The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Crime, Music

The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) Poster

The younger brother of the consulting detective tries to steal Sherlock's glory by solving an important case assisted by an eccentric Scotland Yard detective and a lovely but suspicious actress.



  • Madeline Kahn in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)
  • "Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smother Borthers, The" Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman / 1975
  • "Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, The" Gene Wilder 1975 / 20th
  • "Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, The" Madeline Kahn, Gene Wilder. 1975 / 20th
  • Gene Wilder in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)
  • Gene Wilder in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)

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15 June 2001 | HenryHextonEsq
| Tolerable... largely
Well, Gene Wilder assembled a fine cast for a comedy; some comedy arises - if fitfully - from their interactions. In their antics Wilder, Feldman and DeLuise are passable if hardly inspired and the venerable talents represented by John Le Mesurier and Leo McKern are scarcely touched upon, but Madeline Kahn is wonderfully oddball. This was the first time I had seen her in anything and, I must say, she is a wonderfully deft, uncanny comedienne; so singular and alluring. Glancing over her filmography, it seems a crying shame that she was continually relegated to supporting status and didn't get many - if any - genuine lead roles.

Whilst some relatively unconnected hi-jinks do impress, the film's Achilles heel is that there is little structure, with gags of almost exclusively physical nature dominating - perhaps overbalancing the brew - and the odd non sequitur impressing. The use of song and such like is undeniably similar to that of Mel Brooks, and indeed the numbers accorded Ms Kahn are appropriately exuberant. But, Wilder's script and, shall we say, laissez faire direction, are ultimately to blame for the film's failings: the use of the Sherlock Holmes mythos is rather too minimal and little impression or flavour is given of the Holmes stories, in what purports to be a spoof.

Leo McKern, a quite splendid actor, does very well with what he is given, but what he is given is scant, and he is seldom gainfully employed; it is a shame that more room in the film could not have been allocated to such an enjoyable, twinklingly august actor. Roughly the same goes for Le Mesurier. What does, however, impress is a certain degree of comic aptitude, displayed *just enough* by the cast, making hay with the isolated flashes of inspiration in the script.

The film indeed never quite outstays its welcome, although at times is tiresome when gags fall flat - as too often they do. So often it is terribly frustrating, when considering the calibre of those involved, to think of the film this could well have been... As it stands it is merely a mildly enjoyable, amiable film; 'inconsequential and slapdash' some sharp pens would justifiably inscribe, but I feel it deserves my indulgence - most specifically because of the glorious Madeline Kahn.

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