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3.6 out of 5 stars14
3.6 out of 5 stars
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A Study in Terror is directed by James Hill and written by Derek and Donald Ford. Based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, it stars John Neville, Donald Houston, John Fraser, Anthony Quale, Frank Finlay and Adrienne Corri. Music is by John Scott and cinematography by Desmond Dickinson. Out of Compton Films it's an Eastman Color production. Plot pitches intrepid sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Neville) against notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.

On paper it's a filmic match made in heaven, two characters as well known as they are invariably different. One a great work of fiction, the other infamously true and dastardly. Yet the story is flat, not that it doesn't lack for quality in execution, it just lacks any suspense or dramatic verve to fully make it worthy of further visits. Cast are mostly very good, especially Neville, who makes for a lithe and autocratic Holmes, while Alex Vetchinsky's sets are period supreme. The Eastman Color, too, is a plus point, British horror always tended to have a better sheen to it in the Eastman Color lenses, so it be here for the dark deeds played out in Whitechapel, London, 1888. But ultimately, and in spite of it being an intelligent spin on the Ripper legend, story doesn't play out well enough to make it a classic of either the Ripper or Holmes cinema adaptations. 6/10
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on 11 July 2006
A study in terror revolves around Sherlock Holmes up against the infamous Jack the Ripper in the backstreets of Victorian London. A cast of well-known stars including Anthony Quayle, Robert Morley, Frank Finley and stage actor John Neville as the notorious sleuth. The harsh colour and ghostly music adds to the gritty realism of the period. Another similar and maybe more sophisticated movie is Murder by Decree which deals with pretty much the same plot but delves deeper into the workings of the Masonic conspiracies. A good transfer onto DVD including the original theatrical trailer makes this a recommended purchase.
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on 23 February 2012
this is easily my favourite ripper film,its not in anyway factual but is the most enjoyable film of this kind.a good cast and good story with a brilliant ending put this movie top of my list,babs windsor is great and a bumbling watson is enjoyable to watch.this is a must have dvd for horror fans of the classic kind,its not cheap to buy but worth every penny.
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A Study in Terror was Sherlock Holmes' first big screen encounter with Jack the Ripper - they would lock horns again a couple of decades later in the much better Murder by Decree - but its one that adds up to rather less than the talents involved would lead you to suspect. Coming from exploitation producer Herman Cohen, he of such gems as I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Konga, the biggest surprise is that it isn't called I Was a Teenage Consulting Detective. It's a surprisingly elegant production which plays down most of the potential for cheap thrills (though it does hype up the murders with trailer-friendly lines like "You'll never see anything like it this side of Hell") and looks like it's had a more than its fairly modest £160,000 budget spent on it, not least due to some gorgeously rich Eastmancolour photography that exploits the various studio backlots and standing sets economically pressed into service. It's less concerned with historical accuracy or offering a solution that stands up to much scrutiny and it's not exactly a taxing mystery, more of a watchable programmer.

John Neville was a fine actor but is a strangely anonymous Holmes on first acquaintance, though his performance grows on you with subsequent viewings (he would be much closer in spirit in his guest starring role as a Joseph Bell-like doctor in ITV's The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes a few years later) while Donald Houston makes an easily pleased Watson, overdoing the delighted hero-worshipping schoolboy act at times. The supporting cast fare rather better: John Fraser as a likeable aristocrat, Robert Morley as a properly corpulent Mycroft Holmes, Barbara Windsor, Adrienne Corri and Edina Ronay as ladies of the night, Cecil Parker as the Prime Minister, while two actors from Murder by Decree also appear, Frank Finlay making a decent job of Inspector Lestrade as he would in the later film, and Anthony Quayle as a charitable East End doctor (with a young Judi Dench as his daughter). There's also the odd tongue-in-cheek touch in the script: just as John Cutts would later name a character Frau Reichenbach in Sherlock Holmes in New York so he could include the stage direction `Reichenbach falls,' here Peter Carsten's composed thug is called Max Steiner.

James Hill's direction has its moments of imagination, particularly a murder in a horse trough shown from the submerged victim's point of view, there's a neat bit of deduction involving a medical bag and the makeup department provide Holmes with one good disguise. Ultimately it's nothing special, but there are certainly worse non-canon Holmes movies out there.

Where the UK DVD is a disappointing fullframe transfer, the Australian PAL DVD and the NTSC manufactured on demand DVD-R from Sony offer the film in its original widescreen ratio, while Odeon's region-free Blu-ray release offers an excellent widescreen transfer with the original trailer.
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on 3 February 2014
Many people might find this film a little slow and timid by modern standards. However, people who like Hammer style horror should enjoy this film. There are decent performances from the main cast ( Barbara Windsor aside) and a good plot. Worth buying for a bit of old fashioned horror.
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on 15 June 2013
A good Holmes story, with an interesting plot and Played well by John Neville.
On this U.S. import the picture is presented in the right format and is good quality.
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on 21 April 2012
The characters are well-rounded and entertaining, the plot is interesting and the film very well put together. Starring the ever popular sherlock holmes, 4 stars!
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on 8 June 2008
Far inferior to Bob Clark's later Murder By Decree (1979), this first cinematic attempt to pit Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper is a reasonably entertaining horror thriller in its own right, but is let down by an unimaginative plot and the rather too broad playing of the lead actors. Compared to the deadly straight team of Peter Cushing and Andre Morell, Holmes and Watson in the Hammer version of The Hound of the Baskervilles made just a few years earlier, John Neville and Donald Houston play the central roles with their tongues firmly in their cheeks. Though he looks the part when kitted out in his stereotypical deerstalker-and-Inverness cape combination, Neville's garrulous mincer is a far less charismatic figure than we would usually expect the Great Detective to be, whilst Houston unfortunately gives a sub-Nigel Bruce interpretation of Watson, his flamboyant pomposity unsuited to the supposedly grim subject matter of the story. This is further undermined by the far from realistic representation of Victorian London, which is here a jolly toff's playground full of raucous tavern sing-alongs and buxom, well-scrubbed ladies of the night like Edina Ronay and Barbara Windsor, whilst the Ripper's frequent appearances were clearly the primary inspiration for The Two Ronnies' Phantom Raspberry Blower.
In an excellent supporting turn, Robert Morley gives the movie a physically spot-on Mycroft Holmes (the first time the character had ever appeared on screen), but the best performance in the film comes from Anthony Quayle in the small role of Dr. Murray; by this point in his career a veteran of well-regarded epics like Lawrence of Arabia and The Guns of Navarone, he's the biggest star name in the film and justly dominates every scene he's in. Also featuring a small, early part for the now BAFTA-worshipped `golden girl' Judi Dench, a improbably jazzy score, and a couple of surprisingly bloody deaths, A Study in Terror is a long way from being the definitive `Holmes vs. the Ripper' story, but is a decent enough way to pass an hour and a half.
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on 20 November 2003
Sherlock is hot on the trail of Jack the Ripper. The likely suspects are all gradually eliminated until the final blazing confrontation. The director of this movie has created a true work of brilliance. Never have the sights, sounds and eeriness of a dark, dingy and smog filled London been depicted so authentically in a movie. There is a gritty realism thoughout that is superbly supported by a pompous Holmes/Watson combination. All the sets are terrific as are the performances. Perhaps the plot could have been deeper but this is a minor criticism which just prevents a 5/5. This film shines because of the exceptional recreation of a time and a place long since lost to progress. This is a must see if you like atmosphere and realism.
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on 26 August 2010
The 'Fiend' is on the foggy streets of Whitechapel, dispatching harlots aplenty. Who can stop him? Enter Holmes & Watson!

I love this film. John Neville makes for an excellent Holmes - serious, with a hint of humour. The other characters are all played well by their respective actors - Anthony Quayle especially, is superb as Dr Murray the police surgeon.
This isn't a gory film, but it doesn't need to be. The scene where Lestrade and Watson emerge from the room of Mary Kelly in a state of shock and bewilderment tells you all you need to know about the horror that has occured.

The murders themselves don't quite ring true as, if the actual victims had screamed as loudly as they do in this film, then 'Jack' probably would've have had much time, if any, to commit his trademark 'rippings'!! This isn't a major criticism though, as a lot of 'Ripper' films make the same mistake.

If you a fan of 'Sherlock/Ripper' books, movies etc then i think this is well worth watching(and buying!). Also worth a mention is the superb score by John Scott.

*update 2013* apologies for the above review. I didn't think it was that bad when i first wrote it, but the 'unhelpful' votes suggest otherwise!
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