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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

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When a bored Holmes eagerly takes the case of Gabrielle Valladon after an attempt on her life, the search for her missing husband leads to Loch Ness and the legendary monster.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Arthur Conan Doyle (characters) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Billy Wilder | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Stephens ... Sherlock Holmes
Colin Blakely ... Dr. Watson
Geneviève Page ... Gabrielle Valladon (as Genevieve Page)
Christopher Lee ... Mycroft Holmes
Tamara Toumanova ... Madame Petrova
Clive Revill ... Rogozhin
Irene Handl ... Mrs. Hudson
Mollie Maureen Mollie Maureen ... Queen Victoria
Stanley Holloway ... Gravedigger
Catherine Lacey ... Woman in Wheelchair
Peter Madden ... Von Tirpitz
Michael Balfour Michael Balfour ... Cabby
James Copeland James Copeland ... Guide
John Garrie ... First Carter
Godfrey James Godfrey James ... Second Carter
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Storyline

Director Billy Wilder adds a new and intriguing twist to the personality of intrepid detective Sherlock Holmes. One thing hasn't changed however: Holmes' crime-solving talents. Holmes and Dr. Watson take on the case of a beautiful woman whose husband has vanished. The investigation proves strange indeed, involving six missing midgets, villainous monks, a Scottish castle, the Loch Ness monster, and covert naval experiments. Can the sleuths make sense of all this and solve the mystery? Written by Joel Preuninger <Jhpreunin@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everyone knows about the lightning-quick mind, the dazzling wit, the magnifying glass. But what about the little glass vials he so cunningly kept hidden. And what about the security blunder that almost cost the British Empire its navy. And what about the woman who spent the night with him. [USA Theatrical] See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Russian | French | German

Release Date:

29 October 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Vida Íntima de Sherlock Holmes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,500,000, 31 January 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The following have commented on the movie's original intended long length and massive editing cut down: Virgin Film Guide: "The film was cut by more than thirty minutes by United Artists"; Leonard Maltin: The movie was "intended as a three and a half hour film"; Allmovie.com: "Heavily re-edited and rearranged both before and after its release"; Halliwells: "What started as four stories is reduced to two"; Empire: "Originally a three-hour epic, this 1970 movie was taken from its creator and mutilated by the wholesale lopping of entire episodes". See more »

Goofs

Events occur in August of 1887, but when Holmes and Watson visit Mycroft at the Diogenes Club there is snow on the ground and building. See more »

Quotes

Watson: [the doorbell rings] Were you expecting someone?
Holmes: Not at this time of night.
Watson: Perhaps Mrs Hudson is entertaining.
Holmes: I've never found her so.
See more »

Alternate Versions

One edit for British TV trims the scene where Watson berates Holmes about his cocaine abuse. This keeps Watson's question, 'Aren't you ashamed of yourself?', but cuts Holmes' answer, 'Thoroughly. This will take care of it.' See more »

Connections

References Hamlet (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Opus 24
by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Grand even as an edit
21 December 2005 | by kurt_messickSee all my reviews

This film is sometimes described as a comedy, and while it has humorous bits (a more sardonic and biting form of humour most of the time), it has never really felt at home being classified as a comedy, in my estimation. I do like the rapid-fire wit that Holmes seems to have here (a bit more in abundance than in the canonical Conan Doyle stories), but the Holmes presented here is a bit more dark and brooding, more akin to the extra-canonical 'Seven Percent Solution' Holmes in many ways.

Wilder was an extraordinary director and genius who sometimes gets carried away with his subject (in this regard, he is sometimes compared with Stanley Kubrick). His films are often of epic-proportions, even though they are not essentially 'epic' subjects. This film is reputed to have been nearly twice as long as the final cut version, but this may be apocryphal in that much of the raw footage never made it to final print and production. The restoration available on the disc currently available is, in fact, rather minimal - a few scenes and a few extras, but not much more than the original release of the film. This is disappointing to many fans, but in fact is more than most of us have had for a long time, as the somewhat choppy film was often mercilessly cut for television broadcast.

Holmes in this case is played by Robert Stephens, an unlikely Holmes in comparison to standards such as Rathbone, Brett, or Gillette, but still an interesting choice - quintessentially British, reserved but daring, brilliant yet flawed and faltering. Colin Blakely presents a stronger Watson than often portrayed before (this film, being made in 1970, presented this as a newer idea for Watson, one that has been picked up by many subsequent productions). Wilder has the actors play at various issues of Victorian sensibility and morality, including the implication (dismissed in the end) that Holmes might have a sexual identity issue. Christopher Lee, who himself plays Holmes in other productions, plays Holmes' smarter brother Mycroft here, to good effect.

The story line does have some inspiration from the canonical stories (the Bruce-Partington Plans, for one), and from Gillette's play (the strange case of Miss Faulkner, introducing an ending that allowed for a love interest for Holmes in the end), but for the most part takes the characters from Conan Doyle and runs far afield. Still, this is must-see film for any fan of Holmes, and any fan of Wilder, who saw this as one of his last great productions.


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