The Crucifer of Blood (TV Movie 1991) Poster

(1991 TV Movie)

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Cool movie
Deana_197711 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is definitely interesting. True fans of the canon will notice how much of the script was taken from several different Doyle stories, (especially the first ten minutes of the movie) as well as Irene's father's name and the Mordecai Smith character at the end. This movie was very loosely based on Doyle's 'The Sign of Four', and the outcome of the case is extremely different than the original story. The plot flows well and is quite entertaining. The only real 'flaw' is Charlton Heston's voice! You'd think he would've done a fake English accent while portraying the very English Sherlock Holmes!! People have remarked how Heston played Holmes as being too 'nice' or whatever...I thought it was refreshing to see Holmes as a normal human being, rather than a mere calculating machine. (For the record, I consider Jeremy Brett to be the best Sherlock ever.) Anyway, this movie is definitely worth watching! :)
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When you have eliminated ...
kosmasp24 September 2010
My summary line is the start of a very well known Sherlock Holmes quote. On the other hand, it is something else too. But the movie will not have you guessing too much. It should be apparent what is going on. Still it is kinda fascinating, how Mr. Heston and the others do their job. But of course, you might have seen quite a few actors trying to be Holmes (Robert Downey being the latest).

Depending on your taste you might like this (not the first and not the last adaptation of this particular Holmes story). And even though there is even a moment, where it seems to break the fourth wall (talking about a comic relief of all things), it still kinda works. Nice entertainment then, but not the best out there ...
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gengar8438 March 2005
There's entirely too much cheerfulness, even in the plodding British atmosphere from director Heston (Charlton's son). The sets seem non-authentic and intrude into the setting. Charlton Heston is an excellent actor, but Holmes is not his best effort. Holmes, as portrayed here, is little more than a comic-book figure, laughing off his considerable talents and even his addictions. Richard Johnson, on the other hand, is a more-than-adequate Watson. Susannah Harker's acting is obvious, and it's actually Edward Fox who steals the show as Major Ross. The opening sequences are riveting, but soon the tale defoliates into typical TV fare. I'll stick with the fast-paced Rathbone outings, and Jeremy Brett's consummate performances.
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enjoyable despite Charlton Heston
helenatepper17 January 2003
This is a well directed and enjoyable story which captured my attention from the beginning.The cast are effective and there are some neat twists.It looks stunning at times and there is a sense of theatrical sets ( it is based on a stage play) which add another dimension to the visual style. Unfortunately the producers have cast Charlton Heston as Sherlock Holmes and he hampers the credibility of the production.Not because he is a bad actor..far from it.Unfortunately his accent suggests that he comes from that part of the UK known only to American actors and he lacks the sensitivity and intensity that I expect of Holmes. Worth catching on TV
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sign of four meet Maltese falcon
igorlongo16 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A very enjoyable edition of wondrous Paul Giovanni's play, with a great Charlton Heston(it was one of his great theatrical successes) as an Holmes based more on Frederic Dorr Steele than on Sidney Paget,and very possibly on Gillette's mould.Watson is a great Richard Johnson,very truthful and highly human as an old man hoping for an impossible romance,and Susannah Harker is a very good and alluring damsel-in distress-cum-dark lady à la Maltese Falcon.Simon Callow is perhaps the better Lestrade ever seen,but the real show stealers are Clive Wood as a sinister Jonathan Small,John Castle as an opium addicted " captain Morstan", chanting wide-eyed his loony and highly poetical lines, and great Edward Fox as an highly malignant and evil "major Sholto".The movie is highly theatrical,but ,as other reviewers told,is a precious memento of one of the best stage-play Holmes.And the script by Giovanni is a real gem,arriving directly to us from the great Agra treasure's chest
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The Crucifer of Blood (1990) **1/2
JoeKarlosi2 June 2010
Speaking as someone who is not necessarily the most well-read follower of all things Sherlock Holmes, but who is indeed a fan of Charlton Heston's work, this was an okay presentation featuring Heston as the legendary detective. Here, he joins up with Richard Johnson (as Dr. Watson) in unraveling the mystery of a 30-year-old curse involving a pretty young woman (Susannah Harker) and her aging father, who once made a blood pact with another man and whose life might be in jeopardy. For me it was fun just getting to see Heston as the calculating Holmes, and as someone who enjoys the old Basil Rathbone series of films, this retained a lot of similar ingredients such as Watson being slightly clueless, and Inspector Lestrade (Simon Callow) being made to look rather foolish around Holmes. Dr. Watson also gets to fall in love this time around. This being a Turner TV movie, it sometimes has the feeling of being rather slight or artificial in spots. Directed by Charlton's son, Fraser Heston. **1/2 out of ****
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The Crucifer of Blood
Coxer9917 June 1999
Well made television movie based on the stage play by Paul Giovanni. (His play was based on the Doyle story "The Sign of Four.") Heston and Johnson make a fine Holmes and Watson and the direction by Fraser Heston, Charlton's son is well paced and timed for all the Sherlockians out there. Callow turns in a fine Inspector Lestrade.
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A Must-See for Holmes Fans
JohnHowardReid1 March 2012
By the deadbeat standard of TV movies, The Crucifer of Blood (1991) is a really remarkable achievement. For one thing, the budget is extensive enough to pass muster as a theatrical feature. For another, it has an interesting, suspenseful screenplay. But even more importantly, it has a really great cast led by Susannah Harker (who is absolutely terrific), Richard Johnson (an excellent Watson), and Simon Callow (perfectly at home as Lestrade). Although miscast as Holmes, Charlton Heston does pick up his game as the movie progresses and – provided you ignore his accent – is not as great a liability as his first scene suggests. Yes, the movie could stand a bit of re-editing (I would scissor at least ten minutes, particularly from the opening scenes), but all told – and thanks principally to Miss Harker – a must-see installment for Sherlock's legion of fans.
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Not quite as dreadful as I expected.
walsh-campbell23 April 2015
There are definitely worse Holmes movies -- "Sherlock: Case of Evil" and Reginald Owen's "A Study in Scarlet," for example. And I have to admit I expected this to be worse than it actually is.

I often like Charlton Heston's performances, but he is totally miscast here. Add to that the rather lame, and at times implausible, story; the often plodding pace; and the distractingly intrusive sets. However, it held my interest enough to hang on to the end -- just barely.

Do yourself a favor: if you're in the mood for a good Holmes film, watch Billy Wilder's "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes," or one of the early episodes of Jeremy Brett's Granada series.
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good but far from ideal
peacham21 September 1999
A strong script and atmospheric direction highlight this tv adaptation of the broadway play. Richard Johnson is a nearly authentic Watson, Simon Callow is a grand and humourous Lesrade and John Castle ( one of my favorite actors ) and Edward Fox lend strong support. the only casting flaw is the American Heston. never a versatile actor he does not invoke Holmes; crusty almost cold manner. he is far too pleasant and at time seems as if he is winking at camera. Too bad they couldn't have used Jeremy Brett. For the best characterizations and story adaptations i wholly recommend his granada television series.
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Great Fun, But Assisted Living Is Afoot For Holmes And Watson
oldblackandwhite10 April 2012
Crucifer Of Blood is an entertaining pairing of two fine but sadly aged actors, Charlton Heston and Richard Johnson, as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Both in their sixties at the time, they were far too old to be cast as the umpteenth incarnations of the energetic super-sleuth and his intrepid assistant. Nevertheless both bring the roles to life better than any younger actors of the time likely could have.

This high production values British picture, a loose adaptation of Conan Doyle's Sign Of The Four, is rather tongue-in-cheek in tone anyway. It's as florid and melodramatic as a silent movie with all the de rigueur Holmes artifacts ostentatiously displayed -- the deerstalker cap, the Victorian bulldog revolvers, the magnifying glass, the hansom cabs, and the great, billowing clouds of artificial fog. It's all jolly good fun if you're in the right mood and are not a picky Holmes purist. After a while, you don't mind that even the heavy ulster coat can't disguise Heston's curvature of the spine. Or that Johnson shows such frightful wrinkles in his closeup love scenes, it makes the object of his affections, 26-year old Susannah Harker, look like jail bait.

Yours truly is admittedly not much a fan of the Sherlock Holmes movies or literature, but my picky, old wife is. And she liked this one about as well as any. Crucifer Of Blood is expertly directed by Charleton's son, Fraser C. Heston, who also wrote and produced. A fast-paced, atmospherically filmed, spirited, witty, inventive, and enjoyable picture from beginning to end.
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My Comments
9901675310 January 2000
Warning: Spoilers
For a story that is LOOSELY based on the Sign of Four. It is enthralling. I almost fell out my seat when the women shot Watson. But apart from some of the sets looking like it was filmed on a theatre stage it was good
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The Game's Afoot
bkoganbing1 December 2007
During the making of Khartoum Charlton Heston formed a lifetime friendship with Richard Johnson who played his aide in that film. They worked on a number of projects together and had a run in the United Kingdom in this play. We're fortunate indeed to have Heston give his interpretation of the master sleuth, Sherlock Holmes in a The Crucifer of Blood.

Heston takes his place right along side Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone as a fine delineater of the analytical character of Sherlock Holmes. In the Rathbone series, Holmes purists are usually quite upset about Nigel Bruce's Dr. Watson being made more and more a bumbling idiot as the series progressed. Watson as conceived by Conan Doyle was not as bright as Holmes, but who is. His medical training in fact helps Holmes on more than a few cases.

But in this film Watson is a fool though, a fool for love as he falls for Sussanah Harker, a woman who has sought out the help of Sherlock Holmes. Three men who thirty years earlier stole a maharajah's treasure while serving in India during the Sepoy mutiny are being targeted for terror and probably worse, one of them being Harker's father. Several dead bodies later Holmes does come up with the answer as we know he always does.

Edward Fox and John Castle are two of the men who do the stealing and Castle as the opium addicted father of Harker is the best in the film. One man who is played as a bumbling idiot is Holmes's rival at Scotland Yard, Inspector Lestrade as played by Simon Callew. Dennis Hoey was never as dumb as this guy.

I'm glad Charlton Heston's interpretation of Holmes for which he got good critical notices for the stage play is preserved here and his fans will like it. Holmes fans will like it as well.
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Shame about Sherlock
jmkeating27 July 2014
I agree that Charlton Heston wasn't the man for this role, I had "the advantage" of watching/having to watch the French version, as such I didn't have to listen to "American English English". On the other hand I found his disguises superb. The action and the "end game" both made the film well worth watching. There are many films where the "baddy" becomes obvious - this is not one of them!

Richard Johnson plays a believable John Watson. The Watson role is difficult to play in the sense that he is an educated man, so shouldn't appear stupid, just less capable of crime deduction. But we shouldn't forget that doctors are experts in deducing illnesses from the symptoms of their patients. Connie Booth is a lovely lady - a pleasure to see everything she's in!
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