A defiantly retro item from a onetime Oscar winner (for 1982′s “Begin the Beguine”), helmer Jose Luis Garci’s “Holmes & Watson: Madrid Days” has little going for it except curiosity value. Sending the sleuth to Spain to investigate the crimes of a Jack the Ripper copycat, the pic features interesting ideas, and reps a decent homage to classical Hollywood cinema, but dramatically, it’s cardboard. Appeal will be limited to Garci die-hards, of whom more than a few remain.Pic is a giddy blend of mystery, melodrama, social critique and tourist-board ad. Holmes (Gary Piquer) is in an insecure relationship with opera singer Irene Adler (Belen Lopez), while Watson (Jose Luis Garcia Perez) is a shameless womanizer. In Madrid, they embark on a manhunt that takes them, self-importantly declaiming and chortling as they go, via several political intrigues to a limp conclusion. “Madrid Days” is most interesting for the parallels it draws between then and now, and for a couple of lively perfs, especially from Enrique Villen as an earthy detective. Inevitable language issues involving these Spanish-speaking Englishmen are inelegantly handled, but decor and detail from Gil Parrondo are impeccable.
An Alta Classics release of a Nickel Odeon Dos, Dehesilla De Garcinarro production with the participation of TVE, Telemadrid. (International sales: Nickel Odeon Dos, Madrid.) Produced by Jose Luis Garci. Executive producers, Juan Carmona, Carlos Ruiz-Jarabo, Jose Alberto Sanchez. Directed, edited by Jose Luis Garci. Screenplay, Garci, Andrea Tenuta, Maria Sanroman.
Camera (color), Javier Palacios; music, Pablo Cervantes; art director, Julian Mateos; set decorator, Gil Parrondo; costume designer Lourdes de Orduna; sound (Dolby Digital), Manuel Rojas. Reviewed at Cines Princesa, Madrid, Sept. 13, 2012. Running time: 132 MIN.
Gary Piquer, Jose Luis Garcia Perez, Belen Lopez, Victor Clavijo, Enrique Villen, Manuela Velasco, Macarena Gomez, Manuel Tejada, Leticia Dolera. (Spanish, English, French dialogue)