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.