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The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother

4 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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(Apr 04, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Gene Wilder comedy also stars Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn. Wilder plays Holmes' brother.

After co-writing and starring in Mel Brooks' smash hit Young Frankenstein, Gene Wilder graduated to his own directing debut with another spoofy take on a cultural icon. The 1975 Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother gives Wilder some great trademark meltdowns, even if the movie doesn't sustain its initial comic energy. Wilder plays Sigerson Holmes, third (and bitterly resentful) brother to the more fabled Sherlock and Mycroft. Two Young Frankenstein co-stars help bring the game afoot: Madeline Kahn, as an opera singer with a problem in distinguishing truth from lies, and Marty Feldman, as a Scotland Yard man with "photographic hearing." The long early sequence that introduces all three characters to each other--and culminates in a lunatic song-and-dance number, "The Kangaroo Hop"--is truly funny, and Dom DeLuise summons up some broad yoks as a singer with a bad toupee. The British are represented by Leo McKern and Roy Kinnear, as well as a mysterious cameo by Albert Finney. (Mel Brooks isn't around, but you can spot his unmistakable pipes in a moment of voiceover.) Things become routine fairly quickly, and the last half-hour is something of a slog, so you'll have to be a Gene Wilder fan to love this one. Still, the rapport of Wilder and Kahn is something to behold: two expert comedians who always suggested an undercurrent of melancholy beneath their clowning. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Commentary by Gene Wilder
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 4, 2006
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E6ESJ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,269 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
While some have ridiculed this Sherlock Holmes' parody, I love it and rejoice at its long-awaited DVD release. Made in 1975, funny man Gene wilder wrote, directed and starred in the film, which also boasts the incomparable talents of the late and truly lamented Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman. It also stars Dom DeLuise and Leo (Rumpole of the Bailey) McKern.

Wilder, a well-schooled actor in parodies having starred earlier in his career with Kahn and Feldman in Mel Brooks' classic and beloved "Young Frankenstein," turned is considerable skills to create this loving send-up of the world's most famous sleuth. Wilder was well-equipped to do so as he is a life-long Conan Doyle fan and bonafide member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a famous real-life Sherlockian scholarly society whose members include Christopher Morley. (In this film, Brooks has a cameo role, but he is heard and not seen.)

In this Victorian era film, Wilder portrays Sigerson Holmes, the "smarter" but very jealous younger brother of the brilliant Consulting Detective, whom he derisively refers to as "Sheer-luck." (In the Conan Doyle canon, "Sigerson" was an alias Sherlock Holmes used during his "missing years" after his falsely believed death-plunge at the Richenback Falls at the hands of his evil nemesis, Professor James Moriarty; while Mycroft Holmes was actually Sherlock's smarter brother.)

In the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, Sigerson begins an investigation, at the request of Sherlock, into the disappearance of a vital cache of government documents. Sherlock and Dr. John Watson leave England to travel to the Continent on another assignment, apparently confounded by the missing document mystery.
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Format: DVD
Like "Young Frankenstein", "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" is a knowing and affectionate spoof. It does not set out to destroy its target, but to show appreciation for it. Wilder, a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, shows his knowledge of Holmsian lore by including many references and quotations from a number of the stories, though mostly from "The Naval Treaty." Wilder, Kahn and Feldman are once again a wonderful, cohesive trio, Dom DeLuis is a riot as a bizarre and untalented opera singer, and Leo McKern shows both utter strangeness and menace in his role as Moriarty. The film has moments of total manic humor, such as spontaneous singing ("The Kangaroo Hop"); Wilder and guest villain Roy Kinnear having a coach-top battle with a giant shoe and glove taken from businesses they pass; and a hilarious spoof of the opera, "The Masked Ball" with very funny English "translation" from the Italian. McKern and Wilders' final duel in a spooky prop room is genuinely exciting and nicely choreographed and the film perfectly captures the look and sounds of 1890s England, with a nice John Morris music score evoking Korngold, as Wilder wanted him to do.

Everyone clearly had a good time making this film and it shows in the enthusiasm for the material. The film is not out-and-out funny all the way through, but it wasn't designed to be.

At the end, for example, there is a genuinely poignant scene where Sigi has Sacker leave the sought-after Redcliff document in the prop room, clearly realizing that his famous older brother has been watching out for him and will retrieve the document himself.
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Comment 18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
As a child, I thought this 70s Sherlock Holmes' parody, was brilliant. Sadly, now, decades later, I see and realize the tarnished elements to the film.

Gene Wilder, fresh from his brilliant performance in Young Frankenstein does do a fine job in the role of a bitter and pompous younger brother to the more known Holmes. However, outside of one case mentioned (that of the Three Testicles, a throw-away line), we have no idea how good of a 'consulting detective he is.' There are moments he is bumbling and then moments where he is clever. And this odd variation is endemic to the entire plot.

We have the wonderful and talented Madeline Kahn as the love interest and mystery lady. Unfortunately, her character never makes any sense - all her scenes are meant to elicit laughs but there is no depth behind her character. Why would someone who is a governess be working as a dance hall singer and an opera singer and be romancing the head of the household? It's a shame as she can only do so much with the material presented. And despite their friendship, the two lack romantic chemistry.

Then, there's Marty Feldman, who is never given enough to do. It's a shame as he's quite a good physical actor. And Dom DeLuise hams up every scene, often for a touch too long.

Fortunately, Leo McKern provides the silver screen with one more memorable Moriarity's filmed. A shocking claim? Not at all. McKern's character, at times whimsical, other times pathologically vicious, steals every scene. You can see that he is a man motivated by his (hilarious) curse to commit a heinous act every 24 minutes. He's not a bumbler (except at math) and his lines are the best written in the movie.

The plot wanders a bit. But generally this is a decent comedy of its era.
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