The Soviet TV films of Sherlock Holmes starring Vasili Livanov as the detective have been uniformly stylish and engrossing viewing from what I have seen so far. This particular film picks up with adapting the first Holmes story, "A Study in Scarlet" after its predecessor had been composed of the scenes of Holmes and Watson meeting from that novel, and the mystery story from "The Speckled Band." Though it is among the more famous Holmes stories, novel-length, and introduces the character, "A Study in Scarlet" is rarely adapted because, in part of the long stretch set in Utah in which Holmes and Watson do not figure.
Here, however, adapting just the London parts with the backstory revealed only through exposition works very well: the film progresses from good-humored and fascinating character scenes between Holmes and Watson, played really wonderfully and memorably by Livanov and Vitali Solomin, to a riveting murder-adventure story, to the very human story of what drove the killer to murder and how he did it -- all underscoring the message of there being more to ever crime than just the fact of the killing, and, as Holmes points out, that sometimes the killer can evoke more sympathy than the victim.
Like the other entries in this Lenfilm Holmes cycle, this production oozes quality, and I don't hesitate to recommend it.
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