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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:

It took a genius to cover up Sherlock Holme's vices, blunders, and bizarre tastes. Sherlock Holmes was a genius. 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

Towards the end, when the submarine sinks we see a bible and a bottle of champagne float to the surface - alas the bottle of champagne would not float. See more »

Quotes

Holmes: [Discussing Watson's portrayal of Holmes in 'Strand' Magazine] I don't dislike women, I merely distrust them. The twinkle in the eye and the arsenic in the soup...
Watson: You see it's touches like that which make you colourful.
Holmes: Lurid, more like!
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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A surprisingly melancholy celebration of Conan Doyle's most famous creation
19 February 1999 | by Rogue-4See all my reviews

Billy Wilder's excellent 1970 film handles the whole subject of Sherlock Holmes from a refreshingly different angle. As the title suggests, the film is rather more concerned with characterisation than plot, which although entertaining and original, is hardly an adequate stage to show off Holmes' exceptional talents.

Instead, Wilder and Diamond start with the premise that "Watson's" stories for Strand Magazine were a little more lurid than the "reality" and use it to develop a more subtle characterisation than the "thinking machine" of the literary Holmes. Admittedly, the film probably concentrates on Holmes' celebrated cocaine habit more than it should, but all references are lifted straight from the book and in any case, Stephens does not dwell on it.

Stephens himself is quite simply excellent, giving Holmes' a depth of character not seen again until Jeremy Brett on the small screen. Stephens' performance leaves us with a slightly melancholy Holmes', a man who perhaps regrets that, unlike Watson, he has dedicated his life to pure reason and while the screenplay hints at Holmes' sexuality, Stephens deflects it masterfully, remaining ambivalent and gentile where a less accomplished actor would have been simply camp, and so uses the suggestion to wrap another layer of ambiguity about the character.

All in all, Wilder and Stephens combine to make a refreshingly accessible Holmes and the entertainment comes from the interplay of characters rather than pace of plot.


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