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Hands of a Murderer (1990)

Approved | | Mystery, Action, Adventure | TV Movie 16 May 1990
Professor Moriarty is loose in London with spies everywhere, and only Sherlock Holmes can figure out what he's up to and stop it.



On Disc

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sophie DeVere
Col. Gould
Terence Lodge ...
Jeremy Stubb
Harry Audley ...
Richard Farrington
David Sibley ...
John Tordoff ...
Daniel Newman ...
Faith Kent ...


When Professor Moriarty escapes the gallows - literally in a puff of smoke - Sherlock Holmes finds himself once again in pursuit of his old nemesis. Soon after the escape, Holmes' brother Mycroft asks him to work at identifying a leak in British Intelligence. Uncharacteristically, he refuses to help until he realizes that Moriarty is behind the missing State secrets. He learns that a very seductive woman, Sophy DeVere, has been hypnotizing one of Mycroft's young assistants to steal the information. When Moriarty is unable to decode the secret message he has stolen, he kidnaps Mycroft in order to get the information. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Can Sherlock Holmes resist the ultimate challenge?






Release Date:

16 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Prince of Crime  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Doctor Watson's revolver is a Webley RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) Second Pattern, a more realistic choice by the producers than many, since the piece at least has the virtue of having been produced prior to Watson's Army service, which began in 1879. Since officers purchased their own sidearms at that time, a penniless army surgeon picking one up second-hand before shipping out to India rings true. See more »


This story supposedly takes place in 1900. However, a reference is made to "The Adventure of the Enguineer's Thumb" being published in the Strand Magazine. This story appeared in the March 1892 edition. And if the events of this film were set in 1892, it contradicts Holmesian chronology - at that period in time, Holmes was believed to be dead (he revealed himself as living in 1894, and was believed dead in 1891). See more »


Remake of The Woman in Green (1945) See more »


Rule Britannia
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
At the scene of an audience with Queen Victoria
See more »

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User Reviews

Holmes vs Moriarty in cosy TV drama
21 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An odd, one-off television movie involving Sherlock Holmes vs Professor Moriarty in a battle for state secrets. The strangest thing about HANDS OF A MURDERER is the casting of the rotund Edward Woodward as Holmes. Now, as fine an actor as Mr Woodward was, I don't really think he's anyone's first choice when it comes to playing the almost cadaverous Holmes. Watching a movie in which Holmes is bigger than Watson is rather odd.

Of course, Woodward handles the acting of the part well, and along with the excellent John Hillerman as Watson, he helps to hold the movie together. He needs to – the script for this one is a patchwork mish-mash of various Holmes stories and Victorian mystery conventions, with contrived escapes from the gallows, mysterious disappearances and an arch-villain at large. The film is far from perfect and could have been a lot worse, even if the thrills are subdued by the cosy, TV-production style atmosphere.

As Moriarty, Anthony Andrews is delightfully hammy, chewing up and spitting out the scenery at every opportunity. He makes the other actors look sedate, and the film benefits a great deal from his energy. The lovely Kim Thomson also makes for effective support as a femme fatale. There isn't much in HANDS OF A MURDERER to impress or thrill, and elements of actual detection do seem to be in short supply, but fans of the fictional detective should find a few elements of interest here.

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