During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.
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>
Dr.Watson says at the beginning of the movie that this takes place in 1887. However, he shows Holmes a copy of the Strand Magazine with "The Red Headed League", which was not published until 1891. Also, the Russian opera singer later tells Holmes that she read about his adventure, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", but that was not published until 1901. See more »
We all have occasional failures. Fortunately Dr. Watson never writes about mine.
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Billy Wilder's take on the world's most famous detective is both painstakingly faithful and sardonically subversive to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's idiossyncratic creation. Presented as a case that loyal companion John Watson duly recorded but requested remain secret until long after his death, in which Holmes aids a Belgian woman find her missing husband, a mining engineer hired by an apparently non-existant English company, it makes clever use of the rulebook Conan Doyle set down while at the same time undermining it from within. The title and the plot may seem misleading at first - the first half hour especially seems at odds with what comes afterwards - but in fact if you're a Holmes fan you'll quickly realise that this is as close to romance as the detective would ever allow, and Wilder tells it through a masterful accumulation of small touches that only someone as meticulous as the man himself would notice. Script-wise, it's a cracking mystery in the best Doyle tradition, with all the time-honoured twists and turns present and correct. The acting is also up to Wilder's usual standards; Stephens and Blakely are an engaging duo as a bored Holmes and a bumbling Watson, and there's a hysterically funny supporting turn by the always underrated Revill as a Russian ballet impresario. Wilder's trademark pointed cynicism fits the English witticism particularly well, even if at times it all seems a bit too modern for the peaceful Victorian surroundings, but it is quite ironic to see him chiding Britain's stiff-upper-lip, old-fashioned morality when the film seems to be an "old timers' movie" entirely out of sync with its own time. Still, it's hard to find fault in such a thoroughly civilised and delightful entertainment.
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