The Sign of Four was written in 1890 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This Sherlock Holmes story involves a young beautiful woman, priceless pearls, a mysterious death, a stolen treasure, and a pact made by 3 Indian soldiers and 1 British soldier in the Far East.
There were at least 4 movie adaptations for The Sign of Four between 1932 to 1988. Each film adapted the novel in different ways. The 1988 Granada TV series with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes is probably the most faithful to the original novel followed by the ones with Ian Richardson and Peter Cushing. The 1932 Arthur Wontner’s version is the least faithful with significant changes to the characters. Tonga was very badly portrayed in all the versions, IMO. It is not unexpected since the original story was written in a time period where knowledge of the Far East was spotty.
This compilation consists of 4 movie adaptations and 2 audiobooks.
1988 – The Sign of Four – Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes
I really enjoyed this movie. Mary Marston, portrayed by Jenny Seagrove, was pretty and elegant. Just as I imagined Mary to be. I didn’t know that Jonathan Small was portrayed by John Thaw when I was watching it. Only found out when I saw the credits. He looked so different from the Inspector Morse series.
The Youtube video has been taken down. Find it on Amazon Prime Video (affiliate link).
1983 – The Sign of Four – Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes
The quality and sound of the Youtube video are not great. There is a much better version at Amazon Prime – Sherlock Holmes – The Sign of Four (affiliate link). Ian Richardson is also very watchable as Sherlock Holmes.
1983 – Sherlock Holmes and the Sign of Four Animated Movie – Peter O’Toole As Sherlock Holmes
Peter O’Toole is the voice of the consulting detective. The sound quality of this one is not ideal. Let’s hope someone would upload a version with better quality in the future.
1968 – The Sign of Four – Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes
The pace of this version is much faster. I know Peter Cushing was unhappy with the tight shooting schedule. I agree with him. It does show up in production.
1932 – The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes Greatest Case – Arthur Wontner as Sherlock Holmes
I wonder why the poster of this Youtube video used Basil Rathbone’s picture as the thumbnail. It is misleading. This is a very old movie so the usual noise of the old black and white film reel is quite obvious.
Jonathan Small was portrayed as a gangster here, an American gangster. How odd.
5. Audiobook Narrated by Greg Wagland
There are several audiobooks for The Sign of Four. This one is a Magpie audio recording by Greg Wagland. Length: 4 hours 16 minutes.
6. Abridged and Sanitized Audiobook version
This audiobook comes with English subtitles. Good for students learning the English language through stories.