Murder by Decree

Murder By Decree. Highlight 1979.
Murder By Decree. Highlight 1979.

Before watching the movie:

Our culture will probably never get tired of telling stories about Sherlock Holmes. I wasn’t sure if this was an adaptation or an original story until I remembered it was about the Jack the Ripper case, but I’m just looking forward to seeing Christopher Plummer try the role. He’s always interesting to watch, but I don’t think he’s the best at disappearing into a role. Particularly for a larger than life character like Holmes, I expect some scenery chewing.

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Without a Clue

Without a Clue. ITC Entertainment Group, 1988.

Before watching the movie:

I used to make a point of saying why I chose a movie, but I stopped because it was often just “it was on the shelf/streaming service”. However, this one has a particularly unusual path. Several years ago, I got a CD of Halloween-themed film music. One of the tracks was “Super Sleuth, from Without A Clue”. The name didn’t fit, the music didn’t fit, the source didn’t fit, it seemed an all around poor choice. However, it directed my attention to a movie that had the potential to fit my tastes very well. I don’t think I got around to looking it up on my rental service for another few years, but whenever I added it, it’s taken until now to get to the top of the list.

Frequent readers of this blog should know that I have a particular attraction to variants of Sherlock Holmes stories. I’m intrigued by the halfway application of the literary agent hypothesis, but mostly I just want to see Michael Caine play a bad actor trying to be Holmes. Ben Kingsley seems a terrific choice to play a straight man in a double act, and Michael Caine is terrific in everything.

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They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants. Universal 1971.

Before watching the movie:

No, it’s not about the band, but it did inspire the name. George C. Scott plays a modern-day man who believes he’s Sherlock Holmes, hence the Don Quixote reference title.

I think it’s time I admitted I have a problem where it comes to Sherlock Holmes stories, but I’m interested in seeing what George C. Scott does with the role.

If the poster image this week looks cheap and slapped together, it’s because it’s from the DVD release. I try to pick a poster version most faithful to the theatrical release, but I found that one far too nonindicative. The same could probably be said for last week’s.

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Young Sherlock Holmes

Young Sherlock Holmes. Amblin/Paramount 1985.

Before watching the movie:

Going into this one , I know that this is a movie: 1)About Young Sherlock Holmes, and  2)my mother quickly realized I was too young for once. (I don’t remember that incident.)

The blurb isn’t much more helpful. It talks about an “exciting adventure” and a “series of mysterious deaths near… Brompton Academy.” That’s more than enough for me to get a sense of what to expect, actually, but it doesn’t give me much to say. I’ve heard it’s a comedy and that, by nature of its premise, isn’t even attempting to live up to canon.

Side note: I wanted to have a Leslie Nielsen movie this week in light of his death, but was unable to obtain one. The one I chose should be here next week though.

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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The Mirisch Film Company 1970.

Before watching the movie:

While I liked the new Sherlock Holmes movie, some Sherlockians (and presumably British Holmesians) disliked how the character portrayals clashed with their understanding of the canon. Even those who based that understanding on something more faithful than the Basil Rathbone serials found some big things to complain about.

While looking around Hulu’s film collection, I happened upon a Holmes adaptation that seems to be another reimagining that may well be more faithful to the idea that lives in many minds than the Robert Downey Jr. Holmes.

Additionally, while I don’t like to bring up school on this blog, my Film Studies professor was a big fan of Billy Wilder, so when I saw that Billy Wilder directed this film, I couldn’t pass it up.

I’ll find out what Billy Wilder’s idea of Holmes is in the main article.

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