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|Index||14 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain 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! :)
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.
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 ...
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.
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 ****
*** This review may contain 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
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
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.
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.
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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