The classic BBC run of Sherlock Holmes starring Douglas Wilmer is finally available on DVD! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective has enthralled generations since his first appearance in 1887. In 1964 BBC commissioned a series with Douglas Wilmer as Holmes and Nigel Stock as his faithful friend Dr. Watson. This DVD, never before released, includes some of the best stories from the canon. Whether it’s the horrifying case of The Speckled Band or the fascinating story behind The Red Headed League, this is a DVD must have for all Sherlock and mystery fans. Note: Of the original 13 episodes in this series, no source material exists for "The Abbey Grange" or "The Bruce-Partington Plans," so they are regrettably not included here.
The 1960s BBC series Sherlock Holmes
has all the virtues of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective--shrewd and efficient, with flashes of visual panache but never at the expense of sturdy, straightforward storytelling. The 13 episodes on this DVD set include such favorites as "The Red-Headed League" and "The Six Napoleons," as well as lesser-known stories like "The Beryl Coronet" and "The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax." Douglas Wilmer plays Holmes with all the traditional accouterments: the deerstalker cap, the pipe, the aquiline nose, the obsessive and abrasive nature, the mix of haughty superiority and moral compassion. Nigel Stock is a typically affable but dense Watson. The supporting casts feature an abundance of unknown but capable character actors who bring flavor and zest to their roles. Some episodes have a hint of film noir or the pulp surrealism of Fantomas
, with good use of shadows and things not quite seen. The best stories traffic in the macabre. In "The Devil's Foot," a woman dies overnight while playing cards with her brothers, who each went mad; they sit at a round table, the woman's hand covered in melted wax from the candle, the men grinning, twitching, and laughing. Holmes, of course, will suss out the truth--but the truth is less likely to stick in the mind than that weird domestic image. Sherlock Holmes
walks that fine line between morbid imagination and complete faith in the power of the rational mind. --Bret Fetzer