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Scene from The Crucifer of Blood (1978)

The Crucifer of Blood is a play by Paul Giovanni that is adapted from the Arthur Conan Doyle novel The Sign of the Four. It depicts the character Irene St. Claire hiring the detective Sherlock Holmes to investigate the travails that her father and his three compatriots suffered over a pact made over a cursed treasure chest in colonial India during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Broadway production

The play, directed by the author, opened on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre on September 28, 1978, and ran for 236 performances.

The production was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Giovanni for Best Direction of a Play, and won the award for Roger Morgan's lighting design. It also received Drama Desk Awards for Morgan as well as for John Wulp's scenic design. Bran Ferren received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award for Special Visual & Sound Effects.[1]


London production

The play, directed by the author, opened in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on March 15, 1979, and ran for 397 performances. Denis Lill, who played Dr. Watson, would later go on to play Inspector Bradstreet in Sherlock Holmes (1984 TV series). In September 1979, the roles of Holmes, Watson and Irene were taken over by Gerald Harper, David Horovitch and Kate O'Mara respectively.[3]


Los Angeles production

The play, directed by the author, premiered in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theatre in the Los Angeles Music Center on December 5, 1980, and ran through January 17, 1981. A notable feature of this production was that Jeremy Brett, who later became one of the most famous portrayers of Sherlock Holmes, played Dr. Watson.



The Cruifer of Blood was adapted into a television movie for Turner Network Television and first broadcast on November 4, 1991. The cast featured Charlton Heston as Holmes, Richard Johnson as Watson, Clive Wood as Small, John Castle as St. Clair, Edward Fox as Ross, Simon Callow as Inspector Lestrade, Susannah Harker as Irene St. Claire, Stefan Kalipha as Wali Dad, Kaleem Janjua as Durga Das, Lloyd McGuire as Kiran Shah, Sidney Livingstone as Roly Lamas Dir, and James Coyle as Birdy Johnson. It was directed by Heston's son Fraser Clarke Heston.[5]


  1. ^ "Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle - 1980 - 1989 LADCC Awards". 2009-02-10. Archived from the original on 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2017-06-14.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ Andrew Davis - IBDB
  3. ^ "Production of the Crucifer of Blood | Theatricalia".
  4. ^ a b Vol. 3, Section 10K, Actors, Performances and Recordings-Plays, C20172 Through C20489
  5. ^ Terry Rowan, Whodoneit! A Film Guide (2014), p. 228