In Billy Wilder's cinematic homage to the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, British stage luminary Robert Stephens plays Holmes, while Colin Blakely is his friend and chronicler Dr. Watson. This self-described "hitherto suppressed and thoroughly fascinating" tale concerns Holmes' search for a missing mining engineer -- a case that may have a far-reaching effect on the national security of England. Along the way, Holmes falls in love for the first time in his life, with enigmatic foreign beauty Gabrielle Valladon (Genevieve Page). In this 1970 film, Wilder emphasizes such then-current topics as homosexuality (notably during the film's prologue) and drug addiction. Christopher Lee, a former screen Holmes himself, has a cameo (minus toupee) as Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes. Heavily re-edited and rearranged both before and after its release, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was a box-office disappointment when it came out in 1970. Since that time, its reputation has grown immeasurably, especially among those lucky enough to have seen a complete print. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
It's always hard for anyone actor to achieve the standards set by Jeremy Brett, but Robert Stephens was better than some. The plot was obvious, but it did have some fun twists and turns. Of course, the British Monachy reigns supreme, but that's what we want anyway.
This was entertaining and had amusing twists and turns to the plot. I consider myself a sophisticated viewer who solves plots, but this unfolds in unpredictable and delightful ways. Christopher Lee plays Sherlock's brother and the DVD extras include a modern-day, much older Lee discussing the movie and how Billy Wilder was perhaps the best director in his career.
Pretty modest, considering cast and director. 'The Seven Percent Solution' is much better of this type - I mean mixing H&W with actual historical characters in a non-Doyle story. This is just OK if yer not too much a purist... but what Holmes n' Watson fan isn't a purist?