blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Man with the Twisted Lip (1921, Maurice Elvey)

A scene from THE MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP, directed by Maurice Elvey for Stoll Picture Productions.

The Man with the Twisted Lip is not a particularly exciting narrative to begin with, but director Elvey does keep the story moving at a decent pace. He paces most of Lip like a play, albeit one with flashbacks. Elvey cannot, however, make it interesting.

Some of the problem is the adherence to the source material. Most of the short is told in flashback, which cuts down on the narrative’s urgency–especially since Ellie Norwood’s Sherlock Holmes keeps important details from Hubert Willis’s Watson and Watson is the viewer’s entry into the short.

Norwood mostly stands around doing little. Willis sits around doing less. As the main characters in the case, both Robert Vallis and Paulette del Baze are good.

Elvey inexplicably gives away the mystery’s solution with a showcase of movie special effects magic in the first few minutes.

It’s not much good, but Lip does move. A little.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Maurice Elvey; screenplay by William J. Elliot, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle; director of photography, Germain Burger; released by Stoll Picture Productions.

Starring Eille Norwood (Sherlock Holmes), Hubert Willis (Dr. John Watson), Robert Vallis (Neville St. Clair), Paulette del Baze (Mrs. Nellie St. Clair) and Mme. d’Esterre (Mrs. Hudson).


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