance policies. Holmes agrees to take the case when he learns that Dr. Simon Merrivale, a surgeon he once suspected of murder, is a member of the club. Holmes and Watson arrive in Scotland just in time to learn that Guy Davies, a third member of the private club, has been incinerated. Despite the presence of Holmes, Watson and the newly arrived Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard, club member Alan Cosgrave's exploded body is found near a shed filled with dynamite. Soon thereafter, club member Capt. John Simpson receives an envelope with three orange seeds, and his mutilated body is later found on the beach, identifiable only by his tattoos. That night, Lestrade receives a note from the local tobacconist, Alex MacGregor, who believes that he has found a clue to the Drearcliff mysteries. When Holmes and the inspector arrive at his shop, however, they find the merchant murdered. Later, Holmes has Watson exhume MacGregor's grave, and they discover his casket is empty. The two men then rush back to Drearcliff House, where they learn that Merrivale has been killed, having been crushed to death by a boulder. The only surviving member of the Good Comrades, Bruce Alastair, is arrested for the six murders. Watson disappears soon after, and Holmes and Lestrade search the mansion for secret passageways, finding one which leads them to an old smuggler's cove. There, they find the abducted Watson, along with Merrivale, Cosgrave, Simpson, Davies, Rayburn and King. Holmes then explains that all of the six had faked their deaths in order to collect the insurance money, having used the corpses of recently deceased villagers in their place. Back in London, Chalmers congratulates Holmes for his work on the case, but the detective insists that the reward money be given to Alastair, as his last-minute warning saved Watson's life.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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