Gene Wilder joins Mel Brooks in that elusive pantheon of madcap humor, by virtue of Wilder’s script, title characterization and directorial debut, all of which are outstanding.
Wilder’s script sends the famous Holmes (played by Douglas Wilmer) and Dr Watson (Thorley Walters) ostensibly out of England, in order to fool Prof Moriarty (Leo McKern). Latter has a plot going with Dom DeLuise, the most unlikely blackmailing opera freak of the season, to obtain some official state papers stolen from nobleman John Le Mesurier.
Holmes’ strategy is to use his younger brother, played by Wilder, as a decoy, backstopped by Feldman, a policeman blessed with a photographic memory. Together, this fearless duo fumbles its way to ultimate success.