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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The acting, photography and score are tops (Leonard Maltin) in this lively satirical homage from seven-time Academy AwardÂ(r) winner* Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard) and his long-time writing partner I.A.L. Diamond (The Apartment). When a beautiful woman claims that her dear husband has disappeared, the investigation takes Sherlock Holmes (Robert Stephens) and Dr. Watson (Colin Blakely) to Scotland, whereto their surprisethey uncover a plot involving clandestine society, Her Majesty's Secret Service and the Loch Ness Monster! But before he can deduce matters to the elementary, Holmes makes an error that may jeopardize the national safety of Britain and ruin his reputation! *1960: The Apartment (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay (with I.A.L.Diamond)); 1950: Sunset Boulevard (Original Screenplay (with Charles Brackett and D.M. Marshman, Jr.)); 1945: The Lost Weekend (Director, Adapted Screenplay (with Charles Brackett)); 1987: Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

Special Features

  • "Christopher Lee: Mr. Holmes, Mr. Wilder"
  • Interview with the editor
  • Deleted sequences
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Stephens, Irene Handl, Stanley Holloway, Christopher Lee, Geneviève Page
  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKHF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,355 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Sherlock Holmes adaptions have had a hit or miss quality for the longest time. Even going back to the Rathbone films (which wasn't the earliest incarnation of the fictional great detective in film) we had a clunker for every great one produced. its interesting to watch original films about Holmes as they do investigate elements in the characters that often have been ignored in those that are considered canon. Billy Wilder's "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" belongs in that category. although its not a great Wilder film, it features Wilder's characteristic cynical wit and some nice performances. It's been out of circulation for too long.

Wilder's Holmes is precursor to Nicolas Meyer's as presented in Herbert Ross' film "The Seven Percent Solution". I don't want to reveal the plot here because it would spoil it for fans except to say this highlights one of Holmes' few failures which makes it all the more interesting to me.

Kino Blu-Ray: The recent (8/14) Kino BD looks marginally better in terms of detail but the transfer features a different and inferior source that is poorly cleaned up with dirt, debris and white speckles that mar the transfer. Although a bit darker than the DVD (which improves the film in the day for night sequences). Colors are inconsistent--badly faded one moment and then bold the next (towards the end). While the soft look of the film is often intentional , using this source the presentation looks even worse hurting the look of the film.

The best that can be said for the audio is that is relatively clear but it has no depth whatsoever here.

The special features have largely been ported over from the superior DVD edition.
Read more ›
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72 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 21, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is a cult classic and well deserving of that status. It's one of my favourite films and for YEARS we were promised the excised footage would be replaced and we could finally see this marvellous film in the form Billy Wilder meant it to be. Well, I am sure like all fans of the film, we waited with hope that NOW they would include all these scenes. And while the film transfer is great and I was sad to see there is NO footage to speak of to be added. There are snippets of film of other adventures, stills flashed over a poor soundtrack, but according to MGM there is no extra scenes, they have been lost.
WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!
The film is still a must for Billy Wilder, Robert Stephens, Chris Lee or Sherlock Holmes Fans. But just do not expect all the lost footage to be restored.
It is a very very funny look at Holmes, a more human look perhaps. This is a mirthful look at the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, lovingly portrayed with a twinkle in his eye by the late great Sir Robert Stephens. The adventures are fun (the ones we see) but mainly centre around a woman's missing husband. Toss in several hundred canaries, the Loch Ness Monster, missing midgets - the Tumbling Pickaloes to be precise - the mysterious red runner, Queen Victoria, some Trappist monks, an ageing ballerina that does not 'look 39' - that is because she is 49!! -who wants Holmes to father her child and an amnesiac damsel in distress that temps Holmes, all done with the best British wit and droll sense of humour...and you have a mix that cannot miss.
Incisive writing and direction, this fill pay homage to Holmes and Watson, with tongue firmly planted in cheek...
Even so, the currently version is a true gem, and so overlooked,
all we have left of Billy Wilder genius vision.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Kaczmarek on December 25, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First the good news: Billy Wilder's wonderfully comic--and tragic--examination of the romantic life of "the world's greatest consulting detective," Sherlock Holmes, is reproduced beautifully in this terrific and long overdue DVD. Indeed, "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" has never looked better or more complete on the small screen, as it is presented here in a digitally remastered widescreen format that preserves the integrity of director and co-writer Wilder's original vision. As fans of the film know, Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond fill in the blanks regarding the sexual orientation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous literary creation (a hot topic among intellectuals in the late 1960s) with both a sparkling wit and grand sense of respect for the subject matter. In the film, Holmes embarks on his most scandalous case, which includes the search for a missing engineer, the discovery of secrets of state, and his burgeoning love for a mysterious woman who might not be who she claims. With his lisp and penchant for sarcasm, Robert Stephens' Holmes is less the classical hero than in previous screen versions, going so far as to chide Watson (played wonderfully by Colin Blakely) for embellishing both his habits and physical stature in his "Strand Magazine" articles, yet Stephens' Holmes retains the keen mind, loyal affability, and vulnerable spirit we have come to admire. The supporting cast, which includes Christopher Lee as Mycroft Holmes, is excellent, but it is the production, including Miklos Rosza's hauntingly luscious score, that helps propel the film to greatness.Read more ›
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