IMDb > Murder by Decree (1979)
Murder by Decree
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Murder by Decree (1979) More at IMDbPro »

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Murder by Decree -- Sherlock Holmes investigates the murders commited by Jack the Ripper and discovers a conspiracy to protect the killer.

Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   3,066 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Arthur Conan Doyle (characters)
John Hopkins (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Murder by Decree on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 February 1979 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Sherlock Holmes unveils the secrecy of Jack the Ripper - clue by clue - murder by murder. See more »
Plot:
Sherlock Holmes investigates the murders commited by Jack the Ripper and discovers a conspiracy to protect the killer. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
5 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper See more (83 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Christopher Plummer ... Sherlock Holmes

James Mason ... Dr. John H. Watson

David Hemmings ... Inspector Foxborough

Susan Clark ... Mary Kelly

Anthony Quayle ... Sir Charles Warren

John Gielgud ... Prime Minister Lord Salisbury

Frank Finlay ... Inspector Lestrade

Donald Sutherland ... Robert Lees

Geneviève Bujold ... Annie Crook
Chris Wiggins ... Doctor Hardy

Tedde Moore ... Mrs. Lees (as Teddi Moore)
Peter Jonfield ... William Slade
Roy Lansford ... Sir Thomas Spivey
Catherine Kessler ... Carrie
Ron Pember ... Makins
June Brown ... Anne Chapman
Ken Jones ... Dock Guard
Terry Duggan ... Danny
Hilary Sesta ... Catherine Eddowes
Anthony May ... Lanier
Betty Woolfe ... Mrs. Dobson
Iris Fry ... Elizabeth Stride
Geoffrey Russell ... Home Secretary Henry Matthews
Peggy Ann Clifford ... Lees' Housekeeper

Ann Mitchell ... Jane
Katherine Stark ... Molly
Elaine Ives-Cameron ... Ellen (as Elaine Ives Cameron)
Stella Courtney ... Betty
Judy Wilson ... Emily
Roy Pattison ... Carroll
Victor Langley ... Prince of Wales
Pamela Abbott ... Princess Alexandra
Robin Marchal ... Duke of Clarence
Richard Pescud ... Doctor (as Richard Pescuid)
Pat Brackenbury ... Nurse
Dan Long ... Constable Long
Michael Cashman ... Constable Watkins
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Dean ... Police Constable (uncredited)
Norman Gay ... Distinguished gentleman (uncredited)
Jim McManus ... Policeman (uncredited)

Directed by
Bob Clark 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Arthur Conan Doyle  characters
John Hopkins  screenplay
Elwyn Jones  co-author (book "The Ripper File")
John Lloyd  co-author (book "The Ripper File")

Produced by
Bob Clark .... producer
René Dupont .... producer
Robert A. Goldston .... producer
Len Herberman .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Paul Zaza 
Carl Zittrer 
 
Cinematography by
Reginald H. Morris 
 
Film Editing by
Stan Cole 
 
Casting by
Karen Hazzard 
 
Production Design by
Harry Pottle 
 
Art Direction by
Peter Childs 
 
Set Decoration by
Denise Exshaw 
 
Costume Design by
Judy Moorcroft 
 
Makeup Department
Peter Robb-King .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Peter Davis .... production manager: UK
Ted Rouse .... production manager: Canada
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
John Dodds .... third assistant director
Ariel Levy .... assistant director
Ken Roch .... second assistant director
Guy Travers .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Percy Godbold .... production buyer
Jock Kay .... scenic artist
Adrian Start .... art stand-by
 
Sound Department
David Appleby .... sound re-recording mixer (as Dave Appleby)
Ron Butcher .... sound maintenance
Dennis Drummond .... sound editor
Patrick Drummond .... sound editor
Wayne Griffin .... sound editor
Joe Grimaldi .... sound re-recording mixer
Kenneth Heeley-Ray .... supervising sound editor (as Ken Heeley Ray)
John W. Mitchell .... sound recordist (as John Mitchell)
Don White .... foley recording mixer
 
Special Effects by
Michael Albrechtsen .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Cliff Culley .... visual effects supervisor
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Richard Blanshard .... still photographer
Maurice Gillett .... gaffer
Jimmy Turrell .... camera operator (as James Turrell)
David Wynn-Jones .... focus puller (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ron Beck .... wardrobe supervisor
 
Editorial Department
Ian McBride .... assistant editor
David Block .... colorist (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Frank Morrone .... music engineer
 
Transportation Department
Howard Pugh .... driver: cast
 
Other crew
Andy Birmingham .... production accountant
Marilyn Clarke .... production coordinator
S.C. Dacy .... publicist
Robert A. Goldston .... presenter
Bob Halliday .... police liaison
Marjorie Lavelly .... continuity
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Sherlock Holmes and Saucy Jack" - USA (alternative title)
See more »
Runtime:
124 min | Sweden:110 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film's plot was re-used for From Hell (2001) over twenty years later but without the Sherlock Holmes / Dr Watson Arthur Conan Doyle characters.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Holmes visits the Lees disguised as a chimney sweep, he removes his false mustache and false blackened nose, but when we see him seconds later, the nose is false again as if he never peeled it off.See more »
Quotes:
Dr. John H. Watson:[Offended by the booing of the Prince of Wales by the theater gallery] It's a damn disgrace!
Sherlock Holmes:On the contrary. I prefer bad manners in the theater to active violence in the streets.
See more »
Soundtrack:
PreludioSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
15 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, 24 December 2006
Author: Wayne Malin (wwaayynnee51@hotmail.com) from United States

In 1888 London, Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer) and Dr. Watson (James Mason) are asked by a citizen's group to find and stop Jack the Ripper. For some reason the police don't want Holmes to investigate. However he does and as the bodies pile up Holmes and Watson slowly uncover a trail that might lead to the highest reach of British government.

This was released and died VERY quickly in 1979. I'm probably one of the few people who saw it in a theatre. The critics almost unanimously praised it, it had a huge cast of good actors...but it just died. That's too bad because this is a very good Sherlock Holmes film.

It's atmospheric (LOTS of foggy streets), has exquisite production design and is beautifully directed by Bob Clark (I love the way the first murder is done--very effective). Also the acting is great. Plummer gives a very good, different interpretation of Holmes--he makes him more emotional than other actors have...but it works. Mason nicely underplays the role of Watson--he does not make him a bumbling fool like Nigel Bruce did back in the 1940s. In small roles Susan Clark, John Gielgud and especially Genevieve Bujold are excellent. Donald Sutherland, Anthony Quayle and David Hemmings unfortunately are not that good.

There are some problems with this movie though. It's too long (a long sequence involving Watson and some prostitutes could have been completely cut) and is needlessly convoluted. Also they throw politics in the plot which seems out of place. And, strangely, Holmes' deductive reasoning is almost never used. He comes across more as a protector of the people than a detective. Plummer's performance though carries it through. It's quite bloody too--not enough for an R rating but pretty strong for the PG it got back then (PG-13 wasn't a rating yet).

Reservations aside though, I think this is one of the best Holmes' film ever made. Recommended.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Murder by Decree (1979)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
A bit disappointed in the henchman reveal (spoilers) JohnWJackBurns88
A complete jumble of a movie **spoilers** boomcoach
The most human Holmes? wordbug
where's the bluray at? tanyet
Donald Sutherland in The Great Train Robbery sherlock-37
The 'Pea' scene moviegoer36
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