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The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes [DVD]

Robert Stephens , Christopher Lee , Billy Wilder    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: £5.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes [DVD] + Without A Clue [DVD] + The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother [1975] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Robert Stephens, Christopher Lee, Colin Blakely, Geneviève Page, Tamara Toumanova
  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Writers: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Producers: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, French, Russian
  • Subtitles: French
  • Dubbed: German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Jun 2004
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Y9YM0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,577 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Sherlock Holmes' pursuit of a missing husband provides the pretext to explore sides of the sleuth's character which have remained hitherto unexplored in filmed versions of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. Robert Stephens plays Holmes as a troubled man, addicted to cocaine and unsure about his sexuality.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so much was lost! 22 Dec 2003
By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
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, smoke stills flashed over a poor soundtrack, but according to MGM there is no extra scenes, they have been lost.
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.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand even as an edited version 29 Nov 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
This film is sometimes described as a comedy, and while it has humourous bits (a more sardonic and biting form of humour most of the time), it has never really felt at home being classified as a comedy, in my estimation. I do like the rapid-fire wit that Holmes seems to have here (a bit more in abundance than in the canonical Conan Doyle stories), but the Holmes presented here is a bit more dark and brooding, more akin to the extra-canonical 'Seven Percent Solution' Holmes in many ways.
Wilder was an extraordinary director and genius who sometimes gets carried away with his subject (in this regard, he is sometimes compared with Stanley Kubrick). His films are often of epic-proportions, even though they are not essentially 'epic' subjects. This film is reputed to have been nearly twice as long as the final cut version, but this tale may be apocryphal in that the raw footage every made it to final print and production. The restoration available on this disc is, in fact, rather minimal - a few scenes and a few extras, but not much more than the original release of the film. This is disappointing to many fans, but in fact is more than most of us have had for a long time, as the somewhat choppy film was often mercilessly cut for television broadcast.
Holmes in this case is played by Robert Stephens, an unlikely Holmes in comparison to standards such as Rathbone, Brett, or Gillette, but still an interesting choice - quintessentially British, reserved but daring, brilliant yet flawed and faltering. Colin Blakely presents a stronger Watson than often portrayed before (this film, being made in 1970, presented this as a newer idea for Watson, one that has been picked up by many subsequent productions).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
A long-time dream project for Billy Wilder, beginning life as a musical, going through several years of rewrites and casting proposals - at one point even a vehicle for Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers until the director found both impossible to make a deal with - before going into production as a hugely expensive $10m budgeted three-hour plus roadshow picture only to be cut down to little over two hours when exhibitors refused to book the uncut version, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is something of a legend in itself. The whereabouts of all the elements for a full restoration has long defied the finest minds in film restoration, adding a layer of mystique and what-if? to the film's reputation.

The best way to watch The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is to forget what could have been and marvel at what is left. For all its problems, even in the heavily cut version that was eventually released, this is one of Billy Wilder's greatest and certainly most heartfelt achievements - and a pretty good yarn as well, throwing missing dwarves, dead canaries, Trappist monks, Swan Lake, Sherlock's mysterious brother Mycroft, Queen Victoria and the Loch Ness Monster into the mix, as well as an amnesiac woman who rouses more than Holmes' professional curiosity, to tragic results.

Throughout, Wilder presents a much less self-assured vision of the great detective than had been seen before. In the opening scene he castigates Watson for the expectations the Doctor's stories in Strand Magazine have instilled in the public, and the film proceeds to ultimately explore that painful gap between expectations and reality with no mercy to the character's feelings but much compassion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
One of my all time favourite films.
Published 11 days ago by Charles
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Most enjoyable. Thank you. DjW
Published 1 month ago by Douglas J. Warth
4.0 out of 5 stars so it must be a good film for me to buy it as not really ...
Haven't watched it yet but can remember it from the 1970's, so it must be a good film for me to buy it as not really a fan of 70's films.
Published 1 month ago by Jane Whitfield
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 months ago by MICHAEL LOWSLEY-WILLIAMS
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPER SLEUTH
One of my favourite Sherlock Holmes films . DVD arrived when expected quality of film and sound perfect. Read more
Published 5 months ago by ivbo
5.0 out of 5 stars I Like this
Yes -another one I have kept for the shelf and will look at again - I like it as an added variation to the various portrayals of Sherlock and Watson
Published 5 months ago by silverarm
1.0 out of 5 stars Very good
I bought this DVD for my husband - and he was very pleased with it.
No problems.
Swift and secure delivery.
Published 7 months ago by Judith Hardy
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't fault the DVDs
The picture quality of these BluRay DVD's is excellent - far better than I expected. I've only watched the first one so far but there's a night sequence on the Thames which I... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jan Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars The Games a Foot.
This film is a triumph. As both a parody of Holmes and the British way of life it is indispensable. The late Sir Robert Stevens portrays Homes and he does it very well, there is a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by barry waterfield
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting film but poor DVD conversion
If there is a film crying out for extras, this is it. There are none - not even a trailer.

It is also in sore need of restoration. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dr Praetorius
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