A Study in Scarlet was based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes tale, “A Tangled Skein”, published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887. The movie was released in 1933 with Reginald Owen portraying Sherlock Holmes assisted by Warburton Gamble as Dr. John Watson.
In London, members of a secret society meet in Limehouse. The society is the basis of a “trust” overseen by Thaddeus Merrydew, a solicitor. The trust operates such that when one of the members dies, their assets are collected and divided among the remaining members.
Sherlock Holmes is asked for assistance by member James Murphy’s widow who is angry at being left penniless after all of Murphy’s assets are taken. Suddenly other members start dying by un-natural causes. Holmes becomes suspicious of Merrydew and the Chinese widow of the murdered Captain Pyke.
Deciphering coded messages, protecting a pretty heiress and fighting sinister villains Holmes’ uncanny observations and insights are put to the test.
Other cast members include Alan Dinehart as Thaddeus Merrydew, Anna May Wong as Mrs. Pyke, June Clyde as Eileen Forrester, John Warburton as John Stanford, Alan Mowbray as Lestrade, J.M. Kerrigan as Jabez Wilson, Doris Lloyd as Mrs. Murphy, Billy Bevan as Will Swallow, Leila Bennett as Daffy Dolly, Wyndham Standing as Capt. Pyke, Halliwell Hobbes as Dearing, Hobart Cavanaugh as Innkeeper Thompson, Olaf Hytten as Merrydew’s Butler, Tetsu Komai as Ah Yet, Tempe Pigott as Mrs. Hudson and Cecil Reynolds as William Baker.