65. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

Roger's Rating :

Should be :

I've always loved the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes' movies. I also really liked this film that has to be the best of all the Sherlock Holmes movies. Directed by the great Billy Wilder, this movie brings us the iconic Holmes, playing the violin, smoking his pipe and reaching for his needle in times of pain and boredom. It showed the private life of Holmes, the life that didn’t make it into the pages of Strand magazine.
It showed a Holmes who was human, but it also remained faithful to the Arthur Conan Doyle character. It showed us a Holmes who had been disappointed in love. He says to Watson, “You’ve given the reader the distinct impression that I am a misogynist. Actually, I don’t dislike women, I merely distrust them.”
The movie had an interesting, twisting plot with a nice part for Christopher Lee as Mycroft Holmes. It also had midgets, canaries, monks, the Queen and the Loch Ness monster.
But most interestingly it had an vulnerable Holmes, outsmarted by a woman who he seems to fall in love with.
Roger didn't love the movie. He said "But before the movie is 20 minutes old, Wilder has settled for simply telling a Sherlock Holmes adventure."
Roger goes on to say "The same kind of obviousness takes the fun out of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, and that's a shame. The Holmes character, creeping around with his magnifying glass and (Watson tells us at the film's beginning) identifying a murderer by measuring the extent to which the parsley had sunk into the butter on a warm summer day, is a promising subject for the kind of satirical examination we expect from Wilder and his frequent co-author, I. A. L. Diamond. But they pass up the chance and bore us while Holmes laboriously unravels a case involving the midget acrobats, a missing husband, Trappist monks, the Loch Ness monster, dead canaries and a copper ring that has turned green. It takes Holmes about half an hour longer to solve the case than it takes us, and poor Watson never catches on."
I have to admit that when I first watched this movie I was like Watson, I really had no idea what was going on. I thought the movie worked as a mystery, a comedy, an adventure and as a Sherlock Holmes movie.
On IMDB it has a 7.3 rating and on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% rating. Only one critic out of 21 gave it a negative review - Roger.

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