It's "Sheer-luck" That This is Being Released on DVD!!
E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 01/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While some have ridiculed this Sherlock Holmes' parody, I love it and rejoice at its long-awaited DVD release. Made in 1975, funny man Gene wilder wrote, directed and starred in the film, which also boasts the incomparable talents of the late and truly lamented Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman. It also stars Dom DeLuise and Leo (Rumpole of the Bailey) McKern.
Wilder, a well-schooled actor in parodies having starred earlier in his career with Kahn and Feldman in Mel Brooks' classic and beloved "Young Frankenstein," turned is considerable skills to create this loving send-up of the world's most famous sleuth. Wilder was well-equipped to do so as he is a life-long Conan Doyle fan and bonafide member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a famous real-life Sherlockian scholarly society whose members include Christopher Morley. (In this film, Brooks has a cameo role, but he is heard and not seen.)
In this Victorian era film, Wilder portrays Sigerson Holmes, the "smarter" but very jealous younger brother of the brilliant Consulting Detective, whom he derisively refers to as "Sheer-luck." (In the Conan Doyle canon, "Sigerson" was an alias Sherlock Holmes used during his "missing years" after his falsely believed death-plunge at the Richenback Falls at the hands of his evil nemesis, Professor James Moriarty; while Mycroft Holmes was actually Sherlock's smarter brother.)
In the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, Sigerson begins an investigation, at the request of Sherlock, into the disappearance of a vital cache of government documents. Sherlock and Dr. John Watson leave England to travel to the Continent on another assignment, apparently confounded by the missing document mystery.
Kahn, who in her life was a classically trained singer, was given the opportunity to showcase her impressive vocal talents as Jenny Hill/Bessie Underwood/Opera singer, a compulsive liar and Sigerson's love interest. The film is well worth watching if for nothing else than a zany drawing room musical scene when Sigerson and Jenny first meet, which culminates in the truly unforgettable, "Kangaroo Hop."
Feldman is Sigerson's Watson, Sgt. Orville Sacker of Scotland Yard who possesses "photographic hearing," and who, along with Jenny, help Sigerson recover the documents and thwart Moriarty (with some invaluable behind-the-scenes assistance from Sherlock Holmes!)
McKern is wonderfully evil as the new Moriarty, while DeLuise is a bumbling blackmailer.
This film is fun, wacky, sweet and very off-beat. Kudos to Wilder for choosing to enlist his old partners Kahn and Feldman, providing yet another permanent chapter in their unforgettable and immortal careers!"
Wilder & Company's Hysterical Homage to Sherlock Holmes
Robert W. Jacoby | El Cajon, California United States | 07/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gene Wilder's "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" has a unique snap & sparkle, with a thread of insanity, that makes it one of my favorite film comedies. While very funny and often irreverant, the film pays affectionate tribute to the wonderful Conan Doyle franchise of Holmes' stories. It is also well-produced, with brooding photography and honest depictions of period London settings. But perhaps the best thing about "Holmes' Smarter Brother" is its zany cast, from Marty Feldman, Madelaine Kahn and Wilder himself, to wonderfully crazed performances by Leo McKern as the infamous Dr. Moriarty and Dom DeLuis as a bizarrely-affected opera impressario. This film is first rate FUN and should become a classic in the comedic vein of Mel Brooks'"Young Frankenstein", "Blazing Saddles" and "High Anxiety". I highly recommend "Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" and hope we can all soon add it to our DVD collections."
Gene Wilder's Funniest Movie
Julie S. Robertson | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 03/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is by far Gene Wilder's funniest movie. I can't believe that the studios haven't released this on DVD yet. I have never laughed so hard as I did watching this film. If you like The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, you will go nuts for The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother. I have been waiting not so patiently for Amazon to notify me that it is out on DVD. HURRY, Please!"
Classic Gene Wilder
Julie S. Robertson | 04/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you love Gene Wilder, this movie is a must see. I saw it when it first came out and then again last year. This is one of the funniest movies ever made. I looked for it everywhere last year, and finally saw it on some movie channel. This has to be on DVD! I hope the studio who has the rights comes to their senses!"
A lost gem
Kurt Wieland | Seattle, WA USA | 04/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like "Young Frankenstein", "The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" is a knowing and affectionate spoof. It does not set out to destroy its target, but to show appreciation for it. Wilder, a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, shows his knowledge of Holmsian lore by including many references and quotations from a number of the stories, though mostly from "The Naval Treaty." Wilder, Kahn and Feldman are once again a wonderful, cohesive trio, Dom DeLuis is a riot as a bizarre and untalented opera singer, and Leo McKern shows both utter strangeness and menace in his role as Moriarty. The film has moments of total manic humor, such as spontaneous singing ("The Kangaroo Hop"); Wilder and guest villain Roy Kinnear having a coach-top battle with a giant shoe and glove taken from businesses they pass; and a hilarious spoof of the opera, "The Masked Ball" with very funny English "translation" from the Italian. McKern and Wilders' final duel in a spooky prop room is genuinely exciting and nicely choreographed and the film perfectly captures the look and sounds of 1890s England, with a nice John Morris music score evoking Korngold, as Wilder wanted him to do. Everyone clearly had a good time making this film and it shows in the enthusiasm for the material. The film is not out-and-out funny all the way through, but it wasn't designed to be. At the end, for example, there is a genuinely poignant scene where Sigi has Sacker leave the sought-after Redcliff document in the prop room, clearly realizing that his famous older brother has been watching out for him and will retrieve the document himself. The elder Holmes later plays some violin music to bring Sigi and Jenny back together, and Wilder's look tells us he realizes the old fiddle player is really his older, despised brother. Wilder's commentary at times is insightful, at other times, he doesn't have much to say. I wanted more behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the production; in the final duel between Holmes and Moriarty, I wanted to know how they created the very effective forced-perspective shot of the wharves below the opera house, making it appear as if the fighters were many floors above the river. I have great affection for this movie, as both a Sherlock Holmes fan and someone who appreciates Gene Wilder's talent. This is a lost gem, finally available to enjoy again. If you can watch Roy Kinnear hail a taxi with a four-foot-long glove on his hand without laughing, there is no hope for you! And don't forget to drink some sexy wine while you enjoy this film."