Greed, betrayal and vengeance set the stage for this Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic. Mary Morstan, a young governess, has been receiving a rare and lustrous pearl annually from an anonymous... See full summary »
In the near future, civilisation has broken down to the barest fragment of recognisable life. Young people are forming gangs and dominating the wrecks of cities like London. But the ... See full summary »
A brief establishing shot of Baker Street, with a street-cleaning cart passing by, is actually a piece of footage from "The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes" (1970). See more »
Holmes is chasing Jonathan Small down the Thames. He passes under Tower Bridge towards the sea but in a subsequent shot he is seen passing the Royal Naval College at Greenwich traveling away from the sea as the college is on the south bank of the Thames. See more »
THE SIGN OF FOUR, a Holmes adaptation featuring Ian Richardson as Conan Doyle's sleuth, is a follow up to the slightly disappointing TV production of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. THE SIGN OF FOUR is only slightly better, a perfectly atmospheric and well mounted production let down by a slightly stodgy script that's going to give more than a few viewers indigestion.
Things get off to a good start, with some fine opening titles and a plummy Thorley Walters menaced by a one-legged man. Once Holmes is introduced into the storyline, though, it slows down completely and becomes more than a little boring. There's something about Richardson that I just didn't care for in his portrayal as Holmes; he's too mannered, slightly self-conscious, that you can't forget that he's acting. I had the same trouble with Peter Cushing in the part.
Despite the presence of decent sets and costumes, the TV-movie atmosphere means that the scares and thrills are somewhat diluted. The characters are difficult to like, aside from Cherie Lunghi's damsel in distress, and there's something slightly silly about having a dwarf in blackface as one of the villains. THE SIGN OF FOUR isn't bad by any means, but it's distinctly average all the same. It may be that the written stories are just so good nobody will ever do them justice.
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