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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

7.2
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Reviews: 78 user | 54 critic

When a bored Holmes eagerly takes the case of Gabrielle Valladon after an attempt on her life, the search for her missing husband leads to Loch Ness and the legendary monster.

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Title: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Colin Blakely ...
...
Gabrielle Valladon (as Genevieve Page)
...
...
...
Irene Handl ...
Mollie Maureen ...
...
Catherine Lacey ...
Woman in Wheelchair
Peter Madden ...
Michael Balfour ...
Cabby
James Copeland ...
Guide
John Garrie ...
First Carter
Godfrey James ...
Second Carter
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Storyline

Director Billy Wilder adds a new and intriguing twist to the personality of intrepid detective Sherlock Holmes. One thing hasn't changed however: Holmes' crime-solving talents. Holmes and Dr. Watson take on the case of a beautiful woman whose husband has vanished. The investigation proves strange indeed, involving six missing midgets, villainous monks, a Scottish castle, the Loch Ness monster, and covert naval experiments. Can the sleuths make sense of all this and solve the mystery? Written by Joel Preuninger <Jhpreunin@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's greatest detective tackles his toughest case ! See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

29 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Íntima de Sherlock Holmes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With a 260-page script and a budget of $10 million, this was set to be a 165-minute Road Show picture with an intermission for comfort. It was to be the "Big One" for Billy Wilder. The shooting schedule ran for six months and resulted in a rough-cut that came in at three hours and 20 minutes. The film was originally structured as a series of very specifically structured linked episodes, each with a particular title and theme. The opening sequence was to feature Watson's grandson in London claiming his inherited dispatch box from Cox & Co. and there was also a flashback to Holmes' Oxford days to explain his distrust of women. All were shot, but deleted from the final print. So what happened? Well, it appears that United Artists suffered a number of major film flops in 1969 that pretty much scuppered the road show format for Wilder's massive project. Studio execs ordered the film to be cut to fill a regular theatrical running time, whittling it down to a 125-minute version. The episodic format made the pruning process relatively simple, so cut were the opening sequence, the Oxford flashback and two full episodes entitled "The Dreadful Business of the Naked Honeymooners" at 15 minutes and "The Curious Case of the Upside Down Room" at 30 minutes. We can only hope that the full footage can one day be restored, although a full print is not currently thought to exist. See more »

Goofs

When Holmes, Watson and Gabrielle get off the train at Inverness, the train goes forward to another destination. The railway station at Inverness is a terminus. See more »

Quotes

Holmes: Madame must not be too hasty. She must remember that I am an Englishman.
Nikolai Rogozhin: So?
Holmes: You know what they say about us: if there's one thing more deplorable than our cooking, it's our lovemaking. We are not the most romantic of people.
Nikolai Rogozhin: Perfect! We don't want sentimental idiots, falling in love, committing suicide. One week in Venice with Madame, she goes back to St. Petersburg with baby, you go back to London with fiddle.
See more »

Connections

Featured in A Bit of Scarlet (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Opus 24
by Miklós Rózsa (as Miklos Rozsa)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A surprisingly melancholy celebration of Conan Doyle's most famous creation
19 February 1999 | by (Oxford, England) – See all my reviews

Billy Wilder's excellent 1970 film handles the whole subject of Sherlock Holmes from a refreshingly different angle. As the title suggests, the film is rather more concerned with characterisation than plot, which although entertaining and original, is hardly an adequate stage to show off Holmes' exceptional talents.

Instead, Wilder and Diamond start with the premise that "Watson's" stories for Strand Magazine were a little more lurid than the "reality" and use it to develop a more subtle characterisation than the "thinking machine" of the literary Holmes. Admittedly, the film probably concentrates on Holmes' celebrated cocaine habit more than it should, but all references are lifted straight from the book and in any case, Stephens does not dwell on it.

Stephens himself is quite simply excellent, giving Holmes' a depth of character not seen again until Jeremy Brett on the small screen. Stephens' performance leaves us with a slightly melancholy Holmes', a man who perhaps regrets that, unlike Watson, he has dedicated his life to pure reason and while the screenplay hints at Holmes' sexuality, Stephens deflects it masterfully, remaining ambivalent and gentile where a less accomplished actor would have been simply camp, and so uses the suggestion to wrap another layer of ambiguity about the character.

All in all, Wilder and Stephens combine to make a refreshingly accessible Holmes and the entertainment comes from the interplay of characters rather than pace of plot.


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