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Sherlock Holmes - The Eligible Bachelor
Sherlock Holmes - The Eligible Bachelor
Actors: Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Rosalie Williams, Geoffrey Beevers, Simon Williams
Director: Peter Hammond
Genres: Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     1hr 44min

A little overextended as a two-hour movie, this installment in Granada Television's long-running Sherlock Holmes series was one of several such feature-length productions made late (1992) in the enterprise. Based on the Si...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Rosalie Williams, Geoffrey Beevers, Simon Williams
Director: Peter Hammond
Creators: David Odd, Paul Griffiths-Davies, Arthur Conan Doyle, T.R. Bowen
Genres: Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Horror, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 02/25/2003
Original Release Date: 02/10/1994
Theatrical Release Date: 02/10/1994
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color
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

Blatant rubbish
kennedy19 | wakefield, ma USA | 01/03/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I am giving this film an extra star out of respect for actors Brett and Hardwicke, and for a few of the looney, arty camera shots that are used to conjure a bizarre tone for this overlong "Sherlock Holmes" story. However, there is good bizarre and there is bad bizarre. Good bizarre, as in other Brett/Holmes films such as "Wisteria Lodge" and "The Golden Pince-Nez," use unusual cinematography to add to the story's fun rather than distract from it. Bad bizarre, such as this mess, has no fun in it to begin with, and falls back on weird, disturbing images to compensate. For many years Jeremy Brett played the great sleuth with neurotic panache in well-made, tight, amusing films that stayed very close to the Conan Doyle stories on which they were made. Unfortunately, in Brett's declining years they put this fine actor in three stinkers ("The Master Blackmailer," "The Last Vampyre," and this, the worst of the lot) that took perfectly good Doyle stories and tried to drag them out to two hour epics by padding them with a lot of extra crap by modern screenwriters, all of whom for some reason decided that late Victorian London should be shown as an extremely squalid place filled with cackling hags, drunks, weird spectacled psychotics, suicidal gays, and Holmes himself going to pieces, sobbing and simpering most unlike the Holmes we all know and love. In keeping with the style of many television films of this era, this one seems jumpy, quick-cut, and random. After several scenes that each last all of five seconds, I begin to wonder where on earth the art of storytelling has gone. This overwrought bummer of a movie is best forgotten, and those wishing to enjoy a great Sherlock Holmes mystery might best go and watch "The Sign of Four," another long, bizarre story that has all the good qualities this one lacks: humor, plot, faithfulness to Doyle, fine production, and a great sleuth."
A masterpiece of the macabre
Marie | San Francisco, CA USA | 12/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This adaptation extends far beyond the boundaries of the story it is based on, The Noble Bachelor. It does so brilliantly, serving as a fascinating character study of Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett), as well as a hallucinatory gothic mystery-drama. Holmes actually ventures off from his religion of rational thinking, to sketch his bizarre dreams. Simultaneously, the background of Lord Robert (the eligible bachelor), Hetty, Maude, Helena and Flora unfolds. This film is a feast for the senses. Miasmic fog swirls throughout the dirty London streets, drunkards laugh madly with an overlay of dreamy music. Holmes and Watson must cut through the vices of the underbelly of Victorian society in order to find the missing Hetty, release Flora Miller, and expose the evil deeds of the eligible bachelor. Revenge finally reconciles the atrocities, and Holmes discovers the prophetic nature of his dreams. Devotees of Sherlock Holmes and gothic period works will love this film!"
Rewards multiple viewings.
Stephen Triesch | Shoreline/Seattle USA | 01/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film has been slammed by Sherlockian purists, but I think it deserves a second look. Indeed, it REQUIRES a second look due to its obscurity and the numerous departures from the original story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I am a fan of David Lynch, so I am perhaps more tolerant of obscurity than the average moviegoer. That kind of tolerance is needed with this movie. In the original Doyle story, the bachelor - Lord St. Simon - is a somewhat sympathetic figure. Here, he is pure evil. And screenwriter T. R. Bowen has introduced other elements - Freudianism, nitemarish dreams, etc. - totally alien to the world of Doyle. And we also see - apart from the controversial elements in the script - a Jeremy Brett in obvious physical decline. All in all, these things combine to make a very dark and eerie movie.

Yet, I think this film has its merits. It is a MOVING film, showing the vulnerability both of Holmes and of his real-life counterpart, Jeremy Brett. There is a sadness to it, a feeling of decline, of death. Yes, you sense that Holmes is close to death. And that, in my mind, adds nobility to Holmes's efforts on behalf of Henrietta Doran, splendidly played by the beautiful Paris Jefferson. (And she is VERY beautiful, almost preternaturally so.)

So an obviously weakened Holmes, disturbed by dreams he cannot understand, an ill and irritable Holmes, gets on his feet and pursues yet another villain. And I would ask the Holmes purists - is that not what Holmes is all about? Is that not the chivalrous Holmes we love? And why can't we love him in his weakness as well as in his strength?

I admit, the film has its shortcomings. It could have been better, less obscure, and the storyline is perhaps a bit more bizarre - and unbelieveable - than it needed to be. But in the end, it is true to Holmes, true to his courage, true to his humanity. I hope that is good enough.
Excellent Mystery/Suspense Film.... and I Actually Stayed Aw
The Wild One | Sugar Moutain (with the barkers and the colored ba | 09/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)


"The Eligible Bachelor" (1993) is Granada Television's adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1892 Sherlock Holmes short story, "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor." Normally, Granada's productions would noted upon by the viewer as being the most faithful interpretations of their source material in existence. However, in this case (as well as with "The Master Blackmailer" and "The Last Vampyre", all three films produced around the same time), producer June Wyndham Davies, who joined on in 1986 for the "Return of Sherlock Holmes" series, decided to take the series in a different direction, ultimately resulting three in only semi-adherent but fully-blown feature length movies based on three of Doyle's less likely and certainly less remarkable short stories.

"The Eligible Bachelor", first aired in February of 1993, was the last of these three "loose" versions. The original story dealt with the simple and brief story of a young, American bride who vanishes shortly after her marriage to a British nobleman. After minimal investigation Holmes' part, it is discovered that the lady ran off with the American boyfriend she believed had been killed in an accident, but who turned up unexpectedly in her wedding congregation. At 105 minutes, the film version was adapted by T.R. Bowen, a veteran of this and other British mystery series, and directed by the always interesting and refreshingly different artist, Peter Hammond, also a veteran of British television, and of whom more will be spoken shortly. The story of the missing American bride is preserved essentially as it originally was, but is augmented--supplanted one even say--by a twisting, and twisted, thread which begins with Sherlock having nightmares and ends with a woman crawling out a pit (of sorts) after several years' imprisonment...

As the film opens, a mad woman is screaming and cackling deleriously while two men carry her out of an insane asylum. She is sedated with chloroform before being driven away in a horse-drawn cart. Following this brief prelude, the story cuts to the streets of London on a grey. rainy, depressing night. Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett, in another exhbition of his unsurpassed interpretation of the world's only "consulting detective") has just closed another case successfully with assistance from his friend, collaborator, and veritable biographer, Dr. John Watson (Edward Hardwicke), but he is surprisingly downcast spirits. After reflecting on the tortured and miserable lives of those behind the walls of a local insane asylum, he returns to 221B Baker Street, and is deeply disturbed the drunks and poor rampant in the streets. Sinking gradually into depression, Holmes is plauged by a repeating nightmare: he sees rooms in a strange building with common objects far out of proportion to one and other; images of himself and Professor Moriarty going over the Riechenbach Falls; flashes of such images as the eye of a tiger and a sharp gardening tool; finally, a woman is emerging from a deep mire or pit of some kind while Holmes sees himself watching from above. The woman is hag-like in appearence, dirty, dressed in rags, and with claw-like fingernails. She reaches out to him, as if in need of assistance to get out of the pit; Holmes feels himself entangled in a mesh of cobwebs, unable, no matter his actions, to escape. It is always at this point in the dream that Holmes awakes.

The images of the hag-woman, tiger, tool, and strange house with disproportionate objects turn out, in an almost Freudian yet strongly satisfying manner, to be clues to the mystery Sherlock is called upon to investigate. Some images even represent events that have happened to characters involved or will happen in the near future.

A number of key characters are involved this mystery, the pieces of which eventually come together in a most unconventional (but, again, strongly satisfying) way, more-or-less before the viewer's eyes:

* Lord Robert St. Simon (Simon Williams) is the titular character, an English nobleman from a well-off family, with a large but run-down ancestoral home and a track record of two prior marriages, one ending in the death of his wife, and the second with a divorce. Now, he is engaged to be married to a young, American woman, Hettie Duran. It turns out, however, that he may not be in any position to do this: he was once badly advised regarding some finnances, and has had monetary troubles ever since, aggravated by his obligation to pay the staff attempting to upkeep the old house, and the fact that some wild animals (including a tiger) are being housed on the grounds, supposedly as a favor to an acquaintance who wants to set up a zoo in the area.

*Hettie Duran (Paris Jefferson) is Lord St. Simon's fiannce, anamored of his perceived wealth, charm, and of his looks. The young American girl knows nothing of St. Simon's finnancial problems. When she disapears, Holmes is called in to investigate.

*Flora Miller (Joanna McCallum) is a local theater actress who, it transpires, had a relationship with Lord St. Simon at one time, although they never married. Rejected by him, she is apparently bitter and vengeful, and turns up at St. Simon's house following the wedding, and shortly before Hettie goes missing,creating a major scene and warning Hettie that she is embarking on a relationship with a dangerous, manipulative, and heartless man. Most put this down to her known alchoholism and bitterness over being abandoned by him.

*. Agnes Northcote (Anna Calder-Marshall) is the sister of St. Simon's SECOND wife, Lady Helena. She sends an anonymous note, "What of ladies Maud and Helena?", and eventually appears in Holmes' consulting rooms during the investigation into the disapearance of Hettie Doran, wearing a black veil to hide her face, apparently in a cue taken from "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger". She claims St. Simon had her sister imprisoned as a lunatic to end their marriage, but she knows her sister is not insane. She also believes, based on a visit to the asylum, that St. Simon replaced her sister with an actress and hid Lady Helena away elsehwere following the lunacy act, so he could marry again and gain another bride's money to deal with his monetary woes. Agnes is has scratches across her face from an encounter with the tiger Lord St. Simon keeps, and from a gardener, Thomas Floutier. From the time she relates all this to Holmes, the investigation officially goes two-fold: A) Where is Hettie Doran, and why did she run away?, and B) "What of ladies Maud and Helena?"

T.R. Bowen's impeccable script--imaginative, intricate, suspensful, twisting-- is translated to the screen with exceptional majesty skill and creative vision by director Peter Hammond. Hammond's lighting and angling choices are always interesting, and downright brilliant. Sometimes there's a tilt to the camera here; objects and characters being taken in and of focus with precise and careful timing there; often, objects are positioned just in front of the camera, out of focus and in extreme close up, while the actor performing behind or between the objects is made to be the center of attention. At other points, extreme close-ups of the actors' faces are used for emphasis and dramatic effect. Hammond also delights in playing with shadows, reflections, and any and all sources of light within a room or an environment, as can attested with any of the Holmes productions he has worked on.

Hammond has what one can only describe as a field day creating Holmes' dream: odd, unsteady images float through the troubled detective's subconcious, stretching and shrinking before his "eyes", melding from one intense close-up image to another.There are blurred images of Holmes, and of the hag-creature, reaching up to him with her claws. Visual and audio elements are blended, as mad shrieks and laughter echo in the background and images of Holmes and Moriarty going over the falls fade gradually into the mysterious rooms. In one of the most mesmerizing and memorable images from the dream sequence, the Reichenbach falls morph into what appears to be a waterfall tumbling over a banaster onto the floor of a glistening room with a gold-colored chandelier. As the dream ends, cobwebs literally entangle Holmes in his dream, a great image ending a series of brilliant (and palpably dream-like) ones.

Hammond's direction and visual idiosyncrasies can and do serve the story, as well. As the storyline's rising action works its way to an effective climax--and later, as the falling action builds--all the various characters--Holmes, St. Simon and Hettie, Flora Miller,and Agnes--and their doings, no matter how seemingly trivial, are interwoven in a suspensful and carefully edited manner, with plenty of interesting transitions. This keeps both the viewer and the story going, and allows all the important characters to kept track of as events continue and mysteries gradually emerge for Holmes and Watson to solve.

Peter Hammond's direction, in its every manifestation, helps T.R. Bowen's and characters to take shape and evolve from a great script to an exceptional and superbly accomplished film. Equally brilliant are all the members of the episode cast: Brett's Holmes and Hardwicke's Watson are guaranteed, but the episode cast, too, is one of the series best. Simon Williams makes completely 3-D a character that redefines "double-faced", and Paris Jefferson is equally passionate (as well as beautiful) as Doran, leading to a powerful scene between the two in the ruins of St. Simon's house as she realizes the atrocities and vial crimes this perceived gentleman has committed. Another stand-out would be Anna Calder-Marshall, one Great Britain's greater acting talents. She has worked with Hammond a number of times in the past, and while the extroverted style she often exhibits has occasionally been "too much" in the past, here, given the darkness and compelling melodrama that pervade the film, this style is exactly right for her role as Agnes Northcote. Even when hidden behind her dark veil, she exudes genuine and compelling pent-up emotion. The rest of the cast are excellent, too. Many speak of, not unworthily, of Joanna McCallum's "turn" as Flora Miller, but I would point out also Myles Hoyle, who portrays perfectly the sinister Thomas Floutier, a criminal in league with St. Simon, masquarading as a common gardener. His role is a minimal one, with little enough development adn little enough action, but just with his face--spectacled and devoted several of Hammond's uncommonly intense close-ups--he brings the character to life excellently. He does what is required of him, which makes him a greater actor, one way and another. I might question his range, but when well-cast, he can play a role without arowsing any complaints from me.

When one combines a superb script, diabolically ingenius direction, and one of the strongest casts ever to appear together on television (along with gorgeous locations, and period-faithful sets, wardrobe, props, and dialogues) what does one get? The answer is elementary, my dear Holmes devotee: an excellent, and highly worthy, film, regardless of the leaps and bounds it takes from Doyle's original text.

Sometiems monkeying around works; sometimes it doesn't. In this case it was done so well, so effectively, and so much in the intrest of the story, giving the cast so many strong opportunities to actually ACT, that Granada's is as resoundingly successful an experiment as possible in the world of television productions.

It gets my strongest recomendations...

And I was ACTUALLY AWAKE for the WHOLE THING (isn't that a novel idea?)!