9 November 2008 | winner55
worth a view...
very difficult to watch German Holmes film.
Christopher Lee is excellent in a role he wanted to play throughout his life (returning to it late in a couple mini-series) - this despite the fact that his voice was unnecessarily dubbed by someone else. He plays the great detective as an intense young crime-fighter with wit and chutzpa.
The problems are the script and direction. The story is too convoluted, in a manner familiar to anyone who has suffered through other German mysteries of the same period, such as the Dr. Mabuse films. This was a Germany still dealing with the fact that they had a murderously criminal government only two decades previous - consequently there is considerable suspicion of the police in these films, evil seems omnipresent, the moral center is hard to find. A similar atmosphere, for completely different reasons, crept into British popular culture only in the 1970s, appearing in a British Sherlock Holmes film only in "Murder by Decree."
But the German film also suffers from the evident fact that the director can't decide whether he wants to make a Sherlock Holmes film or a Sherlock Holmes parody - there are all sorts of misfired jokes and bits poking fun at a "Sherlock Holmes superhero" image that doesn't really exist - a problem for other directors who have tried spoofing the detective, including the great Billy Wilder. The fact is, Doyle was careful NOT to make his hero an 'Uebermensch,' just a closet Nietzschean - a common romantic British type of the day.
Finally, all existing prints I know of are in shoddy condition.
Worth a view, especially for Holmes fans, but sub-par for this sub-genre of mystery film.