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Without a Clue (1988)

Michael Caine , Ben Kingsley , Thom Eberhardt  |  PG |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

Price: $56.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Jeffrey Jones, Lysette Anthony, Paul Freeman
  • Directors: Thom Eberhardt
  • Writers: Gary Murphy, Larry Strawther
  • Producers: Ben Moses, Diana Buckhantz, Marc Stirdivant
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • 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: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00015HVN8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,382 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Without a Clue" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Without a Clue is an underrated comedy featuring stellar teamwork by two great actors, Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley. This Sherlock Holmes pastiche with a twist stars Kingsley as physician, writer, and self-effacing super-sleuth Dr. John Watson, who channels his genius for deduction into lucrative stories about Holmes. Watson wants the world to believe the fictional private eye actually exists, posing a problem when a steady stream of troubled souls come seeking Holmes's help. The doctor's prescription: hire a two-bit, drunken, skirt-chasing actor (Caine) to portray the Great Detective, an arrangement that causes Watson consternation whenever "Holmes" tries to improvise his way through a case. Wonderful comic timing and tension make Without a Clue a delight; Caine, particularly, gets a lot of mileage out of the faux Holmes's grand efforts to appear a genius. Henry Mancini's score adds a touch of old Hollywood gloss, and Thom Eberhardt (Night of the Comet) directs. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Suppose for a moment that Dr. Watson was the real brains behind Sherlock Holmes? The result is anything but elementary! Academy AwardÂ(r) winners* Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley deliver stellar performances as a delightful duo, an 1890s Odd Couple (Los Angeles Times) in this madcapmystery that's 'the most hilarious Sherlock Holmes adventure of them all ('sneak Previews )! Dr. John Watson (Kingsley) is secretly a crime-solving genius. But to protect his reputation as a physician, he hires bumbling, boozy, out-of-work actor Reginald Kincaid (Caine) to play the part of his fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes. The charade works until Watson mysteriously disappears, forcing the baffled, seriously inept Holmes to crack the biggest case of Watson's career on his own! *Caine: Supporting Actor, The Cider House Rules (1999); Supporting Actor, Hannah and Her Sisters (1986); Kingsley: Actor, Gandhi (1982)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I've got it! His real name is Arty-Morti!" March 12, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Without a Clue (1988) poses an interesting and humorous take on the Sherlock Holmes mythos created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The film asks what if the character of Sherlock Holmes was truly a fictional character created by Doctor Watson, and is played by an actor, with Watson being the actual mastermind behind solving the various cases and crimes?

In the film, Ben Kingsley plays Doctor Watson, the man behind the deductive and crime solving skills of his fictional character, Sherlock Holmes. For reasons that are revealed within the movie, Watson was not able to take credit for solving his first caper, so he invented the character of Sherlock Holmes, but soon found his creation was in great demand, so he hired an actor, Reginald Kincaid (Michael Caine) to play the part of the detective while Watson stayed in the background continuing to be the 'brains' of the operation. Only problem is Reginald Kincaid is a buffoonish, womanizing, gambling, drunkard, and unable to, as he put it, '...detect horse manure if he stepped in it.' After a falling out, Doctor Watson fires Kincaid, and decides to go it alone as 'The Crime Doctor'. Guess what? The legend of Holmes has grown so large and become ensconced so deeply within the public psyche that no one takes Watson seriously, and even his publisher threatens to sue if Watson reveals the truth of the situation publicly. Not only that, but a rather important case involving the financial integrity of the British Empire has surfaced, one involving the nefarious Professor Moriarty, and Holmes is the only man for the job. Watson finds himself in the humbling position of bringing Kincaid back for what will be one last performance.
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Sherlock Holmes" Movie With a Twist August 24, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
You don't have to be an avid reader of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories to enjoy "Without a Clue". If you are at all familiar with this legendary character, you will most likely enjoy this fun, tongue-in-cheek look at what it would be like if Holmes was actually the apprentice of Watson. Michael Caine plays the role of a down-on-his luck actor who is hired by Dr. Watson (Ben Kingsley) to play the role of the greatest Detective the world has ever seen (Sherlock Holmes). The only trouble is, "Holmes" can't seem to stop his drinking, gambling, and womanizing; nor does he have a shred of deductive reasoning skills. The story is clever and original, and the performances are fabulous. Michael Caine plays the loveable doofus to perfection and Ben Kingsley wonderfully displays Watson's constant frustrations at Caine's ineptness. The movie is fun, good natured, and genuinely funny. It's a shame it wasn't well received by audiences when it was released in 1988 (I actually remember seeing it in the theater). I would highly recommend this movie.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Funny Holmes Pastiche, Worth Having October 18, 2004
Dr. Watson has a problem. He's always been the brains behind Sherlock Holmes, a fictional character he dreamed up as cover for the cases he has solved. He even hired a third-rate ham actor, Reginald Kincaid, to impersonate Holmes. But now he's fed up with the fatuous dimwit Kincaid whom everyone is fascinated by and who seems to believe his own notices. He longs to be known as John Watson, Crime Doctor, and to receive the recognition due him for his amazing deductive powers.

That's the set up, and it's a funny one, especially with two first-rate actors as Ben Kingsley playing Watson and Michael Caine playing Kincaid. Watson finally boots out Kincaid and decides to solve a case as himself...but no one is prepared to take Dr. Watson seriously as a detective, even his publisher. Plates for 5-pound notes are stolen from the Royal Mint, the powers of England want Holmes on the case, Watson finds he may need Kincaid after all, and the game's afoot.

Caine makes a spectacular dimwit who finally and inadvertently comes through. Kingsley combines frustration and resentment in a performance that is funny and believable. They both learn something about friendship.

The movie has its weaknesses. It goes on a bit, the climax is workmanlike, and it's essentially a one-joke premise. It still, however, is a very nice, amusing movie, especially if you're a fan of Holmes pastiches. If you're stuffy about Holmes and the sacred canon, well, you may not find this suitable. I thought it was great fun.

The DVD transfer is nothing special but good enough.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a delight! July 1, 2004
Although I'm a lover of Sherlock Holmes movies, I almost missed this gem. Everything about this film was wonderful, particularly the tremendous performances by Caine and Kingsley. You can see they're having fun with it every scene, and I loved being along for the ride.
The script is intelligent and witty, without getting goofy or slapstick. The plot is hilarious yet holds together as a "mystery" (kind of...). It is totally devoid of the offensive language that plagues so many movies, making it a great family fun flick (but it's NOT at all juvenile).
I just wish they'd made a series of these films -- I didn't want it to end.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ben Kingsley does comedy September 4, 2004
You might think of Ben Kingsley wearing a diaper as Gandhi, or as a villain in various roles (playing Meyer Lansky in _Bugsy_, Cosmo in _Sneakers_ or as the frightening Don Logan in _Sexy Beast_) but Kingsley can also do comedy, as proven by this film. The central conceit of this film is that John H. Watson, M.D. of the Sherlock Holmes stories was actually the detecting genius and that Sherlock Holmes was a fictional creation. Later Watson was forced to hire a drunken actor (played to perfection by Michael Caine) to fill out the role of Holmes for a public that would not accept the talents of "John Watson, the Crime Doctor". The chemisty between Kingsley, playing the tightly wound John Watson, fed up with the fact that his creation has taken center stage and that no one will believe in his talents, and Caine, as the buffoonish actor, receiving the adulation that rightly belongs to Watson is fantastic, as witness the scene where Holmes is recounting the curious case of the Manchurian Mambo ("It was a night like any other, when suddenly a knock came at the door. I opened it and there were these Manchurians, doing a rather festive Caribbean dance...").

The only reason I'm giving this DVD four stars and not five is because it is a panned and scanned print of the original movie and pan and scan sucks. Even so this is still worth seeing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious & Witty. A perfect spoof of Sherlock Holmes
Firstly, the highest praise goes to Gary Murphy and Larry Strawther for writing an absolutely brilliant and entertaining script that while completely lampooning the Holmes... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Robert K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute movie
Enjoyed Without a Clue but I paid too much for it! If you've gotten into Sherlock Holmes lately it's a fun and different one to watch.
Published 5 days ago by Kat
5.0 out of 5 stars underrated
This film is in my personal top ten of all time. Caine is brilliant as Holmes and kingsley is an odd casting choice as Watson he pulls it off beautifully. Read more
Published 1 month ago by john bauman
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie but don't buy this one
I have seen the movie before and it is hilarious and witty with great performances by Caine & Kingsley. BUT DON'T ORDER THIS ONE. It is only playable in the orient. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bobby D. Odom
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun
Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine are brilliant. A very fun movie, with an exciting ending. The banter between Watson and Holmes is splendid.
Published 2 months ago by David Kingsley
1.0 out of 5 stars Region-specific? What's that?
I was not aware that this DVD was a region-specific DVD and that it would not play on the DVD player I have. I was disappointed to learn DVDs are sold in the U.S. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paula Arterburn
5.0 out of 5 stars Very very Funny
I saw this movie long ago and have been looking for it when shopping for DVDs. I finally found it. The story line is very cute and the actors do a great job.
Published 2 months ago by Marco S Terango
1.0 out of 5 stars foreign video wont play. Ad did not mention that
This video is european. It wont play. The return web pages take you in a circle. The ad didnt mention that. I would not have bought it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pete Waters
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD would not play - Wrong Region Code
DVD would not play in my USA player. Error displayed at start as "Wrong Region Code" Movie could not be viewed.
Published 5 months ago by Tim Schiebler
1.0 out of 5 stars Stay away from this seller!!
I feel the seller sold this DVD to me knowing that there was a very high likelihood I would not be able to play It on a DVD player made for the United States. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Margaret Maloney
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