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The Sherlock Holmes Collection

70 customer reviews

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(Dec 15, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Only five episodes of the BBC s celebrated 1960s Sherlock Holmes series survive. Coincidentally, all five star the inimitable Peter Cushing (Star Wars) as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle s legendary detective, with Nigel Stock as Dr. Watson. And, fortunately for Holmes fans, they have finally been made available on DVD in North America, courtesy of A&E.

Having already starred as Holmes in the famous Hammer film Hound of the Baskervilles, Cushing was uniquely suited to craft the definitive portrayal for these five captivating televised mysteries. For his first outing as the BBC s Holmes, Cushing revisits the moors of Dartmoor for a feature-length version of Holmes most well-known case, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Subsequent adventures pit his vaunted intellect against murderers, cannibals and Australian bushwackers in faithful productions of The Sign of the Four, The Blue Carbuncle, A Study in Scarlet and The Boscombe Valley Mystery.

There will certainly be some car-door slamming on Baker Street with the release of this essential collection of the long-thought-lost 1960s BBC TV series. The set contains five surviving episodes starring the venerable Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, whose deerstalker he first tried on for size in the 1959 Hammer production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. That classic mystery gets the two-part treatment here and is easily the highlight of the set. The other stories--"A Study in Scarlet," "The Sign of Four," "The Blue Carbuncle," and "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," each clocking in at less than an hour--are a little worse for the abridgment, but watching Cushing's cool and collected Holmes is good to while away an hour or two. To paraphrase Paul Simon, every generation throws a Sherlock Holmes up the pop charts, and Cushing ranks with the best of them (Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett). "I am no policeman," he proclaims at one point. "I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. When the official police are out of their depth, the matter is laid before me." His partner Watson (Nigel Stock) is wrong when he states that "anticipation is the worst part of any adventure." On the contrary, one eagerly anticipates Holmes's arrival on the scene, where he will meticulously examine the clues and use his "remarkable powers of observation" to solve cases the police consider closed. Each baffling mystery is but "child's play" or "commonplace" to him. As Watson gasps after Holmes makes another brilliant deduction, "You amaze me." And so will this collection, no doubt. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

Five episodes: The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of the Four, The Blue Carbuncle, A Study in Scarlet, and The Boscombe Valley Mystery
Sherlock Holmes: The Great Detective bonus documentary

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Cushing, Nigel Stock, Douglas Wilmer, Peter Madden, Grace Arnold
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009
  • Run Time: 296 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001TE6P78
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,798 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Sherlock Holmes Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Dan Day on December 25, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Sherlock Holmes Collection" contains the only six surviving episodes of the BBC's 1968 TV series "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes". The great Peter Cushing stars as Holmes and Nigel Stock plays Dr. Watson. The six episodes feature five stories:

The Hound of the Baskervilles (a two-part episode)
The Sign of the Four
The Blue Carbuncle
A Study in Scarlet
The Boscombe Valley Mystery

The main reason to get this set is Peter Cushing. It's great to see him playing one of his favorite characters at the prime of his career. Cushing had already played Holmes in Hammer Films' THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES in 1959. Cushing's TV Holmes is a bit calmer
than his Hammer Holmes. The mannerisms and behaviour of the literary Holmes are still present, though.
Unfortunately the episodes themselves do not live up to the star of the series. It's obvious the BBC did not spend the money necessary to bring Doyle's stories to life properly. Most of the scenes in the episodes are indoors and filled with dialogue. It's sometimes like watching a play. The action and atmosphere of Doyle seem to be avoided due to budgetary reasons. A prime example is The Sign of Four. This is one of Doyle's best works, but here it is condensed down to a Cliff Notes version. The Sign of Four should have been a two-parter as well.
Nigel Stock does a decent job as Watson, but the supporting players in the episodes tend to overact badly. In later interveiws, Peter Cushing would express his disappointment with how the series turned out. The BBC made a total of sixteen episodes, but only these six survive, because in those days the BBC would erase or re-use their tapes!
Overall, the picture and sound quality are fine (the episodes are in color). Even though these are not the best presentations of Doyle's detective, this series is a must for Peter Cushing fans and for Sherlock Holmes lovers.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Rodden II on December 22, 2009
Format: DVD
Well done, atmospheric Holmes adventures with Peter Cushing and Nigel Stock. I'm sorry the rest of this 60's series is lost, since I believe I read that Cushing actually did about 16 episodes for the series. The loss is ours, but it makes having this small collection of the survivors that more precious. If you are a Hammer Film fan then you are pretty sure of what you're getting with Cushing's performance as the master slueth. I enjoyed his big screen turn as Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, but the performance at times seemed a bit too energetic, almost too frenetic at times, as though Cushing were trying hard to point out how unusual Holmes was. In these later years portrayals, Cushing's Holmes seems to move with a slow intellectual grace that is more befitting the Detective. Nigel Stock is also a recognizable face from Hammer, and other British productions. He plays Watson very well here, using the right combination of patience and awe at Holmes' quirks and genious insites.

Picture quality is very good, and sound is likewise better than expected, with five tales told in Victorian times, and with enough suspense and humor to please any Holmes fan.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Paula Clifford on December 26, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The series is worth watching for the Holmes of Peter Cushing, as well as Nigel Stock's take on Watson. The guests are unfamiliar aside from Gary Raymond and Frank Middlemass. The main flaws are the slow pace and low budget sets, as well as color, which never seems suited to the Victorian settings.
The biggest surprise here is a complete verison of "A Study in Scarlet", which one book claimed only had a few scenes that still existed. The changes in the story were minor, a minus being in not keeping the first meeting of Holmes and Watson, a big plus being the deletion of the dull flashback from the book.
"The Hound of the Baskervilles" is a bit disappointing, it suffers from the two part telling and, being fairly faithful to the novel, has far too little Holmes. Two other flaws, a cave floor creaks badly and the story ends abruptly.
"The Boscombe Valley Mystery" wasn't one of Doyle's best and is probably the weakest in the collection here, due in part to the poor supporting cast.
"The Sign of Four" stuck fairly close to the novel, except for the end. Only the Arthur Wontner verison actually had the nerve to allow watson to marry.
"The Blue Carbuncle" has the most padding to fill the time, but does feature a good scene where Watson gets a laugh at Holmes' expense after a faulty deduction.
Those who think Cushing was too short to play Holmes should reread "The Three Students" and "The Abbey Grange", where Holmes gives himself gives his height at six feet, the same as Cushing. (Arthur Wontner was an inch shorter by the way.)
Even with the flaws this is easily the best television Holmes collection out there and is second only to the better Rathbone films.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kay's Husband on February 3, 2010
Format: DVD
I have all the Jeremy Brett versions of Sherlock Holmes on DVD but after seeing the 1959 film THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES with Peter Cushing wanted this set to see more of Cushing's portrayal of Holmes. Most viewers will not be disappointed with the Holmes portrayed by Peter Cushing. His acting is superb adding a bit of dash and difference to the Holmes stories.

One should take note, however, that THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES of this BBC TV set IS NOT the one of the 1959 movie also starring Christopher Lee. All features within this 3 disc set are from BBC TV. While interesting to see they can be a bit ragged in places and some of the sets leave a bit also to be wished for.

Overall if one enjoys Holmes and the Holmes' stories there cannot be any disappointment in these discs. It's unfortunate that only these handful of stories survive from those years.

Though I yet prefer the Jeremy Brett series as being more professionally done, these discs are good and enjoyable to watch. Unfair perhaps, but forty-plus years of improvement in film does make a difference. But Peter Cushing has left us with a capital performance where Sherlock Holmes is concerned, while the role of Dr. Watson is more than ably performed as well.

Semper Fi.
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Topic From this Discussion
What's on this set?
I think it's the same as the UK release:

A three disc set combining the BBC dramatisations of six Sherlock Holmes mysteries, starring Peter Cushing and Nigel Stock. Includes: The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of Four, The Blue Carbuncle, A Study in Scarlet and The Boscombe Valley.

Jun 22, 2009 by James D. Farrow |  See all 3 posts
Good question Moncho. I think the information about subtitles is very imortant to describe the product.
Feb 23, 2010 by Marcelo A. Valhof |  See all 2 posts
Peter Cushing reads The Return of Sherlock Holmes on a CD Audiobook. Be the first to reply
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