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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,476 users  
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:

It took a genius to cover up Sherlock Holme's vices, blunders, and bizarre tastes. Sherlock Holmes was a genius. 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, the scenes featuring the Loch Ness Monster were intended to be filmed in the actual Loch. A life-size prop was built which had several Nessie-like humps used to disguise flotation devices. The humps were removed, however, at Billy Wilder's request. Unfortunately, during a test run in Loch Ness, the Monster-prop sank and was never recovered. A second prop, a miniature with just the head and neck, was built, but was only filmed inside a studio tank. Actress Geneviève Page said of this in the biography "Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder" by Charlotte Chandler): "When we lost our Loch Ness monster, he [Wilder] wasn't too concerned, even though he was also the producer. He was more concerned about how the man who made it felt when all his work sank to the bottom of the Loch Ness. He went over and comforted him". See more »

Goofs

Towards the end, when the submarine sinks we see a bible and a bottle of champagne float to the surface - alas the bottle of champagne would not float. See more »

Quotes

Watson: Holmes, let me ask you a question. I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but... there 'have' been women in your life, haven't there?
Holmes: The answer is yes...
Watson: [Watson breathes a sigh of relief]
Holmes: ...You're being presumptuous. Good night.
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

 
Grand even as an edit
21 December 2005 | by (Bloomington, Indiana) – See all my reviews

This film is sometimes described as a comedy, and while it has humorous bits (a more sardonic and biting form of humour most of the time), it has never really felt at home being classified as a comedy, in my estimation. I do like the rapid-fire wit that Holmes seems to have here (a bit more in abundance than in the canonical Conan Doyle stories), but the Holmes presented here is a bit more dark and brooding, more akin to the extra-canonical 'Seven Percent Solution' Holmes in many ways.

Wilder was an extraordinary director and genius who sometimes gets carried away with his subject (in this regard, he is sometimes compared with Stanley Kubrick). His films are often of epic-proportions, even though they are not essentially 'epic' subjects. This film is reputed to have been nearly twice as long as the final cut version, but this may be apocryphal in that much of the raw footage never made it to final print and production. The restoration available on the disc currently available is, in fact, rather minimal - a few scenes and a few extras, but not much more than the original release of the film. This is disappointing to many fans, but in fact is more than most of us have had for a long time, as the somewhat choppy film was often mercilessly cut for television broadcast.

Holmes in this case is played by Robert Stephens, an unlikely Holmes in comparison to standards such as Rathbone, Brett, or Gillette, but still an interesting choice - quintessentially British, reserved but daring, brilliant yet flawed and faltering. Colin Blakely presents a stronger Watson than often portrayed before (this film, being made in 1970, presented this as a newer idea for Watson, one that has been picked up by many subsequent productions). Wilder has the actors play at various issues of Victorian sensibility and morality, including the implication (dismissed in the end) that Holmes might have a sexual identity issue. Christopher Lee, who himself plays Holmes in other productions, plays Holmes' smarter brother Mycroft here, to good effect.

The story line does have some inspiration from the canonical stories (the Bruce-Partington Plans, for one), and from Gillette's play (the strange case of Miss Faulkner, introducing an ending that allowed for a love interest for Holmes in the end), but for the most part takes the characters from Conan Doyle and runs far afield. Still, this is must-see film for any fan of Holmes, and any fan of Wilder, who saw this as one of his last great productions.


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