The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes

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Released 1970

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Movie Summary

Director:
Billy Wilder
Released:
1970
Rating:
PG-13

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a 1970 film starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely in an unconventional but highly satisfying Sherlock Holmes adventure which falls into two parts. Holmes may be the greatest detective in the history of mankind, but why is he so aloof from women? While he can piece together the most obscure clues and decipher the toughest mysteries, his personal life remains a secret. This lavish film, directed by Billy Wilder, was initially a box-office flop, but has deservedly attained classic status.

Robert Stephens

Robert Stephens

Sherlock Holmes

Colin Blakely

Colin Blakely

Dr. John H. Watson

Genevieve Page

Genevieve Page

Gabrielle Valladon

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee

Mycroft Holmes

Clive Revill

Clive Revill

Nicolai Rogozhin

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Billy Wilder had wanted for many years to make a film about Sherlock Holmes, but not simply to adapt one of the original Conan Doyle stories. He originally announced the film around the mid-1960s, with Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers named for the roles of Holmes and Watson. At one point, the English playwright and barrister John Mortimer worked on the script, though none of his contributions made it into the final film. The storyline was changed several times before the script was finalised.

    • The part of Dr. Watson was originally to have been played by Richard Attenborough. It was at the suggestion of Robert Stephens that Colin Blakely was hired when Attenborough dropped out; the two actors had worked together with great success on stage in the original production of Peter Shaffer's "The Royal Hunt Of The Sun".

    • Billy Wilder originally planned this as a three-hour roadshow presentation, telling four new Sherlock Holmes stories linked by theme; but preview audiences were not responsive and complained of the film being too long, so he shortened it to its present length of 125 minutes.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Mycroft Holmes: [explaining the truth to his brother]: Am I going too fast for the best brain in England?

    • Scottish Gravedigger: If you want a holiday in Scotland, then go to Loch Lomond or Holy Loch - but keep away from Loch Ness!

    • Sherlock Holmes: [rejecting a request from a circus owner to find six missing midgets]: He offers me five pounds. That's less than a pound a midget!

    • Dr. Watson: [hearing the doorbell very late at night]: Could Mrs. Hudson be entertaining?
      Sherlock Holmes: I have never found her so.

    • Dr. Watson: [finding a naked woman in Sherlock Holmes's bedroom]: If I didn't know you better, I might almost think you'd taken advantage of her.
      Sherlock Holmes: I did take advantage of her. And, if you must know, I found her body quite rewarding...
      Dr. Watson: [shocked]: You cad!
      Sherlock Holmes: ...especially the palm of her left hand.

    • Sherlock Holmes: We all have our occasional failures. Fortunately, Dr. Watson never writes about mine.

    • Sherlock Holmes: [to landlady]: Murderers are like head-colds, Mrs. Hudson. You never quite know when you're going to catch one.

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are seen attending a performance by the Imperial Russian Ballet in London in 1887. However, the ballet they are watching is Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, which was not actually performed in London until 1910.

More Info About This Movie

Categories

Comedy, Drama

Themes

Crime, Classics