HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
Bitter Springs
Centipede Horror
Physical Evidence
Fanny Lye Deliver'd
55 Days at Peking
Alive
Man from Snowy River, The
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo
   
 
Newest Articles
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
   
 
  Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The The Sleuth Revealed
Year: 1970
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely, Geneviève Page, Christopher Lee, Tamara Toumanova, Clive Revill, Irene Handl, Mollie Maureen, Stanley Holloway, Catherine Lacey, Peter Madden, Michael Balfour, James Copeland, John Garrie, Godfrey James, Frank Thornton
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Fifty years after the death of Dr John Watson (Colin Blakely) the contents of a box kept all that time in a bank vault could be made public. His great friend and colleague Sherlock Holmes (Robert Stephens) could be relied upon to get to the heart of a mystery and uncover the solution, but what Watson was reluctant to reveal was his occasional fallibility. Thus these two cases provided fresh insight into the famed detective's personality, and were assuredly not something that would have been printed in The Strand magazine with the others...

Of course, if writer (with I.A.L. Diamond) and director Billy Wilder had had his way there would have been four cases revealed in that box, but the story of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was a sad one through and through. It was intended as a three hour long epic, offering audiences a selection of Holmes pastiches each of which would highlight one of his failings as perceived by Wilder, three of them around half an hour long or shorter, and the main tale concerning the Loch Ness Monster. Unfortunately for him, the studio got cold feet as they did not think they would get their money back, and a drastic re-edit was ordered.

Wilder didn't have much to do with the recutting of his epic, and the fact remained that by this time whatever the studio were doing to it was more a damage limitation exercise than a boost to the quality of the movie. Once released in a couple of hours format, very few were interested in shelling out to see it, and it was one of the biggest flops of its day: well into the next century it still hadn't entirely made its costs back. Add to that a production dogged with mishaps such as the monster submersible sinking to the bottom of the actual Loch Ness and Wilder's badgering of Stephens to the point of a nervous breakdown and it was a film many would rather forget.

But such is the way with these things, Holmes was such an enduring character that anything featuring him, especially a grand folly carrying as much baggage as this did, would generate intrigue among the many aficionados of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most celebrated creation. Therefore a cult following was amassed over the years among those who responded to Wilder's tentative reinventions, but just as many, if not more, who tried this were left disappointed that it was all so muted, in spite of a plot which stirred in various craziness. The first, shorter story is not so much a mystery as an accusation that Holmes was homosexual, but rather than treat it as a lighthearted dig, it's presented with an eventually crushing moral weight.

Things picked up somewhat in the second yarn as Wilder showed the sleuth's drive to uncover the truth could be misplaced, but again feels as if the character was being needlessly undercut without sufficient humour to keep the whole thing afloat. Here Holmes and Watson assist a woman (Geneviève Page) who showed up bedraggled at their door, leading them on a journey to Northern Scotland and medium-jinks with the monster, a collection of midgets, canaries, castles, spies and the reappearance of Holmes' brother Mycroft (a bald Christopher Lee, one of the highlights). All very well as far as that went, but if it amused it never inspired or revealed what it was Wilder saw in the originals that made it so imperative he should have devoted so much time to it. For a long while this was going to be a musical, which would have been genuinely audacious, but as it stood it was elaborate enough but curiously downbeat and dejected, as if the production's troubles were dragging down the events on screen. Music by Miklos Rosza.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2968 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: