After the obvious Rathbone and Brett (at least, I think Brett is obvious), the historical Gilette, and the modern Cumberbatch and Downey, two of the biggest names I see discussed as great Holmes performances are Peter Cushing and Christopher Plummer, and I was hoping to get to include both in this farewell series. However, in my preparation, I found that Plummer’s most notable outing in the role was Murder by Decree, which I’ve already covered. I don’t want to reprise Holmses, so I’m afraid I won’t be covering Plummer again. However, Cushing is quite acceptable.
I admit my reference is limited, but all I know of Cushing’s career is Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, the forgotten Doctor Who (no, not that one, the other one. The really forgotten one. No, not that forgotten) from the two cinematic films, and that he was in quite a lot of Hammer films, a production company most known for highly regarded 60s and 70s B-horror films (don’t quote me on that summary). This is in fact a Hammer film, and probably considered a horror. So now I’ll have seen a Hammer Horror, probably.
A large-budget film with a star-studded cast and strict attention to period accuracy could go poorly in all sorts of ways. The actors could fight for attention to the detriment of the film, the visual appeal could be lost in gritty details or vice versa, and the effort put into the enormous practical concerns could stomp out any entertainment value of the film.
These worries are only enhanced by the subject material. I vaguely recall an adaptation of The Three Musketeers in that a young man wants to be a Musketeer, gets in a fight with some, and then they all have adventures together. Rather dull, especially if one isn’t into swashbuckling tales.
I recognize many names, but I can connect hardly any of them with anything I know. At least it’s sold as a comedy, but I don’t expect much out of a 70s film.
Usually, I avoid sequels, but this pair was intended to be a single film, so I am taking it as one.
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.