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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

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.



(characters) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sherlock Holmes
Gabrielle Valladon (as Genevieve Page)
Mollie Maureen ...
Catherine Lacey ...
Woman in Wheelchair
Peter Madden ...
Michael Balfour ...
James Copeland ...
John Garrie ...
First Carter
Godfrey James ...
Second Carter


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


Everyone knows about the lightning-quick mind, the dazzling wit, the magnifying glass. But what about the little glass vials he so cunningly kept hidden. And what about the security blunder that almost cost the British Empire its navy. And what about the woman who spent the night with him. [USA Theatrical] See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

29 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Íntima de Sherlock Holmes  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The picture's epic big-scale production design included, according to the Virgin Film Guide, a "massive back-lot reproduction of Baker Street". See more »


Holmes observes that sulphuric acid (H2SO4) added to salt water (ie H2O + NCL) will create chlorine gas. It might. But Loch Ness is a fresh water loch. See more »


Holmes: From the sound of your footsteps, I gathered that you were not in a particularly amiable mood.
See more »


References Hamlet (1948) See more »


Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Opus 24
by Miklós Rózsa
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Thoroughly civilised, delightful entertainment
30 March 2003 | by (Lisbon) – See all my reviews

Billy Wilder's take on the world's most famous detective is both painstakingly faithful and sardonically subversive to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's idiossyncratic creation. Presented as a case that loyal companion John Watson duly recorded but requested remain secret until long after his death, in which Holmes aids a Belgian woman find her missing husband, a mining engineer hired by an apparently non-existant English company, it makes clever use of the rulebook Conan Doyle set down while at the same time undermining it from within. The title and the plot may seem misleading at first - the first half hour especially seems at odds with what comes afterwards - but in fact if you're a Holmes fan you'll quickly realise that this is as close to romance as the detective would ever allow, and Wilder tells it through a masterful accumulation of small touches that only someone as meticulous as the man himself would notice. Script-wise, it's a cracking mystery in the best Doyle tradition, with all the time-honoured twists and turns present and correct. The acting is also up to Wilder's usual standards; Stephens and Blakely are an engaging duo as a bored Holmes and a bumbling Watson, and there's a hysterically funny supporting turn by the always underrated Revill as a Russian ballet impresario. Wilder's trademark pointed cynicism fits the English witticism particularly well, even if at times it all seems a bit too modern for the peaceful Victorian surroundings, but it is quite ironic to see him chiding Britain's stiff-upper-lip, old-fashioned morality when the film seems to be an "old timers' movie" entirely out of sync with its own time. Still, it's hard to find fault in such a thoroughly civilised and delightful entertainment.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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