Sherlock Holmes (1964–1968)
4 user 1 critic

A Study in Scarlet 

When a man is found poisoned in an abandoned building with the word "RACHE" written in blood on the wall. LaStrade confidently declares, "Cherchez la femme!"



(characters) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (dramatisation)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Stangerson (as Edward Bishop)


A corpse is found in an empty house with the word 'Rache' scrawled on the wall next to it. The police arrest a suspect but then a similar murder occurs, proving that they have the wrong man. In exposing the real killer Holmes uncovers a feud stretching back to Salt Lake City and the Mormon community. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Horror | Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

23 September 1968 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although the novel was published in 1887, this takes place in 1881. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: [With annoyance] Watson, I find it hard to eat mt breakfast, read my Times, and listen to outbursts.
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes and a Study in Scarlet (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

A study in editing
23 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Though it is the first of the Sherlock Holmes stories, "A Study in Scarlet" is rarely adapted for production due to structural issues that make this difficult. Th BBC took on the challenge during its 1968 series of broadcasts with Peter Cushing as Holmes, and placed the story in between other Holmes mysteries in in the series rather than at the beginning. As such, the material dealing with the first meeting of Holmes and Watson can be discarded, although, oddly enough and perhaps as a remnant, Watson is still doubtful that Holmes can really make sweeping deductions from small details, and Holmes seems a little surprised that Watson is making notes on the case.

As "A Study in Scarlet" was a novel-length piece of writing with long sections set in Utah without Holmes, and this is a forty-eight minute program, cuts were necessary. The way they were done is workable and clever, with an opening sequence involving the victims that gives away a hint of backstory followed by the Holmes investigation, but it tends to turn the mystery, until the last few minutes arrives, into simple a puzzle without much human interest. Unusually for a 1968-era BBC production, scenes are very quick -- accommodating all the material that must be fit in -- and they left me wishing the pace could be more deliberate.

When the end does arrive, though, it is very impressive, with Larry Cross giving an excellent and very sympathetic performance as Jefferson Hope, and a well-conceived and effective final shot. Unfortunately among the other actors performances tend towards the wooden, and the American accents are very variable. Nigel Stock is a fine actor but an unnecessarily dim-witted Watson (for instance, hiding his gun behind an awkwardly upheld newspaper), and not even a charmingly and amusingly dim-witted one in the Nigel Bruce mold. Peter Cushing is very competent as an impatient, twitchy Sherlock Holmes, but some reason he doesn't come off as anything more than adequate and slightly superficial in this role for me. I liked what I have seen of his BBC predecessor Douglas Wilmer better.

In all, a competent and workmanlike adaptation that doesn't really come alive until after the murderer is discovered.

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