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The Royal Scandal
The Royal Scandal
Actor: Matt Frewer; Kenneth Welsh
Director: Rodney Gibbons
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2007     1hr 27min

Based on Arthur Conan Doyle's First Sherlock Holmes Story.


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Movie Details

Actor: Matt Frewer; Kenneth Welsh
Director: Rodney Gibbons
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 04/03/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Frewer's least successful effort
R. C. Walker | Encinitas CA, United States | 03/04/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in at least 3 iconic series of films and TV productions: those of Wontner, Rathbone, and (best of all) Brett. Matt Frewer is known for his rather manic and off-kilter characters and characterizations. We might expect, therefore, that his performance of Holmes might treat the twilit (sic) lands between Baker Street and Bedlam. In this, he doesn't disappoint.

Anyone interested in purchasing this sitem should, however, be aware that it isn't exactly a new issue. It was originally part of a 4-item collection known appropriately as "The Sherlock Holmes Collection". Alas, this appears to be available through Amazon only from resllers and as of this writing at a rather excessive price. However, there are no doubt other sources, including used-DVD outlets (at one of which O secured my copy.

The third film in this collection is the current item, The Royal Scandal. This is actually a melding of "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Bruce Partington Plans" which does no particular favor to either. While some elements of the original plots remain, the resulting mish-mash converts 2 classically designed stories into an overly elaborated pastiche. Irene Adler, whom Holmes forever after referred to as "The Woman", becomes in this version a high-class blackmailer. In the film - not the original - he admires her because she had bested him on an other occasion (involving a sizeable theft). The photograph in question, instead of a relatively innocent formal photo of the King of Bohemia and Irene Adler, is made into a clandestine snapshot of a far more scandalous nature. Holmes is determined to obtain this for his client, now the Crown Prince of Germany, while his brother Mycroft wants to get it for his own purposes.

Holmes does his bit with the preacher disguise at Ms. Adler's house, in the end to no avail. As if Ms. Adler's character were not already sufficiently besmirched, her picture and negative found their way into the possession of Mycroft, who sees to it that the Germans receive copies that merely look like the originals - so, unlike "The King of Bohemia", she is unable to make the noble gesture of revealing her own marriage and promising never to use the photo. We may, I suppose, enjoy the joke on the Germans, inasmuch as the Crown Prince is presumably the future Wilhelm II (and is played that way), who is at the very least a right arrogant b*tch. And Holmes' name gets a bit of blackening by the fact that the film shows him stealing a photo of Irene Adler from her home, rather (as in the story) receiving it from the hands of the King of Bohemia as a reward.

We have here reached the nadir of Frewer's four efforts. Any producer who can trash the good name of Irene Adler and even throw a little soot Holmes' way has certainly got the Tabloid Touch. And it was a clumsy job, with muddled motivations and rampant silliness all around.

My review of the whole collection should be available under that title.
Two Holmes Stories in One Don't Add Up To Much
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 04/20/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Canadian Muse Entertainment's "The Royal Scandal" is the third installment of their Sherlock Holmes series, directed by cinematographer-turned-director Rodney Gibbons and starring Matt Frewer as the world's most famous detective, and Kenneth Welsh as his sidekick Dr. Watson. The company produced three more made-for-movies about Holmes so far with the same stars and director - "The Sign of Four" "The Hound of Baskervilles" and "The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire," but "The Royal Scandal" is probably the most curious entry in the series.

For "The Royal Scandal" is actually amalgam of two short stories by Conan Doyle: "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans." Whatever the intention of mixing them together for one episode, the film is interesting in bringing together two memorable characters in the original's 60 stories - Irene Adler and Mycroft Holmes.

"The Royal Scandal" opens with a German Prince's request to retrieve a compromising photo of him and opera singer Irene Alder (Liliana Komorowska) who is actually a cleverest criminal. Holmes' investigation leads him and his partner Watson into the world of murder and international politics and conspiracies.

Anyone who is not a purist of Holmes canon would find the story a so-so entertainemt with a web of mysteries that keep us guessing even though you notice the plot is in fact a pretty generic one, with familiar plot devices that are seen in novels or films about espionage. The cast do their best, but they can hardly make us care what they do, or what they search.

As turning novels into films involve changes, we should not be too critical of the changes done to the source materials, but the fans of the original would resent the changes done in "The Royal Scandal." I'm not talking about the fact that they mixed two tales. I am talking about the fundamental nature of the characters. It is suggested that Holmes was, or still is, romantically attracted to Irene, and in the flashback he confesses his past events at the opera theater in awkward fashion. Even if the filmmakers ignore one of the original's premises, where for Holmes emotions are enemy to his ultra-rational mind - and they are entitled to change to create new image of the detective, I know - "Max Headroom"'s Matt Frewer is not the best choice to depict Holmes in romantic mood, let alone the best Holmes on screen.

Things do not get better with Mycroft, Sherlock's brother, who is reduced to a bureaucrat you meet in John Le Carre novels. Frankly I don't see the point of bringing in the character of Mycroft after erasing everything intriguing about his personalities such as his superb ability of analysis (as great as Sherlock) and his unique lifestyle. Here in this film he is just an overacting bore, with noting that interest us.

"The Royal Scandal" is not totally awful, but it is still true that it is not for those who have read the original books. Even though you haven't read Conan Doyle you know this is just an average mystery tale, which you would not likely watch again."
Just Do Not Buy It
Andrew Raker | PA | 08/02/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)

"If you want a reason to buy this film, ask yourself, "Do I want to spend $6.00 of my money on a film that is not loyal to any of the Sherlock Holmes stories?" Certainly, this film version would never make it on any market if the names of the characters were changed. Ex: Sherlock Holmes became Bill Smith and Dr. Watson became Dr. Rogers. However, Hallmark plays upon the desire of devoted Sherlockians to purchase every Sherlock Holmes film created.

For the dedicated Sherlockian, I will say that this film combines elements of (1) The Scandal in Bohemia, (2) The Bruce Partington Plans, and (3) the writers imagination after watching too much "Law and Order." An example of imagination is the role Mycroft Holmes plays in the film - acting as Sherlock's foil.

If you want to view Sherlock Holmes films that are somewhat loyal to the original films, purchase the Jeremy Brett version of "The Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Bruce Partington Plans.""