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The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
Actors: Robert Stephens, Irene Handl, Stanley Holloway, Christopher Lee, Geneviève Page
Director: Billy Wilder
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2003     2hr 5min

The acting, photography and score are tops (Leonard Maltin) in this lively satirical homage from seven-time Academy AwardÂ(r) winner* Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard) and his long-time writing partner I.A.L. Diamond (The ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Stephens, Irene Handl, Stanley Holloway, Christopher Lee, Geneviève Page
Director: Billy Wilder
Creators: Christopher G. Challis, Miklos Rozsa
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Billy Wilder, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/15/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1970
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1970
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 5min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

So much was LOST!
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 12/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film is a cult classic and well deserving of that status. It's one of my favourite films and for YEARS we were promised the excised footage would be replaced and we could finally see this marvellous film in the form Billy Wilder meant it to be. Well, I am sure like all fans of the film, we waited with hope that NOW they would include all these scenes. And while the film transfer is great and I was sad to see there is NO footage to speak of to be added. There are snippets of film of other adventures, stills flashed over a poor soundtrack, but according to MGM there is no extra scenes, they have been lost.WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!The film is still a must for Billy Wilder, Robert Stephens, Chris Lee or Sherlock Holmes Fans. But just do not expect all the lost footage to be restored.It is a very very funny look at Holmes, a more human look perhaps. This is a mirthful look at the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, lovingly portrayed with a twinkle in his eye by the late great Sir Robert Stephens. The adventures are fun (the ones we see) but mainly centre around a woman's missing husband. Toss in several hundred canaries, the Loch Ness Monster, missing midgets - the Tumbling Pickaloes to be precise - the mysterious red runner, Queen Victoria, some Trappist monks, an ageing ballerina that does not 'look 39' - that is because she is 49!! -who wants Holmes to father her child and an amnesiac damsel in distress that temps Holmes, all done with the best British wit and droll sense of humour...and you have a mix that cannot miss.Incisive writing and direction, this fill pay homage to Holmes and Watson, with tongue firmly planted in cheek...Even so, the currently version is a true gem, and so overlooked,
all we have left of Billy Wilder genius vision."
70's Masterpiece finally available on DVD
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's a sad commentary on the films featuring Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, that two of my favorites have nothing to do with Doyle at all. The first is They Might Be Giants (with Joanne Woodard a woman named Watson and George C. Scott as a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes) and Billy Wilder's late period masterpiece. Stuffed with Wilder's characteristic cynical wit, sophisticated dialog and outstanding performances The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes has been out of circulation for too long.MGM's terrific reissue features a number of extras that make this edition worth waiting for. While it doesn't have the cut scenes reintegrated into the film, it does feature a deleted scenes gallery that suggests how the film might have been had it not been butchered prior to general release. Sadly, there's much missing from this "lost" footage and, as a result, we don't get a restoration as much as a "recreation" with bits and pieces and script segments.While this isn't the best transfer I've seen, the overall look is still pretty good. Yes, the look of the film is a bit washed out (not sure if that's due to the transfer or film stock but, knowing about the instability of film stock and less than pristine storage conditions many of these films were kept in, I'd vote for negative deterioation)but it is presented in its original aspect ratio. The overall presentation is quite good considering what MGM had to work with and, barring a restoration by someone like Robert Harris, this is probably the best version we'll ever see.Christopher Lee shines during his brief screen time as Holmes brother. Lee did eventually get to play Holmes as well so it's rather funny to see him playing Holmes brother (after also playing Baskerville in Terry Fisher's Hound of the Baskervilles). Robert Stephens IS Holmes in this film. He lives and breathes the character in ways that Rathbone and others never quite did. I've seen some criticism of Colin Blakely's Watson here but find it to be little more than critcial bluster. Blakely's take on Watson manages to both tip the hat to Nigel Bruce and satirize the way the character was emasculated in most of the film adaptions of Doyle's work.Oh, I'd like to add The Seven Percent Solution to my list of great Holmes adventures not written by Doyle but, sadly, it isn't available in widescreen(at least I haven't been able to find it) on DVD."
Billy Wilder is a wonderful director, after all . . .
Matthew Patton | 05/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Why a mess like IRMA LA DOUCE makes a profit and a lovely film like this sinks without a trace is a mystery bigger than anything on display in this "lost" case of Sherlock Holmes, which involves the Truth About The Loch Ness Monster, some very sinister monks, and a lovely woman (Genvieve Page) who drags Holmes into the middle of it all (Well, she does show up on his doorstep stark naked in the middle of night. What's a gentleman, even one who's a bit of a misogynist, supposed to do?). Robert Stephens brings wit, melancholy, and anger to the role, keeping all of these elements of Holmes' personality at play simultaneously, and he is matched splendidly by Colin Blakely's Dr. Watson, who's smarter than Nigel Bruce's Watson and more fun than Conan Doyle's. Page is poised, charming, and ambiguous as the heroine, just the sort of girl to hold Holme's interest. There's also a wonderful supporting performance by Christopher Lee as Holmes' brother Mycroft, a sputtering mixture of affection and aggravation for his impetuous younger brother. And all of this is played against the backround of a splendid score by Miklos Rosza, adapted from his Second Violin Concerto (even if you don't like the movie, try and get a recording of the music). Just when movies like KISS ME, STUPID and THE FORTUNE COOKIE make you wonder if Wilder ever knew what he was doing, along comes a film like this, which reminds you that yes, he knew EXACTLY what he was doing--some of the time, at any rate . . ."
Very entertaining film
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 01/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Boasting an excellent cast (including Christopher Lee of former Dracula and current Lord of the Rings fame), this 1970 film directed by none other than Billy Wilder engages the redoubtable Sherlock Holmes (well played by Robert Stephens) in a complex tale involving midgets, canaries, Trappist monks, the Loch Ness monster, a beautiful widow, a top secret government project, and a very stuffy Queen Victoria--among other items. Also included are a haughty Russian ballerina, a Stradivarius violin, Sherlock's supercilious but wickedly intelligent brother Mycroft, hints of sexual deviance, and a drunken Dr. Watson. Oh yes, and let's not forget a woman in a wheelchair, a signalling parasol, and a Scottish castle under construction.Put these all together and you get a devilishly entertaining film shot through with Holmes' mordant wit (for which Watson is the perfect foil), and, as well, with his keen intelligence. The only (minor) flaw I found was how it was that Holmes was not able to decipher the real identity of a critical personage in the tale; that person's real identity was supplied by someone other than Sherlock, which was very surprising. Nevertheless, this is a great film that never bores. Laughter, thrills, and puzzles abound.Colin Blakely is Dr. Watson--to a T. The remaining supporting cast is equally fine. A shame this is not yet on DVD. Perhaps someday....Highly recommended."