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The Sign of Four (1923)

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The Sign of Four
The Sign of Four 1923 Poster.jpg
Original Theatrical Poster
Country UKD.jpg UK
Directed by Maurice Elvey
Release Date 1923
Language Silent
Studio Stoll Picture Productions
Main Cast
Character Actor
Sherlock Holmes Eille Norwood
Dr. John Watson Arthur M. Cullin
Mary Morstan Isobel Elsom
Prince Abdullah Khan Fred Raynham
Jonathan Small Norman Page
Dr. Sholto Humberston Wright
Insp. Anthony Jones Arthur Bell

The Sign of Four is a British 1923 B&W detective movie, loosely based on the famous novel by Arthur Conan Doyle. It is directed by Maurice Elvey and stars Eille Norwood as Sherlock Holmes and Arthur M. Cullin as Dr. Watson. This is the final installment in a series of forty-seven silent films (45 shorts and 2 features), starring Eille Norwood as Holmes.

The following weapons were used in the film The Sign of Four:



A snub nose revolver of Bulldog family is seen in Holmes' apartments.

Nickel British Bulldog. This version has an unfluted cylinder, just like the screen gun.
The revolver on the shelf.
The Sign of Four-1923-Bulldog-2.jpg
The Sign of Four-1923-Bulldog-3.jpg
Holmes (Eille Norwood) moves the revolver to another place to take his pipe.

Webley .38 Mk III

Dr. Watson (Arthur M. Cullin) carries a Webley .38 Mk III revolver during the visit to Dr. Sholto.

Webley .38 Mk III Military Contract 4 inch barrel - .38 S&W
Watson holds his revolver during the voyage in Sholto's car.
The Sign of Four-1923-Webley-2.jpg
Sherlock Holmes (Eille Norwood) takes the revolver from Watson.
The frame and cylinder of the revolver match .38 Mk III model.
Holmes orders Sholto to stop dodging and take them straight way to the house in Twickenham.
The hammer spur and the rear part of the frame are seen.
Watson holds the revolver in the scene in Sholto's house. The lanyard ring of a Military Contract model can be seen.
Due to a continuity error Watson's revolver switches back to a Webley while in the previous moment it was Sholto's Smith & Wesson (see below).

Smith & Wesson Model 2 Double Action

Dr. Sholto (Humberston Wright) carries a compact top-break revolver; Smith & Wesson Model 2 Double Action seems to be a good guess. Dr. Watson (Arthur M. Cullin) takes the gun from Sholto and uses it to break a door lock.

Smith & Wesson Model 2 Double Action, 3.25" barrel - .38 S&W
Sholto, not trusting Miss Morston's companions and demanding that they not deceive him, draws a revolver.
A closer view of Sholto's revolver.
Watson aims the Smith & Wesson at Sholto; a Webley revolver is in his left hand. In previous moment Watson took a revolver from Sholto's pocket but it was his own Webley (a clear continuity error).
The Sign of Four-1923-SW-4.jpg
A good view of the revolver when Watson fires at a door lock. The shape of the trigger guard matches Model 2 rather than later Smith & Wesson models of same size that have more rounded trigger guards. In this moment the Webley is in Holmes' hands, and in next moment Watson again holds a Webley instead of Smith & Wesson (see above).

Pocket revolver

During the boat chase Prince Abdullah Khan (Fred Raynham) holds a pocket top-break revolver of unclear model.

For comparison: Harrington & Richardson Premier revolver. This sample looks similar to the screen gun.
Prince Abdullah Khan carries a chest with treasures, holding a revolver in another hand.
The Sign of Four-1923-Revolver-2.jpg
The Sign of Four-1923-Revolver-3.jpg
The Sign of Four-1923-Revolver-4.jpg
The Sign of Four-1923-Revolver-5.jpg
The revolver is seen from several angles when Abdullah Khan grapples with his servant who tried to take possession of the treasure.
Abdullah Khan holds his revolver.


Webley & Scott Metropolitan Police

During the confrontation with Jonathan Small and his pygmy accomplice, Sherlock Holmes (Eille Norwood) uses a Webley & Scott Metropolitan Police pistol.

Webley & Scott Metropolitan Police Pistol - .32 ACP
The Sign of Four-1923-WebleyPistol-1.jpg
Holmes fires at the pygmy. In next moment the pistol swithces to a pocket version of Webley pistol (see below).
Holmes fires his pistol during the boat chase.
He arrests Abdullah Khan.

Webley & Scott Pocket Pistol

After Holmes shot the pygmy, he aims his pistol at Jonathan Small, and the gun switches from full-size Webley to a pocket model (and later back to Metropolitan Police model). It is hard to say if it has exposed hammer or is hammerless, making it impossible to identify the exact model of the pistol used.

Webley & Scott Model 1908 - .25 ACP
The Sign of Four-1923-WebleyPocketPistol-1.jpg


Unidentified rifle(s)

Guards of Andaman Islands Prison Settlement carry some rifles that aren't seen clear enough for positive identification.

The Sign of Four-1923-Rifle-2.jpg
The Sign of Four-1923-Rifle-3.jpg
Guards with rifles.
A guard with rifle is seen on a production still.

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