Remarkable, intelligent and fun
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 07/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had the great good fortune of watching HANDS OF A MURDERER tonight. I saw it about 10 years ago and remembered enjoying it then, but with the release of the DVD I was able to relive it. An exceptional movie with an interesting plot and nicely played characterization. I recommend it and it was interesting to see the 7 percent solution back.
There was a great line from Hillerman's Watson when he laments that he much preferred the three pint solution to the 7-percent one.
Holmes is obsessed with the search for Prof. Moriarty who has recently escaped the hangman's noose in cavaliar and spectacular style. Holmes obsession even makes him refuse an initial request for help from his brother Mycroft when national security is at stake. It is only when he senses the diabolical mind of Moriarty in the theft of a secret document from Mycrofts safe that Holmes reconsiders and begins his investigation.
Woodward is not the best Holmes and Hillerman is not the best Watson but together they make an interesting team and this movie (made by Granada for British television) is intoxicatingly watchable with well drawn out characterization and some enjoyable (if somewhat predictable twists and turns) - just how does Moriarty manage to eliminate someone in police custody??
This DVD comes well recommended. A treat for every Sherlockian."
"Who would have thought Her Majesty was his biggest fan?"
Larry Bridges | Arlington, MA United States | 07/05/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Who indeed? This so-called Sherlock Holmes mystery is, quite possibly, the single worst film I have ever seen in my entire life. Blandly written, appallingly over- and underacted, and unmemorably directed, "Hands of a Murderer" features such "delights" as a Watson with no personality whatsoever, a Sherlock who is actually stouter than Mycroft, and a laughable denouement.
I also found strange Moriarty's passionate "romance" with his female associate. Since Moriarty is Holmes' mirror image, so to speak, writers should treat his love interests with the same delicacy they would treat Holmes' -- hinting more than revealing, and involving fascinating, intelligent women, not hammily acted hypnotists. Most incredible of all, though, is the moment when Watson refers to Holmes as "Sherlock" -- something he would never, ever do in any book or film written by anyone who had read the Conan Doyle stories with any attention whatsoever.
Edward Woodward (of whom I still have fond memories as "The Equalizer") plays Sherlock Holmes as though the role is a straitjacket pinching him in uncomfortable places, forcing him to walk and talk strangely.
There is one good thing about this film: it has quadrupled my already vast appreciation for the late, great Jeremy Brett."
Could have been better
Lady Blakeney | USA | 08/29/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Hands of a Murderer" was the first Sherlock Holmes adaptation I ever saw (though oddly, it was titled "Sherlock Holmes and the Prince of Crime"). Being around 12 years old at the time, I considered it to be just about the greatest thing ever put on film. Time has jaded me, however, because now I see it as a rather goofy and unimpressive entry. The storyline is decent enough: the evil Professor Moriarty desperately wants to get his hands on a secret code that Holmes' brother Mycroft is protecting. However, it is all carried out with quite a bit of camp. Edward Woodward (Sherlock Holmes) is clearly too old for the role, and, quite frankly, does not much resemble the tall, lean figure of the stories. In addition, he seems to spend much of the film in an oddly grumpy mood, as if he were disturbed from a nap in between takes. John Hillerman's Watson fares little better, delivering his lines in a dreary, sombulent tone. Anthony Andrews (side note: see "The Scarlet Pimpernel" for a GREAT performance) is the only saving grace, and makes a believeable Moriarty, though perhaps a touch too young.
Despite its weaknesses, this film is fun to watch on a lazy or rainy afternoon, and is recommended for collectors of Sherlockiana and/or Holmes on screen. Two stars out of five."