During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.
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>
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 »
Dr.Watson says at the beginning of the movie that this takes place in 1887. However, he shows Holmes a copy of the Strand Magazine with "The Red Headed League", which was not published until 1891. Also, the Russian opera singer later tells Holmes that she read about his adventure, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", but that was not published until 1901. See more »
Some of us are cursed with memories like flypaper. Stuck there is a staggering amount of miscellaneous data, most of it useless.
See more »
The difficulties in producing 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes' are denoting for an aging director who refused to accept a change in the film industry. Originally, this film was more than three hours long and an anthology of Holmes' most tricky cases. Today's version is not that complex and emotionally flatter. It was shortened at the instigation of United Artists because other films with over-length of that time (like 'Star' (1968) by Robert Wise) flopped.
But, Wilder's film is still a little masterpiece, mainly due to the brilliant camera work of Christopher Challis with wonderful shots full of tender sensation and a certain wistfulness. Sadly without big success at the cash boxes which would have been more than deserved.
22 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?