The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

PG-13   |    |  Adventure, Comedy, Crime


The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) Poster

When a bored Holmes eagerly takes the case of Gabrielle Valladon after an attempt on her life, the search for her missing husband leads to Loch Ness and the legendary monster.

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7.1/10
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  • Geneviève Page and Robert Stephens in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
  • Colin Blakely and Robert Stephens in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
  • Colin Blakely and Robert Stephens in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
  • Robert Stephens in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
  • Colin Blakely in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
  • Geneviève Page in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

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30 March 2003 | R. J.
Thoroughly civilised, delightful entertainment
Billy Wilder's take on the world's most famous detective is both painstakingly faithful and sardonically subversive to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's idiossyncratic creation. Presented as a case that loyal companion John Watson duly recorded but requested remain secret until long after his death, in which Holmes aids a Belgian woman find her missing husband, a mining engineer hired by an apparently non-existant English company, it makes clever use of the rulebook Conan Doyle set down while at the same time undermining it from within. The title and the plot may seem misleading at first - the first half hour especially seems at odds with what comes afterwards - but in fact if you're a Holmes fan you'll quickly realise that this is as close to romance as the detective would ever allow, and Wilder tells it through a masterful accumulation of small touches that only someone as meticulous as the man himself would notice. Script-wise, it's a cracking mystery in the best Doyle tradition, with all the time-honoured twists and turns present and correct. The acting is also up to Wilder's usual standards; Stephens and Blakely are an engaging duo as a bored Holmes and a bumbling Watson, and there's a hysterically funny supporting turn by the always underrated Revill as a Russian ballet impresario. Wilder's trademark pointed cynicism fits the English witticism particularly well, even if at times it all seems a bit too modern for the peaceful Victorian surroundings, but it is quite ironic to see him chiding Britain's stiff-upper-lip, old-fashioned morality when the film seems to be an "old timers' movie" entirely out of sync with its own time. Still, it's hard to find fault in such a thoroughly civilised and delightful entertainment.

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Adventure | Comedy | Crime | Mystery | Romance | Thriller

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