IMDb > The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) More at IMDbPro »

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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes -- British stage luminary Robert Stephens plays Holmes, as Colin Blakely plays his friend and chronicler Dr. Watson in Billy Wilder's cinematic homage to the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This self-described "hitherto suppressed and thoroughly fascinating" tale entails Holmes' search for a missing mining engineer - a case that may significantly effect on England's national security. While solving the mystery, Holmes finds his first love, an enigmatic foreign beauty named Gabrielle Valladon (Genevieve Page). Wilder emphasizes current topics of the '70s such as drug addiction and homosexuality.


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7.2/10   7,298 votes »
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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Arthur Conan Doyle (characters)
Billy Wilder (written by) ...
View company contact information for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 October 1970 (USA) See more »
The world's greatest detective tackles his toughest case ! See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A surprisingly melancholy celebration of Conan Doyle's most famous creation See more (80 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Stephens ... Sherlock Holmes
Colin Blakely ... Dr. Watson

Geneviève Page ... Gabrielle Valladon (as Genevieve Page)

Christopher Lee ... Mycroft Holmes

Tamara Toumanova ... Madame Petrova

Clive Revill ... Rogozhin
Irene Handl ... Mrs. Hudson
Mollie Maureen ... Queen Victoria

Stanley Holloway ... Gravedigger
Catherine Lacey ... Woman in Wheelchair
Peter Madden ... Von Tirpitz
Michael Balfour ... Cabby
James Copeland ... Guide
John Garrie ... First Carter
Godfrey James ... Second Carter
Robert Cawdron ... Hotel Manager
Alex McCrindle ... Baggageman

Frank Thornton ... Porter
Paul Hansard ... Monk
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Philip Anthony ... Lieutenant Commander (uncredited)
Graham Armitage ... Wiggins (uncredited)
Charlie Young Atom ... Submarine Crewman (uncredited)
Kenneth Benda ... Minister (uncredited)
George Benson ... Inspector Lestrade (uncredited)
Anne Blake ... Madame (uncredited)
Penny Brahms ... Girl (uncredited)
Martin Carroll ... Scientist (uncredited)
Ina De La Haye ... Petrova's Maid (uncredited)

Michael Elwyn ... Cassidy (uncredited)
Eric Francis ... Gravedigger #2 (uncredited)
John Gatrell ... Equerry (uncredited)
Ismed Hassan ... Submarine Crewman (uncredited)
Marilyn Head ... Girl (uncredited)
Sheena Hunter ... Girl (uncredited)
Annette Kerr ... Secretary (uncredited)
Teddy Kiss Atom ... Submarine Crewman (uncredited)
Wendy Lingham ... Girl (uncredited)
John Scott Martin ... Scientist (uncredited)
Anna Matisse ... Girl (uncredited)
Kynaston Reeves ... Old Man (uncredited)
Daphne Riggs ... Lady-in-Waiting (uncredited)
Philip Ross ... McKellar (uncredited)
Miklós Rózsa ... Orchestra Conductor (uncredited)
Willie Shearer ... Submarine Crewman (uncredited)
Judy Spooner ... Twin (uncredited)
Tina Spooner ... Twin (uncredited)

Directed by
Billy Wilder 
Writing credits
Arthur Conan Doyle (characters) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Billy Wilder (written by) and
I.A.L. Diamond (written by)

Produced by
I.A.L. Diamond .... associate producer
Billy Wilder .... producer
Original Music by
Miklós Rózsa  (as Miklos Rozsa)
Cinematography by
Christopher Challis (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Ernest Walter 
Casting by
Lesley De Pettit  (as Lesley De Pettitt)
Production Design by
Alexandre Trauner  (as Alexander Trauner)
Art Direction by
Tony Inglis 
Set Decoration by
Harry Cordwell (uncredited)
Costume Design by
Julie Harris 
Makeup Department
Biddy Chrystal .... hairdresser
Ernest Gasser .... makeup artist
Roy Ashton .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Larry DeWaay .... production supervisor
Eric Rattray .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tom Pevsner .... assistant director
Art Department
Leon Davis .... construction manager
Vernon Dixon .... set dresser
Terry Parr .... set dresser
Michael Boone .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Frank Willson .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Roy Baker .... sound editor
J.W.N. Daniel .... sound recordist
Gordon K. McCallum .... sound recordist
Dudley Messenger .... sound recordist
Danny Daniel .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Graham V. Hartstone .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
John Hayward .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Charlie McFadden .... boom operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Cliff Richardson .... special effects
Wally Veevers .... special effects
Peter Hutchinson .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Freddie Cooper .... camera operator (as Frederick Cooper)
Paul Jordan .... clapper loader: second unit
John Palmer .... focus puller (uncredited)
Bob Penn .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dorothy Edwards .... wardrobe supervisor: women (uncredited)
John Hilling .... wardrobe supervisor: men (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Margaret Miller .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra .... orchestra
Miklós Rózsa .... conductor (as Miklos Rozsa)
Angela Morley .... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
Lucie Svehlova .... musician: solo violin, Tadlow re-recording (uncredited)
Lucie Svehlova .... orchestra leader: Tadlow re-recording (uncredited)
David Tamkin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Maurice Binder .... title designer: main title
David Blair .... ballet advisor
David Blair .... dance arranger
Henry E. Lester .... production consultant: Sir Nigel Films Ltd.
Ivo Nightingale .... location manager
Elaine Schreyeck .... continuity
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
125 min | Germany:120 min (TV version)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG | Finland:K-12 | Iceland:L | Ireland:16 (original rating) | New Zealand:PG | Singapore:PG | Sweden:11 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1988) | USA:PG-13 (certificate #22200) | USA:GP (original rating) | West Germany:6

Did You Know?

Originally Peter O'Toole was going to play Sherlock Holmes with Peter Sellers playing Dr. Watson, but Billy Wilder decided to go with lesser known stars instead.See more »
Continuity: The film's prologue depicts two contemporary men opening Dr. Watson's case and handling the various contents archived inside. We see one close-up shot of a man handling a single pair of old handcuffs and putting them down on the table. A short time later, the filmmakers repeat the very same footage of the man handling the handcuffs and putting them down on the table.See more »
Holmes:From the sound of your footsteps, I gathered that you were not in a particularly amiable mood.See more »
Movie Connections:
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Opus 24See more »


Near the end of the movie when Gabrielle Valladon was taken away she sends a message to Sherlock through her parasol, what does she say?
See more »
36 out of 42 people found the following review useful.
A surprisingly melancholy celebration of Conan Doyle's most famous creation, 19 February 1999
Author: Andrew Yorkshades from Oxford, England

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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