Preserving and Finding the Arthur Wontner Sherlock Holmes Movies


 

British Actor Arthur Wontner played Sherlock Holmes in movies from 1931-1937. Here is what I believe is the latest information on the 5 films.

The movies are:

The Sleeping Cardinal (1931) (USA title: Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour), based on Doyle's two stories, "The Final Problem" and "The Adventure of the Empty House"

(Lost) The Missing Rembrandt (1932)  based on "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case (1932)

The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935), based on The Valley of Fear

Silver Blaze (1937) (USA title: Murder at the Baskervilles, release 1941), based on "The Adventure of Silver Blaze"

All the movies except The Missing Rembrandt are readily available for free viewing on the internet.  The Missing Rembrandt is still considered a lost film.

The films are also available in various DVD compilations over the years. Unfortunately the quality of the picture and sound is usually quite poor.


The British Film Institute (BFI) holds 35mm prints on the 4 surviving films. Only 1 has been released in good quality. 

The Sign of Four (1932) was put out on the Ealing Studios Rarities Collection: Volume 14 [DVD].  The B/W version is 74 mins / 1.33:1 / Mono / English.

Ealing Studios, West London, made more than 150 films over a three decade period. Why the other three Arthur Wontner Sherlock films have not been released remains a mystery. 

A good quality DVD collection of all 4 Arthur Wontner Sherlock Holmes films would be welcomed by Sherlock fans around the world.

In August, 2019, a distinguished groups of film historians, screenwriters and Sherlock Holmes film experts formed a committee to find and restore early silent and sound Sherlock movies. 

The group is called, Searching for Sherlock: The Game’s Afoot.   This includes finding the lost The Missing Rembrandt and hopefully releasing excellent quality copies of the other 3 Arthur Wontner films.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has slowed the work of this group. 

I am hopeful that one day all 5 Arthur Wontner Sherlock Holmes movies will be released for the public to enjoy.



Looking Back - Alternatives Denied - The $100,000,000 Highway 7 Fiasco

The provincial government announced recently they would move forward with the plan to build a new Highway #7 between Kitchener and Guelph.  A group of concerned citizens put together a book in 2000 about the fiasco. The project was stopped for two decades.

Meanwhile lack of provincial government funding keeps Go Trains going at glacial speeds to and from Toronto/Kitchener/Guelph.

It is free to read and download this piece of historical community activism.  Here is the LINK to view or download.

Coleman Craft Canoes - Bill Coleman Canoe Maker - Fought to Retain His Name

Bill Coleman at Coleman Canoes Reunion
Bill Coleman at Coleman Craft Reunion, Hespeler, Ontario

NOTE: I am re-posting this story I did on the reunion we did for fans of the original Coleman Canoe made in Galt Ontario. I still get calls today about the canoes from around Ontario. We still take our Coleman canoe out on the Mill Pond. It was a great day celebrating a true legend Bill Coleman.

In 1968, Minister Goode of the United Church of Hespeler Ontario was looking to buy some canoes and could not find some decent canoes at a fair price. Bill Coleman knew how to work with fibreglass and the Minister knew about canoes. This was the innocent beginning of the Coleman Craft Canoe Company of Galt Ontario.



The virtually indestructible, stable fibreglass canoes came in different sizes and colours. Earlier models were heavy. Later models were significantly lighter. Bill`s canoes were popular throughout Ontario.

One day Bill received a letter from the camping giant Coleman Company threatening him with legal action if he did not stop using the Coleman name for this canoes. Bill fought them for over 5 years for the right to use his own name on the canoes.

Bill won that battle. Later canoes made by Bill had the his first name William put on top of the logo. Eventually Bill stopped making canoes and the legend of this Ontario canoe maker was forgotten.

On June 11th, 2016, we were lucky to have Bill come out to meet people who still owned his canoes. A great day with people sharing stories ensuring his canoe making legacy will be remembered.

Here is a good story from Greg Mercer of The Record - http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6719430-bill-coleman-cambridge-s-original-canoe-craftsman/

Coleman Craft Canoe Reunion
Coleman Craft Canoe Reunion Participants Hespeler, Ontario


Steam Train from Hespeler, GlenChristie to Guelph in 2003




In 2003 a small group of people in conjunction with St.Thomas Central Railway organized an event to bring Steam Engine #9 to Hespeler for an excursion that went from just under the Hwy 401 through Hespeler, GlenChristie to Guelph. The group included Bill Russ, Paul Langan, Al Mair and a couple more. History was made as people got to travel by rail from Hespeler to Guelph for the first time by steam engine since the  1950s. Here is link to video: https://youtu.be/D7Kp07zGU6A 

The train had a diesel engine on one end and the steam on the other.

This historic footage was taken by Bill and Jason Russ. What to look for in this footage? There is footage from three trips on this video. It is worth it to watch the whole clip for the different views of the trips.

  1.  Former Dominion Woollens location. Where people got on and off.
  2. Travelling under Hwy #401 by train
  3. Travelling by the former community of GlenChristie ( you can see the sidings)
  4. Footage from on and off the train travelling over the railbridge on Speed River.
  5. On Blackbridge Road there is now a level rail/road crossing. There used to be a railbridge underpass for safe movement of train under the road. See the rare footage of it before it was torn out. The train goes under it a few times on different excusions that day.
  6.  You get to see the fantastic footage of the train going by the then Hespeler CN Railway Station.(3rd trip)
  7.  Crossing Hwy 24 at once was Gourock, ON.
  8.  Arriving in Guelph on Alama Street.

Enjoy this video piece of Hespeler history.

Due South TV Show - All the Queen's Horses Outtakes



Due South was a popular Canadian TV Show. The Season 2 Episode 14 features the RCMP musical ride on board a train with terrorist attack. Lots of fun with Leslie Nielsen and Gordon Pinsent in this episode. 



These outtakes are of the scene 42:35 into the episode. It is of the RCMP  actors and their horses getting on and off the train. The original episode aired 12 April 1996 - Season 2 | Episode 14. You can watch the whole episode at: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5vftr8

Piso's Cure for Consumption and Florida Water Bottles Found in Hespeler



We take great pride in living our home that is approximately 140 yrs old in Hespeler. When our basement was being renovated several years ago we found these two old bottles in them.

Now that we live in a world of  the internet lots of people have already looked into the history of these two products.

1. Florida Water - Murray & Lanman Druggists New-York - Made since 1883, as a perfume to add to your bath water. Two fun facts stand out. It was never made in Florida and it has more alcohol that water in it. Here is a detailed article on the Florida Water. https://baybottles.com/2018/05/10/murray-lanman-druggists-new-york-florida-water/

2. Pico's Cure for Consumption - Hazeltine & Co. - Founded in 1864, this company claimed to have a cure for consumption.(tuberculosis). Fun fact is the ingredients at different times contained opium, morphine,  chloroform, cannabis and alcohol. A very detailed history of this scam is available at: https://www.fohbc.org/PDF_Files/PisoTrior_JSullivan.pdf