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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 »

Director:

Roy Ward Baker

Writers:

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

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
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Storyline

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


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

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:

Mono

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final screen performance of Anne Baxter. See more »

Quotes

Dr. John H. Watson: No sane man wants war.
Sherlock Holmes: That is the trouble, Watson. There are otherwise sane men who do want war.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Masking death

Am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and get a lot of enjoyment out of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. Also love Basil Rathbone's and especially Jeremy Brett's interpretations to death. So would naturally see any Sherlock Holmes adaptation that comes my way, regardless of its reception.

Furthermore, interest in seeing early films based on Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and wanting to see as many adaptations of any Sherlock Holmes stories as possible sparked my interest in seeing 'The Masks of Death', especially one with such a great idea with Sherlock Holmes in his twilight retirement years.

There are better Sherlock Holmes-related films/adaptations certainly than 'The Masks of Death', the best of the Jeremy Brett adaptations and films of Basil Rathone fit under this category. It's also not among the very worst, although one of the lesser ones overall, being much better than any of the Matt Frewer films (particularly 'The Sign of Four') and also much better than the abominable Peter Cook 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.

By all means, 'The Masks of Death' is not without imperfections. The story is not always focused, with a few too many abrupt shifts and characters coming and going. Some of the pace could have been tighter.

Ray Milland to me also seemed ill at ease and out of place, ill health showing and not gelling with the period.

However, 'The Masks of Death' looks handsome in period detail and is filmed nicely if not lavishly. Roy Ward Baker's direction gets the best out of the cast and keeps the mystery interesting, while the writing is intelligent, literate and probes though.

While not perfect in execution, the story is intriguing with a quiet nostalgia and subtle tension. Most of the pacing is swift. The ending is chilling.

Peter Cushing is an excellent Holmes and shares a charming chemistry with John Mills' equally good Watson. A legendary literary partnership done justice. Anne Baxter's Irene Adler beguiles. Cast is fine on the whole, with the only reservation being Milland.

Overall, well done. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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