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 »
A young woman turns to Sherlock Holmes for protection when she's menaced by an escaped killer seeking missing treasure. However, when the woman is kidnapped, Holmes and Watson must penetrate the city's criminal underworld to find her.
In this mystery, Holmes pursues his arch-enemy Moriarty to New York, which the villainous scoundrel has carried out the ultimate bank robbery. Meanwhile, Holmes enjoys a blossoming romance ... See full summary »
The great hypnotist Professor Montserrat has developed a technique for controlling the minds, and sharing the sensations, of his subjects. He and his wife Estelle test the technique on Mike... See full summary »
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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