Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Other Ian Fleming!

"Bond, James Bond", WRONG! "---"Watson, John H. Watson, M.D.", CORRECT! The question here, is which Ian Fleming is Ian Fleming? The answer is BOTH! 

For those of my readers into "Bondage", that Ian Fleming's mini-biography is part of my article, "Ian Fleming's 'James Bond': 'Casino Royale' Times Three", found at:

This article is about "The Other Ian Fleming", born Ian Macfarlane, on September 10, 1888, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

However, finding any information on his life is next to impossible and many on-line sites repeat the exact same information word for word. So, I am afraid, do the reference material on Australian/British actors that I could locate and read.

Looking under Fleming's birth name of "Ian Macfarlane", I found Australian Politician John Robert Macfarlan, born in 1881, who was also known as Ian Macfarlane. I found an Australian economist, Ian John McFarlane, born in 1946, and I found an Australian journalist born in 1959, named Ian Macfarlane, who wrote "The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop". 

What I could not locate was anything more about the life of the subject of this article, or anything to tie the above Macfarlane's to each other, with the exception that they were all born in Australia.

Where Ian Macfarlane went to school, or started acting is unknown to me. I do know he did start legitimate stage acting in 1904 Australia, but could not locate any other information on the plays he performed in until 1929's, "The Berg", by British playwright Ernest Raymond. That play was about the sinking of HMS Titantic, and premiered, with "Ian Fleming" and not "Ian Mcfarlane", at the "Q Theatre", in London, on March 12, 1929 and ran for 29 performances until April 6, 1929. The play became a motion picture, but Ian Fleming was not part of that film's cast.

By 1929, Ian Fleming had appeared in his first two-motion pictures and would appear in his third later in the year. His first motion picture was the silent feature "Second to None", released in the United Kingdom on August 22, 1927, and made by "Gaumont British".

The plot is about a First World War British Naval family, the father is a commander, played by Fleming, and the strain both the commander and his wife feel after their adopted son deserts the Navy in search of his sweetheart. Who it turns out has married a German spy, and is attempting to find her. I could not locate any stills from the feature film.

Fleming's second feature was a 1928 silent, and the second filmed version of the 1915 court room drama, "The Ware Case", by playwright George Pleydell Bancroft. In the 1950's, the play was produced, with different casts, on both British and American television anthology series.

Before I go further, one of those repeated biographical lines, I mentioned, reads that Ian Fleming was:

an Australian character actor with credits in over 100 British films.

The website "IMDb", and some others, lists 212 roles for the actor and that amount certainly exceeds 100 films, but reflects the problem I faced about finding any real biographical information about the actor Ian Fleming.

Although I am not going to look at all 212 roles Ian Fleming portrayed, I move two motion pictures forward to, "School for Scandal", 
released on September 5, 1930, in London, more for its historical backstory and who played some of the roles not just in this motion picture. 

Seated above, is third billed, Ian Fleming, portraying "Joseph Surface", and Edgar K. Bruce portraying "Sir Olivier Surface", his father.

The actual play was written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and was first performed at the Drury Lane Theatre, on May 8, 1777. Like many British plays, "School for Scandal", is described as a "comedy of manners". According to the website, "Britannica": 

The play's story is described as:
Charles Surface is an extravagant but good-hearted young man. His brother Joseph, supposedly more respectable and worthy, is shown to be a conniving schemer who courts Lady Teazle, the young wife of a wealthy old nobleman. Sir Oliver Surface, their uncle, disguises himself to discover which of his nephews shall be his heir. Joseph is exposed as a hypocrite, and Charles triumphs, winning both fortune and true love.

This was the first sound film version of the play, in 1923, there were two filmed versions, one featured Basil Rathbone in the role portrayed by Ian Fleming, and the other Russell Thorndike. Who would leave acting to become the author of the "Dr. Syn: the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" series of adventures.

In the 1930 motion picture, the leading lady's role, "Lady Teazle", was portrayed by Madeline Carroll, director Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 "The 39 Steps" and 1936's "Secret Agent". The first television production of the play aired on the BBC, May 19, 1937, starring Greer Garson as "Lady Teazle".

Also in 1937, husband, Sir Laurence Oliver portrayed "Sir Peter Teazle", and his wife, Vivian Leigh, portrayed "Lady Teazle" on the London stage, with Peter Cushing portraying "Joseph Surface".

Back in 1812, novelist Jane Austin appeared on stage in the plays character of "Mrs. Candor".

I now move to the one-role that Ian Fleming is remembered for by my fellow "Sherlockians".


When I was researching Ian Fleming's background, and the following motion pictures he co-starred in. I consulted my autographed copy of Ron De Waal's, original 1974, "The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson", and my, 1967, copy of William S. Baring-Gould's, "The ANNOTATED Sherlock Holmes". However, as they helped me understand the differences in the original stories vs the screenplays and the differences in the characters themselves. I could not locate any more biographical material about the actor.

Sir Arthur Conan, described "John H. Watson" in the four novels and fifty-six short stories, as having received his medical degree, in 1878, at "Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry". That schooling was followed by "Watson" being trained as a military assistant surgeon at the "Royal Victoria Military Hospital" aka: "Netley Hospital". Upon concluding his medical training, "Dr. John H. Watson" joined the British army in India, served in the second Anglo-Afghan War, and was wounded by a bullet to his shoulder during the "Battle of Marwan" in July 1880. After recovering from his injury and a bout of dysentery, the discharged doctor returned to England, 

In the first chapter of "A Study in Scarlet", the discharged surgeon tells the reader
I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air — or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless existence, and spending such money as I had, considerably more freely than I ought.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works, as published in "The Strand Magazine", were set in the England he lived in, under Her Majesty Queen Victoria and later His Majesty King Edward VII. 

However, like the 12-1940's "Sherlock Holmes" motion pictures starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce made by "Universal Pictures"The Arthur Wonter and Ian Fleming pictures may have contained characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle , but his original story lines were changed and moved to the same modern year as the motion picture. Thereby, also changing the characters themselves, unlike the two "20th Century Fox" films in 1939, "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", starring Rathbone and Bruce.

I write the above to give my reader a small amount of background on the features I will be describing.


The "The Sleeping Cardinal", was the original British "Twickenham Studios" title. However, the picture did not premiere in England, but on July 12, 1931, in New York City, with the second tile.

The motion picture was directed by Leslie S. Hiscott, who specialized in murder mysteries. In 1928, Hiscott filmed authoress Agatha Christie's short story, "The Coming of Mr. Quin", as "The Passing of Mr. Quin", in 1930, he filmed playwright A.E.W. Mason's, classic "The House of the Arrow", and followed this feature film with the Agatha Christie's novel, "The Murder of Richard Ackroyd", filmed as 1931's, "Alibi".

About the screenplay:

From the above opening title card, the screenplay was:
 adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, THE FINAL PROBLEM and EMPTY HOUSE.

The basic story for the "The Final Problem", set in 1891, introduced "Professor James Moriarty", the arch enemy of "Sherlock Holmes", and "The Napoleon of Crime". The story ends with both "Holmes" and "Moriarty" falling over Switzerland's, Reichenbach Falls to their deaths. Below, Sidney Paget's original "Strand Magazine" drawing:

The basic story for the "Empty House", opens exactly on March 30, 1894, three-years after the apparent death of "Sherlock Holmes". When the "Honorable Ronald Adair", the son of the colonial governor of Australia, the "Earl of Maynooth,  is murdered in his locked-sitting-room in London. "Adair" was known to play the card game "Whist" with a partner, "Colonel Sebastian Moran", and had won 420 English Pounds

Contrary to belief, "Sherlock Holmes" had won the fight at the Reichenbach Falls with "Professor James Moriarty" and now reunites with "Dr. Watson". 

"Holmes" solves the murder of "Ronald Adair", committed by "Colonel Sebastian Moran", who used a specialized air gun that was modified to shoot revolver bullets. "Moran", "Professor Moriarty's" second in command, was the man, the reader now learns, who pushed rocks off the ground at the top of the Reichenbach Falls to kill "Holmes". After "Moriarty" has fallen to his death and believed the "Consulting Detective" had also fallen to his own death.

The two "Sherlock Holmes" short stories were adapted into a screenplay treatment by Cyril Twyford. He only adapted a combination of seven plays and short stories for the screen. They included the previously mentioned "The House of the Arrow", and other works, I will mention, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for two more "Sherlock Holmes" films.

The actual screenplay was co-written by director Leslie S. Hiscott and the uncredited, H. Fowler Mear. Mear had been writing scenarios since 1917, and would adopt authoress Marie Belloc Lowndes' novel, "The Lodger", into the first sound film version, 1932's, "The Lodger" aka: "The Phantom Fiend". That motion picture starred Ivor Novello in the same role he played in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1927, "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog". 

The Cast:

Arthur Wontner
first portrayed "Sherlock Holmes". Wontner had just been seen in a 28-minute, 1930 short, "The Message", and would follow this feature film with the crime drama, 1931's, "A Gentleman of Paris"

Ian Fleming first portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson" in this picture. Fleming portrayed the role in four of the five Wontner motion pictures. He was strangely billed as "Jan Fleming", more than likely a typo. After this motion picture, Ian Fleming appeared in his second "Sherlock Holmes" feature film.

Minnie Rayner portrayed "Mrs. Hudson". The actress mainly appeared on stage, but her films included the same four "Sherlock Holmes" features Ian Fleming was in. Rayner co-starred with Ida Lupino, in Lupino's third on-screen appearance, in the 1931, "I Lived with You", based upon a play by actor Ivo Novello, and also in the 1940 version of "Gaslight".

Leslie Perrins portrayed "Ronald Adair". Perrins had appeared in two-short subjects before this feature, his first full length film. He would follow with another short subject and the 1931 mystery "The House of Unrest".

Jane Welsh portrayed "Kathleen Adair". This was the actresses first motion picture and between it and her final on-screen appearance in 1958, her on-screen roles totaled twenty-six. 

Normal McKinnel portrayed "Colonel Henslowe". McKinnel's first on-screen appearance was in an 1899 short subject entitled, "King John". The Scottish stage actors total on-screen appearances totaled eighteen and ended in 1932.

Above, left sitting is Leslie Perrins, standing beside him is Jane Welsh, next to her seated appears to be Sydney King as "Tony Rutherford", standing on the right is Norman McKinnel, the actor seated on the far right is William Fazan portraying "Thomas Fisher". 

Philip Hewland portrayed "Inspector Lestrade". Between 1915 and 1936, Hewland appeared on-screen 50 times, including one other "Sherlock Holmes" feature film and the 1928 production of "Sweeney Todd".

The Basic Screenplay:

After a silent sequence of a man's silhouette within the Bank of England and a possible murder.

The film switches to four men playing bridge at a card table within the home of diplomatic attaché for the Foreign Office, "Ronald Adair". The butler, "Marston", portrayed by Gordon Begg, finds an ace of spades of the floor and hands it to the card players and its placed in the deck. However, one of the players finds he now has two-ace-of-spades and "Ronald Adair" takes the extra card from him, comments it must belong on the table with the other decks and places it there.

As his sister watches the card game, it seems to her, that "Ronnie" is winning too handsomely from "Colonel Henslowe" and the other two players. What she doesn't realize is her brother is a "card shark", but he picked the wrong people to cheat. "Kathleen" also mentions in passing "Dr. Watson", and one of the card players, "Thomas Fisher", asked if she knows "Sherlock Holmes" also, but gets a negative reply.

"Kathleen Adair" excuses herself and goes through a door to another room with a waiting "Dr. John H. Watson". She thanks him for coming and tells the old family friend her concerns about her brother and "Watson" mentions that all of "Kathleen" and "Ronald's" finances were stolen by their parent's "Estate Trustee", but he will speak to "Sherlock Holmes" to look into things. She wants to meet "Holmes" herself and will on the following morning.

After the card game is over, "Ronald Adair" is called to a meeting at a painting called "The Sleeping Cardinal" to receive instructions. The voice he hears is actually that of "Professor Moriarty".

"Dr. Watson" now goes to his roommate, "Sherlock Holmes" with the details of "Kathleen Adair's" concerns.

What follows is "Sherlock Holmes" starting to uncover a worldwide counterfeiting ring. 

"Ronald Adair", because of his gambling addiction is being blackmailed to transport the counterfeit money to different countries under his diplomatic credentials, but becomes a liability. 

"Adair" is murdered in a locked room, no one heard the shot or shots fired, but because of their proximity should have. 

"Sherlock Holmes" speaks to "Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade" about his theory as to whom is really behind the counterfeiting and the murder, but does not reveal his thoughts about the murder weapon.


"Sherlock Holmes" sets himself up as a target for the murderer and the attempt on his life, of course, fails. The murderer has been caught in the trap set by "Sherlock Holmes", the air gun is revealed, and the arrested murderer is first revealed to be "Colonel Henslowe", but "Holmes" follows by introducing everyone to "Professor Robert Moriarty".

The following link, at the time of this writing, will take my reader to the complete British version of "The Sleeping Cardinal"


The motion picture opened in London on February 12, 1932, but is now considered a "Lost Film" and the reason few stills or videos are available.

The motion picture was once again directed by Leslie S. Hiscott, whose latest motion picture had been based upon a Agatha Christie mystery play, "Black Coffee", and released in 1931. Hiscott followed this motion picture with 1932's, "Murder at Covent Garden".

About the screenplay:

The credits indicate the screenplay was based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, short story, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton". That places the original story in 1899, and is about the "King of the Blackmailers". "Milverton" demands 7,000 English pounds for letters he has that would destroy "Lady Eva's" marriage. "Holmes" agrees to get the letters by any means, because "Milverton" has put himself outside the law. The letters will be returned to "Lady Eva" and another victim will murder "Milverton".

Below, Sidney Paget's drawing of "Charles Augustus Milverton" in a 1904 issue of "The Strand Magazine".

The actual screenplay was co-written, once again, by H. Fowler Mear, who had written the screenplay for another Arthur Wontner motion picture, 1932's, "Condemned to Death". Mear followed this film by writing the screenplay for Leslie S. Hiscott's "Murder at Convent Garden". 

Cyril Twyford
was the other co-writer of this screenplay, between the two "Sherlock Holmes" entry, Twyford wrote Leslie S. Hiscott's 1931, "Brown Sugar".

The Cast:

There were five familiar names in the picture's cast, but no characters named either, "Lady Eva", or "Charles Augustus Milverton".

Arthur Wontner portrayed "Sherlock Holmes". Wontner had been in the previously mentioned, 1932, "Condemned to Death", he would follow this motion picture with the only "Sherlock Holmes" film of his series that did not have Ian Fleming, but Ian Hunter portraying "Dr. Watson".

Ian Fleming portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson, M.D.". Ian Fleming followed this picture with an uncredited role in the comedy musical, 1932's, "Lucky Girl", starring British comedian Gene Gerrand, 

Jane Welsh portrayed "Lady Violet Lamsden". Like Arthur Wontner, Jane Welsh was in the cast of 1932's, "Condemned to Death", prior to this picture, and would follow it with the 1932 mystery, "The Chinese Puzzle".

Minnie Rayner portrayed "Mrs. Hudson". She had just been seen in the 1931 version of the comedy drama, "Hobson's Choice", and would follow this picture with the 1933, comedy, "Excess Baggage".

Philip Hewland portrayed "Inspector Lestrade". He was just in the 1931 romance, "Many Waters", and followed this motion picture with the Edmund Gwenn, 1933, "Marooned". 

Miles Mander portrayed "Claude Holford". The actor, writer, producer, and novelist had been in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1930, "Murder". Two-years earlier he had collaborated with Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, on the screenplay for 1928's, "The First Born". He followed this feature in the Colin Clive, romantic drama, 1932's, "Lily Christine". 

The Basic Screenplay:

As I mentioned this is a lost motion picture, after going to eleven sites including specific "Sherlock Holmes" ones, all eleven just state with the same wording:
Sherlock Holmes goes on the trail of a Rembrandt painting, stolen by a drug-addicted artist.

I believe the "drug-addicted artist" is the character of "Claude Holford". My non-United Kingdom readers, must remember that London suffered under the German Blitz during the Second World War and many motion pictures were lost, but titles and cast listings may have survived. While stills from these films may also have been lost.

I already mentioned that Ian Fleming followed this picture with the 1932 musical, "Lucky Girl", but that motion picture was followed by three mysteries, 1932's, "After Dark", is about a bag full of emeralds disappearing on a train, 1933's, "Call Back", was a mystery, but nothing is known about the story. The third, 1934's, "The Third Clue", starred Basil Sydney, "Captain Smollett" in Walt Disney's 1950 "Treasure Island", and takes place in an "Old Dark House". A man is murdered in his study and before dying, gives his brother, two clues to the location to hidden East Indian Jewels, but the titled clue is still needed to find them.


The motion picture had its premiere in London on January 31, 1935, and had its United States premier in New York City on May 24, 1935. 

Two interesting dates, the film did not go to general United Kingdom release outside of London until August 26, 1935.

While, on September 8, 1939, "The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes", had its television premier in New York City. Below, is the American poster quoting the trade paper, "The Hollywood Reporter".

Leslie S. Hiscott directed, he had just directed the 1935, comedy, "The Big Splash", and would follow this motion picture with the crime drama, 1935's, "Three Witnesses". 

About the screenplay:

The screenplay was supposed to be based upon the fourth and final novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Valley of Fear", first published in "The Strand Magazine", between September 1914 and May 1915. 

The story tells of "Sherlock Holmes" receiving two encrypted messages from an associate of "Professor Moriarty" about a plot against a country gentleman named "Douglas". They're followed by the arrival of "Scotland Yard Inspector MacDonald" with the news that "Douglas" was murdered.

After interviewing "Cecil Barker" a frequent guest at Birlstone House, the "Douglas" home, "Holmes" and "MacDonald" rule out a suicide. "Barker" believes "Douglas", an American, who married an English young woman, left America in fear of a secret society. Next, "Douglas", apparently alive and well, appears to "Dr. Watson", and hands him a handwritten manuscript that will explain his fear of that secret society. 

Reading the manuscript, "Sherlock Holmes" discovers that "Douglas" is really a Chicago, Illinois, Pinkerton Detective named "Birdy Edwards". Who infiltrated a murderous secret society of coal miners, located in the Vermissa Valley, brought them to justice, but was pursued and he left for England for his perceived safety.

The novel was based upon real life Pinkerton Detective, James McParland.

McParland infiltrated the Irish coal-miner secret society, "The Molly Maguires", operating in Pennsylvania, in the 1870's. A hundred years later, director Martin Ritt's, 1970, "The Molly Maguires", had actor Richard Harris portraying "James McParland".

As previously, the screenplay team remained the same for "Twickenham Studios". H. Fowler Mear had just written the crime drama, 1935's, "The Rocks of Valpre", and would follow this film with the Lupe Velez and Ian Hunter, 1935 comedy, "The Morals of Marcus". While for Cyril Twyford, this was the last motion picture screenplay of the seven he wrote.

The Cast:

Arthur Wontner
portrayed "Sherlock Holmes". Wontner was just seen in the only "Sherlock Holmes" film in the series without Ian Fleming, 1932's, "The Sign of the Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case". His next feature film had the actor co-starring with Bramwell Fletcher in the drama, "Line Engaged".

Ian Fleming portrayed "Dr. John H. Watson". As I mentioned above, Fleming proceeded this picture with the 1934, mystery, "The Third Clue". He would follow this film with another crime mystery, 1935's, "The Riverside Murder".

Lyn Harding portrayed "Professor Moriarty" for the first time. He had just been in the comedy crime drama, 1934's, "Wild Boy", and followed this feature with the 1935, drama, "Escape Me Never".

Leslie Perrins portrayed "John Douglas". Perrins had just been seen in 1935's, "The Rocks of Valpre", and followed this feature with the 1935, "The Village Squire".

Jane Carr portrayed "Ettie Douglas". She had just starred in the 1934, drama, "Intermezzo". I could not locate any other information, or cast members. This was made two-years before the Swedish film of the same title that led to the 1939 picture starring Ingrid Bergman. After this motion picture, Jane Carr appeared in the 1935 comedy, "The Lad".

Charles Mortimer portrayed "Inspector Lestrade". Mortimer had just been seen in 1934's, "Boomerang", and followed this feature with a 1935 drama, "The Small Man".

Minnie Rayner portrayed "Mrs. Hudson". Rayner co-starred in the 1934 drama, "Flood Tide", before this picture and after, was seen in 1935's, "The Small Man".

The Basic Screenplay:

The following articles tell the screenplay better than I could locate:

From the "New York Times", May 27, 1935

Let it be said that the Criterion died game! It strides out of Times Square (closing Sunday night) with a smile on its facade and Sherlock Holmes on its screen. Its last picture, "The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes," with Arthur Wontner in the title rôle, is a mellow, evenly paced British film that renders to Holmes what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have rendered to him: Interest, respect and affection.
Again we find the sinister Professor Moriarty at large, this time in the service of a secret organization which is seeking revenge upon one of its former members, John Douglas. Holmes is lured out of retirement when the murder of Douglas—by that delicate weapon, the double-barreled, sawed-off shotgun—gives him an excuse to match wits again with Moriarty.
Dr. Watson is around, of course, muddling through the clues, announcing his theories and waiting patiently for the dénouement which will permit him to exclaim, "Marvelous, Holmes!" Finally, Holmes assembles a dumb-bell, a candle, a pair of slippers, an umbrella and a suit of clothes and converts them into a bludgeon which topples Moriarty from his criminal throne. That is Holmes's triumph.

From the Dundee Scotland, "Evening Telegraph", September 28, 1935

From the "Burley Express", Burley and Padiham, England:

As I have already mentioned, Ian Fleming next appeared in 1935's, "The Riverside Murder", he portrayed "Henry Sanders". The motion picture starred Basil Sydney and actor Alastir Sim, 1951's "A Christmas Carol",  portrayed a police sergeant. 

The film was made as a "quota quickie", under the "Cinematograph Films Act of 1927", passed to stimulate production in the United Kingdom's declining film industry. Studios were required to make so-many films a year under the act and many of the films that followed in Ian Fleming's career were "quota quickies".

Fleming's very next motion picture was a historical period film, 1935's, "Drake of England" aka: "Drake the Pirate", about Queen Elizabeth and the future Sir Francis Drake. Ian Fleming had the uncredited role of "Lord Howard of Effingham". 

He portrayed "Sir Geoffrey Hilliard" in 1935's, "School for Stars", starring Torin Thatcher, "Sokurah the Magician", in stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen's, 1958, "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad". 

After which Ian Fleming portrayed "Henry Norman" in 1935's, "Sexton Blake and the Mademoiselle". The "Sexton Blake" detective series were first written in 1893 aimed at young British boys. The last of the series, as of this writing, was back in 1978. By that year there had been 4,000 written detective stories from, at least, 200 different writers. In the Fleming film, "Sexton Blake" was portrayed by George Cuzon.

Ian Fleming still had a stage career and on February 2, 1935, he appeared at the "Whitehall Theatre", in London, as "Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, KG PC FRS", in the historical play, "Viceroy Sarah", about the relationship of "Lady Sarah Churchill", and "Queen Anne", during the 1701-1715, "War of the Spanish Succession". 

Next, he appeared as "Stephen Shand" in February 1936's, "Prison Breaker", starring James Mason. The story was based upon a novel by crime novelist, sometimes science fiction writer, and playwright and screenplays writer, Edgar Wallace. Who had written both the original novel and first screen treatment for producer Merian C. Cooper's, 1933, "King Kong".

In September 1936, Ian Fleming was the "Medical Officer" in the Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Dolores del Rio's crime drama, "Accused".

In March 1937, Fleming portrayed "The Coroner", in the crime comedy, "Jump to Glory" aka:  "When Thief Meets Thief" co-starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Valerie Hobson, and Alan Hale, Sr. 

premiered in London on June 30, 1937

However, when the motion picture arrived in the United States, it was now:

MURDER AT THE BASKERVILLES released January 15, 1941

The American title basically came about, because the screenplay had the added character of "Sir Henry Baskerville". While, the 1939, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, was still popular and the American distributor, "Astor Films", played off of it for the real purpose of tricking the paying audience thinking of the other story but if my reader is interested in the actual story about "Sir Henry Baskerville"! My article is, "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES on the Motion Picture and Television Screens 1914-2016", found at: 

While "Silver Blaze" opened in the United Kingdom in 1937, the German film company, "Ondra-Lamac-Film", released "Der Hund von Baskerville (The Hound of the Baskervilles)", starring Bruno Guttner as "Holmes", and Fritz Odemar as "Watson".

This motion picture was directed by Thomas Bentley, who had been directing motion pictures since 1912. Just before this motion picture, Bentley, directed a crime film starring Anthony Bushell, 1937's, "The Angelus". Afterwards his feature was the 1937 drama, "The Last Chance".

About the screenplay:

The screenplay is based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892, short story, "The Adventure of Silver Blaze". That story has "Sherlock Holmes and "Dr. Watson" taking a train to Dartmoor, to investigate the disappearance of a great race horse, "Silver Blaze", and the murder of the horse's trainer, "John Straker". The story will involve "Scotland Yard Inspector Gregory", a bookie named "Fitzroy Simpson", a stable hand named "Ned Hunter", the horse's owner "Colonel Ross", his neighbor "Silas Brown", and the mysterious personage known as "William Derbyshire". 

Everyone, but "Holmes", assumes that "Straker", who had a major blow to his skull killing him, was murdered by "Simpson" using his "Penang Lawyer", a clublike walking stick. Add that the shepherd that cares for the sheep on "Colonel Ross's" property said three turned up lame by something, or someone cutting one of their legs.

Then you have the following question about the dog on "Colonel Ross's" property:

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

In the end, "Silver Blaze" was found wandering off the Colonel's property by his neighbor "Silas Brown", but his blaze was painted over and "Brown" didn't recognize the race horse. William Derbyshire" was actually the trainer "John Straker". Who had a mistress with expensive tastes and he wanted to influence the outcome of the horse race by injuring "Silver Blaze". "Straker" had practiced on the sheep. Oh, his killer? "Silver Blaze", kicked "John Straker" in his head reacting to being cut on his leg.

The actual screenplay was partly written by actor Arthur Macrae, who prior to this picture worked on 1936's, "Hideout in the Alps", and followed this feature with the musical comedy, 1937, "Gaiety Girls". The other writer was the familiar name of H. Fowler Mear, who worked on 1937's, "Vicar of Bray", before this feature and afterwards, 1937's, "Talking Feet".

The Cast:

Note, that there are several characters not from the original story and that both "Professor Moriarty" and "Colonel Sebastian Moran" are added. As to Scotland Yard, "Inspector Gregory", he has been replaced by "Inspector Lestrade" and "Silver Blaze's" trainer "John Straker" is now married.

Arthur Wontner portrayed "Sherlock Holmes" for the last time. He had just been seen on-screen with tenth billing, in the Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison, 1937, comedy romance, "Storm in a Tea Cup". Wontner followed this motion picture with the 1937 comedy, "Live Wire".

Ian Fleming portrayed "Dr. Watson" for the last time. He had just been in 1937's, "Thief Meets Thief", and followed this feature film with another horse racing film. This time a comedy, 1937's, "Racing Romance".

Lyn Harding was back as "Professor Moriarty". Harding has just appeared in 1937's, "Knight Without Armor", co-starring Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat. Lynn Harding followed this motion picture portraying "Vespassian" in the Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon, 1937, "I, Claudius".

John Turnbull portrayed "Inspector Lestrade". Turnbull has just on-screen in the 1937 circus drama, "Make-Up", and followed this feature film with the uncredited role of "The Mayor", in the 1937 musical "Talking Feet".

Robert Horton portrayed "Colonel Ross". This was his last of his ten on-screen roles starting in 1931. There are no identified photos of the actor.

Lawrence Grossman portrayed "Sir Henry Baskerville". Just prior to this feature, Grossman was in 1937's, "Make-Up", and followed this picture with the 1937 musical, "The Girl in the Taxi".

Judy Gunn
portrayed "Diana Baskerville". This was the last of twelve on-screen roles starting in 1933.

Arthur Macrae portrayed "Jack Trevor". This was Macrae's third motion picture and it had been proceeded by the 1936 crime drama, "Hideout in the Alps". The actor followed this film with the 1940 comedy, "George and Margaret".

Above left to right, Arthur Macrae, Judy Gunn, and Laurence Grossman.

Arthur Goullet portrayed "Colonel Sebastian Moran". Goullet had just been seen on-screen in the 1937 version of author H. Rider Haggard's, "King Solomon Mines", starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Paul Robeson, and Anna Lee. After this motion picture he was in the 1937 crime drama, "Non-Stop New York".

Martin Walker portrayed "James Straker". He had just been in 1937's,"The Vicar of Bray", and followed this feature with 1938's, "The Drum", starring Sabu, Raymond Massey, and Valerie Hobson. 

Eve Gray portrayed "Mrs. Straker". She had co-starred with Anthony Bushell in 1937's, "The Angelus". Gray co-starred in the 1937, "When the Devil Was Well", following this motion picture.

D.J. Williams portrayed "Silas Brown". Not to be confused with the first Arthur Wontner "Sherlock Holmes" feature, Williams had just previously been seen in 1937's, "The Fatal Hour", a spy story. He would follow this picture with the musical comedy, 1937's, "Keep Fit". 

Ronald Shiner portrays two character's, "Simpson", now the stable boy/ and "The Jockey".

The Basic Screenplay:

The story really starts as "Sherlock Holmes" reads, to "Dr. Watson",  a letter he just received from "Sir Henry Baskerville". "Sir Henry" is reminding his two friends that it has been twenty-years since he's actually seen them and is inviting the two to Baskerville Hall. To "Holmes", this is an unexpected chance for a relaxing vacation away from London in the English countryside.


The screenplay writers are taking a form of poetic license with that twenty-years, because "Sir Henry Baskerville" is referring to the first time the three met. Now, when the three meet once more at Baskerville Hall, "Sir Henry" will have a throw-away line reminding them about "The Family Dog". Should anyone not be following what I am writing, according to the screenplay, what the audience is watching taking place in 1937, is supposed to be twenty-years after the events of "The Hound of the Baskervilles".
The viewer must put aside the fact that "Holmes", "Watson", and "Sir Henry's" meeting with the "Hound of Hell", took place before both "Professor Moriarty" and "Sherlock Holmes" were supposedly killed in "The Final Problem". A Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story that the viewer has already seen in a different version as part of the screenplay for 1931's, "The Sleeping Cardinal" aka: "Sherlock Holmes Fatal Hour". 

So, the viewer is again faced with the poetic license of Misters Macrae and Mear.

A powerful bookie has hired "Professor Moriarty" to prevent the favorite race horse, "Silver Blaze", from winning the next race. Starting a chain of events that prevents the relaxing vacation of "Sherlock Holmes". Just days before the race, the trainer and "Silver Blaze" go missing and the stable boy responsible for the race horse is found murdered. A short time later, while following hoof tracks to the moor, "Holmes" finds the trainer dead with a scalpel beside his body. 

Following other tracks, this leads the detective to the home of "Sir Henry's" neighbor, "Silas Brown", and the discovery of "Silver Blaze", safe, but with his identifying white blaze painted over. Returning with "Silver Blaze", "Sherlock Holmes" speculates that the trainer poisoned the stable boy, took the race horse to the moor to sever his tendons to keep him from racing, but was hit in the head by the horse's hoofs.

The bumbling "Lestrade" believes the murderer is "Diana Baskerville's" fiancé "Jack Trevor".

A sample of the film's dialogue is the following statement my "Holmes" to "Lestrade":
We’re old friends. I should hate to see you make such an ass of yourself as wrongfully to arrest the future son-in-law of Sir Henry Baskerville.

"Holmes" gets "Silver Blaze" entered into the race in the hopes of catching the "Professor".

But "Professor Moriarty" seems a head of the consulting detective and with the silent air gun hidden in a movie camera, has "Colonel Sebastian Moran" shoot and kill the jockey as the race continues and "Silver Blaze" loses. However, "Moriarty" is seen leaving the race track and "Watson" is sent to follow him, but is captured by the professor's henchmen.

Getting no information of value from "Dr. Watson", "Moriarty" tells his henchmen toss the doctor down an abandoned unworking lift shaft. Surprise, out pops "Sherlock Holmes" to stop the henchmen and catch the professor. Leaving the question to any attentive viewer, if the shaft was abandoned in "Professor Moriarty's" hideout. How did "Holmes" have it repaired and working without the professor hearing and seeing the workmen?

After his last "Sherlock Holmes" adventure, Ian Fleming had the lead in the 1937 drama, "The Reverse Be My Lot". The story was about a struggling actress, played by Marjorie Corbett,  who volunteers for a doctor's, Ian Fleming, experimental flu serum and falls in love with his son.

Fleming's next film was a crime story entitled "Dial 999", which refers to the newly installed, 1938, British emergency number. Six similar style films with supporting, or minor roles brought the actor to--


March 2, 1939, six-months before England entered the Second World War on September 3, 1939, found Ian Fleming, below, in the cast of "Q Planes" aka: "Clouds Over England" as the "Air Minister". The film starred Sir Ralph Richardson as a "British Spy Master", Valerie Hobson as his sister and love interest of pilot, "Sir Laurence Olivier". The picture was produced by Alexander Korda.

Ian Fleming portrayed "Sir Egbert Lucas", in March 1939's, "The Nurse Who Disappeared", about a kidnapping plot as a result of a bogus employment agency that fronts a blackmail gang. Not to be confused with the 1938 film with the same name, also about kidnapping.

On November 3, 1939, Ian Fleming was now an "Air Officer", in "The Lion Has Wings", a documentary-style, propaganda war film about an RAF Officer, Sir Ralph Richardson, his wife portrayed by Merle Oberon, and their family, produced by Alexander Korda.

Switching for the "Royal Air Force" to the "Royal Navy", Ian Fleming's immediately followed, on December 23, 1939's, "Sons of the Sea", starring Leslie Banks, Kay Walsh, and Mackenzie Ward. Ian Fleming, seen below seated, portrayed a "Naval Intelligence Officer".

The July 12, 1940 musical war comedy started out with the title, "Let George Do It", for the popular musical comedian star, George Formby, but that title was very shortly changed to a more provocative propaganda one, "To Hell with Hitler". Ian Fleming portrayed the uncredited "Colonel Harcourt", thirty-two-years old Bernard Lee portrayed "Oscar", twenty-two-years before he first became the other Ian Fleming's "M" in 1962's, "Dr. No". Torin Thatcher portrayed a "German U-Boat Commander".

Director Carol Reed released on July 26, 1940, his classic spy thriller, "Night Train to Munich". The motion picture starred Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, and Paul Henreid. Fleming portrayed an uncredited "Home Office Official". 

Six more uncredited roles brought Ian Fleming into 1941.

Released in November 1941 was "Ships with Wings", a reference to British aircraft carriers. In this feature Ian Fleming portrayed an uncredited "Colonel". Some scenes were shot on the aircraft carrier "Ark Royal". The "Ark Royal" had been involved in the search for and sinking of the German battleship "Bismarck" on May 27, 1941. 

I have included the following picture of a poster for the production, because it mentions the aircraft carrier. On November 13, 1941, during the month "Ships with Wings" was released, the "Ark Royal" was torpedoed by the German submarine, "U-81" and sunkOnly one of her 1,488 crew members was killed though.

On May 15, 1942, Ian Fleming has another minor role as a "Royal Navy Officer" in the pure propaganda motion picture, "The Next of Kin", about a housewife bragging about what her son is doing, unknowingly, to a Nazi spy. To warn the film's viewer as to how they may be violating national security:

Like many American movies of the period, the actors in "The Next of Kin", who were in the military are billed with their ranks. Examples, a "German General" was portrayed by "Lt. Torin Thatcher R.A.", "Brigade Major Harcourt" was portrayed by "2nd Lt. Jack Hawkins RWF", and an "Intelligence Officer" portrayed by "Ft-Lt. David Hutcheson RAF.VR".

By this time Ian Fleming had become a solid supporting actor in British films with a familiar face, but maybe not a familiar name to go with it. On June 29, 1942, was the story of 1930's woman aviator, Amy Johnson, portrayed by Anna Neagle, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. Fleming had the role of a "War Secretary". The motion picture was originally entitled "They Flew Alone", but was changed to "Wings of the Woman". Amy Johnson's life in many ways paralleled American Amelia Earhart. While transporting a plane, Johnson was part of the "Air Transport Auxiliary", during the Second World War, the plane apparently ran out of fuel over the Thames Estuary. Amy Johnson was seen bailing out and her parachute coming down, but that was the last anyone ever saw of her. Robert Newton portrayed her husband "Jim Mollison".

Six movies later and Ian Fleming's wartime films were coming to an end. On April 15, 1943, Ian Fleming was a "Royal Navy Captain" in "We Dive at Dawn", a submarine story that starred Eric Portman and Sir John Mills.

On June 10, 1943, a little remembered motion picture outside of the United Kingdom, but considered by many still the greatest film England ever made, with a running of time of two-hours-and-forty-three-minutes, "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" opened in London. 

Below, Ian Fleming portrayed "Army Major Plumley" in the 1902 "Boer War" segment. 

The story follows soldier "Clive Wynne-Candy", portrayed by Roger Livesey, as he rises in the ranks from the Boer War through the Second World War. Throughout his life is Deborah Kerr as either. "Edith Hunter", "Barbara Wynne", or "Angela 'Johnny' Cannon".

An actor has to eat and after seventeen motion pictures with nine completely uncredited roles, one in a known secondary role, but unable to be identified, Ian Fleming joined a cast of thirteen uncredited actors, and two uncredited writers, in the twenty-three-minute public service film, "English Criminal Justice", released in 1946. 


On November 3, 1936, the BBC started commercial broadcasting in the London area. Eleven-years later, to the month, on November 30, 1947, Ian Fleming made his first appearance in a made for television motion picture.

"Mary Rose" was a television version of a 1920 play by J.M. Barrie, "Peter Pan", about the daughter of the "Morland" family who twice disappeared, and is a ghost story. Ian Fleming portrayed her father "Mr. Morland". This made for television production would be followed by seven more into 1949.

Then it was back to another crime drama, 1949's, "A Matter of Murder", with third billing as "Inspector McKelvin". Several more crime drama's both on television and in film followed until an appearance in the 1953 television mini-series, "Robin Hood", starring Patrick Troughton in his pre-"Hammer Films" and "Second Dr. Who", days. Ian Fleming portrayed "Maid Marian's father". 

Starting with portraying the role of "Dr. Henley", on the British television soap opera, "The Grove Family" on June 11, 1954 through May 7, 1957, Ian Fleming's career switch to primarily television programing and this would carry the actor into 1968.

On November 16, 1955, Ian Fleming portrayed "Count Latour" in "The Sword of Justice" episodes of the television series, "The Scarlet Pimpernel".

Among the British television programs Fleming was seen in during 1956, were "Jane Eyre", "The Count of Monte Christo", and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". 

In 1957 Fleming was seen in two episodes of the British/American television anthology series, "The Errol Flynn Theatre". The first was "The Duel", March 29, 1957, and starred Flynn, the second was, "Mademoiselle Fifi", April 26, 1957, and only was hosted by Flynn, but starred Paulette Goddard.

In 1957, the British and American television audiences saw Ian Fleming in an episode of "The New Adventures of Charlie Chan". 

In March 1960, George Sanders starred in the motion picture "Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons", co-starring with Corinne Calvert. Ian Fleming portrayed "The Attorney". 

The following month Fleming was a "pawnbroker" in the British neo-noir gangster motion picture directed by Terence Young, "Too Hot to Handle", starring Jayne Mansfield, Leo Glenn, and featuring Christopher Lee in a small role. 

In May 1960, he was seen as "Arthur, the Butler" in "Trials of Oscar Wilde", starring Peter Finch and James Mason.

Then it was back to British television with programs such as the 1962 - 1963, "Richard the Lionhearted", portraying the "Lord Chamberlain". Ian Fleming was a "Butler" in an episode of Roger Moore's television series, "The Saint", and portrayed "Dr. Jamieson", in "Journey in the Air", February 28, 1965, on the British television series "Alexander Graham Bell". On October 18, 1965, seemingly typecast as the typical British butler, Ian Fleming was in that role in "The Return of Mr. Moto" starring New Yorker, Henry Silva.

On December 12, 1966, Ian Fleming portrayed the "High Priest", in director Fred Zinemann's, "A Man for All Seasons", starring Paul Scofield, Robert Shaw, and Orson Welles.

Below, in 1967, Ian Fleming portrayed "Lord Fontenoy" on "The Forsyte Saga".

On November 5, 1967, portrayed both the "Man at Café and First Top Hat" in the "The General" episode of Patrick McGoohan's, "The Prisoner".

Ian Fleming's final role was of "Sentius" in the episode, "Claudius", November 2, 1968, of ITV's mini-series, "The Caesars".

On January 1, 1969, in London, England, THIS IAN FLEMING, passed away at the age of 80-years. He will always be overshadowed by THE OTHER IAN FLEMING!

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