The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
 
(Billy Wilder, 1970)
 
Rating: 4/5 
 
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
 
Summary: Another one of cinema’s great “what could have been” studio butcheries, Billy Wilder’s Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is ripe for reinvestigation via this Masters of Cinema Blu-ray complete with missing footage. 
 
Watching The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, it’s hard to not wonder what it would’ve been like if director Billy Wilder went with some starrier names for the parts of Sherlock and Watson. Originally it was going to be Peter O’Toole and Peter Sellers. Surely, Wilder could have also have coaxed his frequent double act stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau before the cameras as well. 
 
But in the end, the great director behind the likes of such masterpieces as The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Stalag 17 and Ace in the Hole settled for a couple of off-the-wall choices with Robert Stephens as Holmes and Colin Blakely as Doctor Watson. As skilled as these performers are, it’s perhaps harder to latch on to them. So many of Wilder’s scripts benefit from the gloss of the era’s top performers to seduce us and ease the blows of the often bitingly dark scripts. 
 
 
Another issue with the Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is that old problem that plagues so many revered auteurs - studio interference. Lopping off nearly an hour from Wilder’s proposed three hour, episodic comedy mystery, the final version does seem to lack pace and cohesion but of course it’s not without its charm. This is a Billy Wilder picture after all. 
 
Take for one the elegant location photography - something that a lot of Wilder’s more stagey films aren’t renowned for. With Sherlock Holmes, we’re treated to fog-drenched London and bright, open vistas of Scotland’s countryside (culminating in a trip to Loch Ness - a far cry from William Holden floating in a dilapidated Sunset Boulevard mansion’s seldom cleaned swimming pool).
 
Add all of that together and throw it against a sketchy plot that involves clandestine hooded societies and even the Loch Ness Monster and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is certainly an oddity in the master filmmaker’s storied career. But more than just a throwaway oddity, this (along perhaps with Fedora) is one of Wilder’s most misunderstood and quietly melancholic works. 
 
 
Whimsical, beautifully shot and witty, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a case well worth re-opening - especially on this Masters of Cinema Blu-ray. It finally brings us nearly an hour of missing material (most of which is scripted/audio only as opposed to fully intact scenes unfortunately but it still amounts to a revelation for fans of the sleuth or the auteur behind the lens pulling the strings). It just begs to be unearthed and cherished. This is a film well worthy of another shot. 
 
Extras include:
 
• Glorious 1080p presentation • Uncompressed PCM soundtrack (on the Blu-ray) • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing • A new video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard • The Missing Cases (50 mins): A presentation of the films deleted sequences, using script excerpts, production stills and surviving film footage. Includes the film’s Original Prologue, The Curious Case of the Upside Down Room, The Adventure of the Dumbfounded Detective and The Dreadful Business of the Naked Honeymooners • Deleted Epilogue Scene (audio only) • Christopher Lee: Mr. Holmes, Mr. Wilder - an archival interview with Christopher Lee about his experience working with Billy Wilder • Interview with editor Ernest Walter • Original theatrical trailer • PLUS: A collectors booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp; the words of Billy Wilder; and rare archival imagery
 
 

Other film news

From The Commuter to Source Code: The greatest film thrillers set on trains

To celebrate the release of upcoming thriller THE COMMUTER, starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson and Sam Neill, in cinemas January 19, we collated a list of the greatest train thrillers ever to hit the big screen.

Mark Wahlberg: Master of the everyman biopic

To celebrate the release of PATRIOTS DAY on Blu-ray and DVD June 26, we take a look at Mark Wahlberg’s most celebrated performances within stories that highlight the unimaginable bravery that ordinary people can demonstrate.

Unearthed: The bizarre and brilliant gems of new wave Mexican cinema

The turning point for the modern Mexican horror genre occurred in 1993, when a certain Guillermo Del Toro burst onto the scene with his inventive and brilliantly creepy film Cronos. Del Toro, along with the likes of Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G Iñárritu, went on to carve out careers in Hollywood, the latter two directing acclaimed Oscar-winning films The Revenant and Gravity, and pushed open the doors for a new wave of young Mexican directors. Cuarón and Iñárritu, no less, have given plaudits WE ARE THE FLESH, the extraordinary and unsettling debut film from Emiliano Rocha Minter

From TRON to Hell or High Water: The best of cinema's dude, Jeff Bridges!

Jeff Bridges seems to have been around forever, but has undoubtedly improved with age like a fine wine. Bridges secured his first major role in The Last Picture Show in 1971 but did not pick up his first Academy Award until 2009 for Best Actor in Crazy Heart and the Californian is a strong candidate for Best Supporting Actor at this year’s awards ceremonies for Hell or High Water, having already picked up a Golden Globe nomination.

Liam Neeson's career hits from dramatic lead to modern day action hero

Now considered one of Hollywood’s leading action stars, Liam Neeson wasn’t always the go-to man for high-octane thrills. His big breakthrough was in Steven Spielberg’s war drama Schindler’s List which he followed with everything from political biopics like Michael Collins to Christmas rom-coms in the form of Love Actually, before the Taken saga propelled him to action thriller infamy. It’s fair to say that Neeson has collated an extremely eclectic list of films for his CV...

Cinema's top cats: A purrfect collection of feline film favourites

A furry caper for all the family, NINE LIVES takes audiences on a journey of self-discovery, and reminds us all who and what really matters just in time for the Christmas season. With an award-winning cast, impressive CGI animation, and feline wit, cat lovers and dog lovers alike will be sure to enjoy this hilarious and heart-warming tale of redemption.

Check out this delightful Audrey Hepburn style guide INFOGRAPHIC!

Ahhh, Audrey Hepburn - the definition of cinematic grace and style (as well as being a vastly underrated dramatic actress). Thanks to our friends at The Rug Seller, we're thrilled to share with you an Audrey Hepburn style guide infographic for any of you would-be starlets looking to nail that Breakfast at Tiffany's look in the comfort of your own home!

Check out the home entertainment TRAILER for The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years!

Get your own backstage pass with The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years, on Blu-ray, DVD & 2 Disc Special Edition from November 21st. The Special Edition has 100 mins of extras including; unseen interviews with Paul and Ringo, five rarely seen full length performances of The Beatles live in concert, plus a 64-page booklet with rare photos from The Beatles’ private archive - a must-own for all fans!

Watch TRAILER: Check out the first look at Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

Following the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s sequel to the sci-fi action franchise starter sees the Guardians fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Check out the first trailer and poster, right below this official synopsis:

Revving up cinema: What is the best car film of all time?

New research by comparethemarket.com has revealed the best and worst car films of all time.

WATCH: Epic 2-minute film celebrating the unseen heroes of the film industry

Brothers and Sisters is back in cinemas with a new epic spot for Pearl & Dean celebrating the unseen heroes of the film industry.

Deepwater Horizon - real events seen on screen

To celebrate the release of Deepwater Horizon, based on the true story of the devastating 2010 incident and starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Dylan O’Brien, Gina Rodriguez, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich, we’ve taken a look at some of the greatest true stories ever told on film.

From Green Room to Misery: The Best Claustrophobic Thrillers

Most film fans will admit to reveling in the glory of siege thrillers. Who doesn’t somewhat sadistically enjoy sitting comfortably, watching those on screen suffer the horrific, claustrophobic stuff of nightmares? In homage to all films that have incidentally saved on expensive production costs by filming the entire movie in (mostly) one setting, we pay tribute to the newly crowned leader of said genre - Green Room out on Blu-ray and DVD September 19. We’ve listed some of the most genius, gripping films to get you in the mood. Ready your inner Houdini, here are the top ten movies all claustrophobes should give a wide berth.

Saul Bass: 20 Iconic Film Posters (book review)

Saul Bass: 20 Iconic Film Posters book review By Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham Laurence King Publishing September 2016, £19.95 You know when you're looking at a Saul Bass design (or someone ripping him off). The deceptively simple style, the direct focus, the twisted shapes, the solid colours, the striking fonts, the fact that you've been staring at it for way too long as the story within creeps out to greet you... Yes, this is the work of a master.

Check out the trailer for Batman: The Killing Joke here!

Starring Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, Batman: The Killing Joke arrives on Blu-rayTM, DVD & Steelbook on August 8, is available on EST from July 26 and comes to Vue Cinemas for one night only July 25.

Tale of Tales: Great cinematic fairytales without happy endings

Tale of Tales tells the story of a bitter quest of a Queen, two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, and a King that marries his daughter off to an ogre. These tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile and stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Vincent Cassell, and Toby Jones

Check out this incredible infographic all about THE REVENANT!

With the Best Picture Oscar winning modern masterpiece The Revenant arriving on DVD and Blu-ray from June 6th, now's a perfect time to look at the film's facts and figures in a fantastic infographic.

GoT a good thing going: Fan favourite Game of Thrones characters revealed!

With the added bonus of the show now being ahead of its source material, nobody knows exactly what lies ahead. Even though we’ve loved and lost many of our favourite characters, we wanted to find out who GoT fans will be getting behind this season. Casino Bonus Tips have conducted a survey of fans to find out which characters they are rooting for. We’ve grouped the top five below, along with why you should keep an eye on them in season six.

Creed: The Rocky legacy by the numbers

As the Oscar nominated Rocky sequel Creed steps out of the ring and to Blu-ray everywhere, let's take a look at the modern classic's stats by the numbers...

The Ninth Configuration

Catch 22 meets Shutter Island, William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration is as deranged and as brilliant as that mash-up promises.

Find Your Cinema

Cinemas Online supply showtimes for every cinema in the UK. To find out what's playing near you and to register for weekly showtimes updates from your local cinema, just enter your postcode:

Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement

| Privacy Policy | Contact Cinemas Online