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Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death (1984)

The Masks of Death (original title)
Sherlock Holmes has retired. But when Alec 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. ... See full summary »


Roy Ward Baker


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




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 Alec 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


Did You Know?


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


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 »

User Reviews

THE MASKS OF DEATH {TV} (Roy Ward Baker, 1984) **1/2
24 October 2013 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This original Sherlock Holmes case (from a story by Anthony Hinds under his John Elder alias) also marks Peter Cushing's last starring role – he had first played the fastidious Baker Street detective in Hammer's 1959 version of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, reprised in two TV series in 1964 and 1968 (during the course of which he eventually relinquished the part to Douglas Wilmer). His inseparable sidekick, Dr. John Watson, was interpreted by the likes of Andre' Morell, Nigel Stock and, here, Sir John Mills. Incidentally, given the actors' age, the film starts off with Holmes (typically and, in spite of Cushing's frail look, he is made to don a couple of disguises throughout) in retirement, his adventures being recounted to reporter Susan Penhaligon – whose appearance is relegated to this brief prologue, never subsequently picked up! Seeing the cast at work, one gets the feeling he is visiting a veterans' retirement home: supporting the leads, among others, are Ray Milland and Anne Baxter (both of whom would be dead within 2 years), Anton Diffring and Gordon Jackson! Anyway, the main narrative – set on the eve of WWI – seems to incorporate two unrelated mysteries (mildly thrilling but not really horrific, as I had been led to believe!) but which, unsurprisingly, are found to be connected: the first involves a number of corpses discovered bearing the titular countenance, the second the alleged kidnapping of the young heir to the German throne. The main setting, then, is Diffring's county manor – where Holmes runs into an old nemesis, Baxter, one of the very few who had ever managed to outwit him! – but the climax takes place in an underground lair, with our heroes incongruously resorting to shooting their way out of trouble! All in all, the film is an adequate (and pleasingly old-fashioned) time-passer, its biggest reward undoubtedly emerging Cushing's always delightful turn as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's master sleuth. Even so, the sheer fact that so many of its participants – Cushing, Diffring, Milland, Penhaligon, Ward Baker and Elder – had previously excelled in the horror genre makes the surprising lack of it here seem doubly disappointing.

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Release Date:

23 December 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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