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The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

Sherlock Holmes is certainly one of literature's all-time most famous characters, the subject of countless novels and short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between 1887 and 1927. Since then, he has become possibly the most portrayed movie character in cinema history according to the Guinness Book of Records, over 70 actors have played the coveted part in more than 200 films. So rich was Conan Doyle's description of Holmes that many readers have come to think of him as a historical figure, and derive enjoyment from speculating on the finer detail's of the private detective's life. Likewise, many authors and filmmakers have decided to expand on the stories of Sherlock Holmes, creating new mysteries that perhaps Dr. John Watson forgot to publish. 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)' is such a tale, directed by master filmmaker Billy Wilder, who also produced and co-wrote with long-time collaborator I.A.L. Diamond the film.'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes' was originally written and filmed as a three-hour roadshow picture, an episodic compilation of Sherlock Holmes' most difficult mysteries. Unfortunately, the studio's unwillingness to take a risk with such a format meant that entire sequences, including a prologue with Watson's grandson in London, and a flashback to Holmes' university years, were inharmoniously cut from the film. Though I was initially unaware of this studio intervention, I met these findings with anger and frustration; while the surviving picture is merely a good film, Billy Wilder's original vision would certainly have been something special. I hear that at least one episode has been restored into later DVD editions of the film, but most of the missing footage remains, devastatingly, permanently absent. The story, as we now find it, is comprised of two unequal portions: the first concerns Holmes' interactions with a glamorous ballet dancer (Tamara Toumanova), casting doubt on the famous detective's sexuality, while the second mystery demonstrates the efforts of Holmes and Watson to locate the husband of an beautiful woman (Geneviève Page) suffering from amnesia.When little-known British actor Robert Stephens first appeared on screen as Det. Sherlock Holmes, I wasn't certain that he was the suitable man for the job Wilder had initially considered Peter O'Toole as Holmes, and Peter Sellers as Watson, before deciding to cast unknowns. However, despite initially appearing too flamboyant to play Conan Doyle's brilliant investigator, I'm happy to say that, by the end of the film, he had well-and-truly grown on me. While Stephens didn't quite match the stories' depiction of Holmes, this is only because Dr. Watson's dramatisations often tend to embellish the truth and misrepresent facts about the detective's personality and demeanour a point that is alluded to early in the film itself. Colin Blakely, though given very little to do, is a lot of fun as Holmes' companion and biographer, playing the role a lot less serious than I've seen it done in the past. Christopher Lee also appears as Holmes' intellectually-equal brother Mycroft, whose associations with the British government may prove crucial to the case being investigated.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

In The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Billy Wilder gets access to a case that Doctor Watson did not want revealed. As you watch the film you can see why.Should I be talking about Holmes as a real person? Well in a sense he's more real to his devoted fans than a lot of the real personalities of the Victorian/Edwardian era. Arthur Conan Doyle created a character that has a cult following to this day that is unmatched. In modern terms, the Star Trek phenomenon is the closest thing we have to it.Of course Arthur Conan Doyle created a man whose private life was only hinted at and he concentrated on the cases with which Holmes always solved with matchless deductive reasoning and an eye for detail that Adrian Monk would envy.Billy Wilder had a Holmes film in mind over a dozen years before this one came to fruition. At one time he wanted to cast Peter O'Toole as Holmes and Peter Sellers as the faithful chronicler Watson. That one went by the boards for a number of reasons.Wilder for the only time in his directing career settled for less than box office draws in casting the film, mainly because people he wanted weren't available. Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely were a fine duo of Holmes and Watson, but no one ran to see the film because they were starring in it.Holmes gets involved in this particular case when a woman is fished out of the Thames and deposited on his doorstep because she had his address upon her. She's looking for her missing husband and the trail takes Holmes and Watson to Inverness in Scotland. There's quite a bit involved and it will become clear why Sherlock Holmes did not want this case publicized by friend, colleague, and house mate Doctor Watson.The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is not a bad film, it did fail to find an audience back then. Stephens is certainly no Basil Rathbone and Colin Blakely doesn't play Doctor Watson like the befuddled dunce Nigel Bruce was. His Watson is rather bumptious as most of Blakely's roles are. Watson in fact was neither and his medical training helped Holmes any number of times in literature.Maybe Wilder should have held out for Peter O'Toole. 041b061a72


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