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Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death (1984)

The Masks of Death (original title)
Sherlock Holmes has retired. But when MacDonald asks him to take on another case, he says yes. There have been some mysterious murders, and there are no visible causes for the deaths. At ... See full summary »


Roy Ward Baker


Anthony Hinds (story) (as John Elder), Arthur Conan Doyle (characters) (as Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Cushing ... Sherlock Holmes
John Mills ... Doctor Watson
Anne Baxter ... Irene Adler
Ray Milland ... Home Secretary
Anton Diffring ... Graf Udo Von Felseck
Gordon Jackson ... Alec MacDonald
Susan Penhaligon ... Miss Derwent
Marcus Gilbert ... Anton Von Felseck
Jenny Laird ... Mrs. Hudson
Russell Hunter ... Alfred Coombs
James Cossins ... Frederick Baines
Eric Dodson ... Lord Claremont
Georgina Coombs Georgina Coombs ... Lady Claremont
James Head James Head ... Chauffeur
Dominic Murphy Dominic Murphy ... Boot Boy


Sherlock Holmes has retired. But when MacDonald asks him to take on another case, he says yes. There have been some mysterious murders, and there are no visible causes for the deaths. At the same time Holmes gets this case, Graf Udo Von Felseck gives him another case: find a young and missing prince to prevent war between Germany and England. But Von Felseck is not as honest as he seems... Written by <ivara@stud.idb.hist.no>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

23 December 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A follow-up TV Movie called "The Abbot's Cry" was mooted but never made, ostensibly because the insurers would not cover the elderly Peter Cushing. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: You are my only friend, Watson. You have such a grand gift of silence.
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice acting, shame about the plot.
9 June 2003 | by DPMaySee all my reviews

Above all else, this TV movie was most welcome for giving Peter Cushing a chance to end his acting career on a high note and in one of his most celebrated roles (he appeared in one more film after this one but this was to be the last lead role of his long career). He'd first played Sherlock Holmes twenty-five years previously in a Hammer movie, and then in a 1968 BBC television series. Here, he revisits the character in a later stage of life and, accordingly, this time his rendition of the great detective is less agile and prone to moments of impatience and tetchiness. Cushing is just one of a number of senior actors in the cast, many of them sadly fast-approaching the end of their careers... Anne Baxter, Gordon Jackson, Anton Diffring... Ray Milland also sadly was not in great health at the time and it shows. Nevertheless, all give very good performances as one would expect from such distinguished names. The piece is nicely filmed with good location work and the music is okay too but unfortunately everything is let down by the plot. Much of the narrative involves Holmes and Watson investigating a supposed kidnapping which ultimately proves to be nothing more than a red-herring, conceived to keep Holmes distracted from another more important matter. One can't help wondering if it would have been easier for the villains to have simply assassinated Holmes if they were so worried about him bringing them to justice. And once this duplicity is discovered, the characters involved just vanish from the action and the story suddenly shifts to a climax that is, in itself rather unsatisfying. Why do Holmes and Watson, two ageing men, risk their lives in flushing the villains out of their lair when the police apparently have the whole place surrounded anyway?

It was a nice idea to see a more elderly Holmes in action for once and even better to have Peter Cushing playing him once again, and it's a shame that plans for a proposed follow-up never came to fruition, because a better story might have worked wonders. A good attempt that just doesnt quite come off.

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