Road Rash Reviews

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes Blu-ray Review****-

Cert PG | 125 mins | 1970

4 Star

The Game is Afoot.

Writer I.A.L. Diamond (The Apartment, Some Like It Hot) teams up with writer/director Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, The Seven Year Itch, The Spirit of St. Louis) to bring us their version of the most famous private detective on the planet. This is the lesser known of the penning of Dr Watson.

A box stored and only to be opened fifty years after the death of Dr Watson, it has all the paraphernalia of the brilliant Sherlock Holmes and the writings of Dr Watson, (the ones that were not serialised in the ‘Strand’).

The film is based around two of these unpublished stories and the first is set around a time of stagnation in the detectives career and Sherlock (Robert Stephens, Empire of the Sun) who spends his down time categorising cigarette and cigar ash, which bores him so he turns to his opiates to liven up the dull moments, much to the chagrin of Dr Watson (Colin Blakely, A Man for All Seasons, The Dogs of War).

A letter arrives and is delivered by Mrs. Hudson (Irene Handl, The Italian Job, Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers, The Hound of the Baskervilles) with an invitation to go see the Imperial Russian ballet perform ‘Swan Lake’. Dr Watson loves the idea but Sherlock is nonplussed, however they end up going anyway and later on Holmes is invited to go see the lead ballerina Madame Petrova (Tamara Toumanova, Deep in My Heart) who has a plan for our famous detective. Even a bribe of a Stradivarius cannot get Holmes to do what she wishes and he has to make a claim that upsets our proud Dr and when he gets back too 221B Baker Street he is fuming, so much so that Holmes has to misdirect him until he has blown off steam.

The bell rings downstairs, who could that be at this time of night? It is a cab driver asking for money, but money for what, a woman who has just been pulled out of the Thames after she had been hit on the head and now suffers from memory loss. Intrigued, Holmes has the girl brought in and the cab fair is paid. After some detective work they find out that she is Gabrielle Valladon (Geneviève Page, El Cid) and she is looking for her missing husband.

Holmes takes the case. He will encounter many things such as people of small stature, Trappist monks, the Loch Ness monster and more. When his brother Mycroft (Christopher Lee, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch, The Man Who Could Cheat Death) warns him off.

Nothing is going to stop our hero.

·         Glorious 1080p presentation
·         Uncompressed PCM soundtrack (on the Blu-ray)
·         Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
·         A new video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard
·         The Missing Cases (50 mins): A presentation of the films deleted sequences, using script excerpts, production stills and surviving film footage. Includes the film’s Original Prologue, The Curious Case of the Upside Down Room, The Adventure of the Dumbfounded Detective and The Dreadful Business of the Naked Honeymooners
·         Deleted Epilogue Scene (audio only)
·         Christopher Lee: Mr. Holmes, Mr. Wilder  – an archival interview with Christopher Lee about his experience working with Billy Wilder
·         Interview with editor Ernest Walter
·         Original theatrical trailer
·         PLUS: A collectors booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp; the words of Billy Wilder; and rare archival imagery

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is available on Blu-ray.

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DirectorBilly Wilder
GenreAdventure, Comedy, Crime
StarringRobert Stephens, Colin Blakely, Christopher Lee, Genevieve Page
Available to buy on : Own The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) (Masters of Cinema) Blu-ray on Blu-Ray
Category: Blu-ray, Review