Review: ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’

Billy Wilder's enterprise is a strange one because of its shift in directions from quite good satire to straight spy stuff. It is in large part old-fashioned, in that it's mile-wide and ancient-history Sherlock Holmes, but it's also handsomely produced and directed with incisiveness by Wilder.

Billy Wilder’s enterprise is a strange one because of its shift in directions from quite good satire to straight spy stuff. It is in large part old-fashioned, in that it’s mile-wide and ancient-history Sherlock Holmes, but it’s also handsomely produced and directed with incisiveness by Wilder.

Robert Stephens is the detective consultant, the man from Baker Street who fakes a story about his being not all masculine to duck out on an assignment from a Russian ballerina. But is he really faking? Stephens plays Sherlock in rather gay fashion under Wilder’s tongue-in-cheek direction. Colin Blakely is Dr John H. Watson; a performer who plays it broad and bright.

The dialog is crisp and amusing, Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond having a way with such matters.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

UK

Production

Mirisch/United Artists. Director Billy Wilder; Producer Billy Wilder; Screenplay Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond; Camera Christopher Challis; Editor Ernest Walter; Music Miklos Rozsa; Art Director Alexandre Trauner

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1970. Running time: 125 MIN.

With

Robert Stephens Colin Blakely Genevieve Page Christopher Lee Tomara Toumanova Clive Revill
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