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Young Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [1986]

4.3 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Nicholas Rowe, Alan Cox, Sophie Ward, Anthony Higgins, Susan Fleetwood
  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Writers: Arthur Conan Doyle, Chris Columbus
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, Harry Benn, Henry Winkler, Kathleen Kennedy, Mark Johnson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Feb. 2004
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000163WT4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,449 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

This film portrays what might have happened if Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson had met as teens at school in England.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Good entertainment for all the family.
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Absolutely love this film..the best Sherlock Holmes ever
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Originally planned as the first of a series, Young Sherlock Holmes was a bit of a misfire at the box office. It cost $18 million and only grossed about 20 per cent of its budget back. In the years since its release it has become a cult film for those who can appreciate it for the blockbuster it never was. I personally discovered it on a Christmas Eve showing on BBC in the late 80s. Even then, I thought it was great despite it being a darker Christmas film than we're used to.

In a snowy and sinister December at the height of the Victorian Era, Watson, as a teenager, is sent to Brompton, a private school in a fogbound London, when his old one is shut down due to lack of funding. Upon arrival, he meets a violin-playing smart-Alec who deducts his character from his mere appearance. It's the beginning of a life-long friendship.

Holmes' life on campus is rather cozy. He has a pretty girlfriend Elizabeth (Sophie Ward) and her uncle, Professor Waxflatter, is a crackpot inventor of the Doc Brown variety who lives in the school attic with all of his crazy inventions. At first, Watson and Holmes have fun getting up to mischief on campus but a series of bizarre suicides soon distracts them.

The local Inspector Lestrade is too lazy to do anything about it, leaving them free to investigate. Apparently the victims are all sane, happy men who seem to go suddenly mad with fear and hurl themselves to the nearest oncoming death. Things get personal when Waxflatter suffers the same fate and stabs himself in fit of madness.

Why are ordinary men going crazy? Who is the mysterious black robed person hiding in the shadows? What dark secret was Waxflatter hiding?
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Format: DVD
Live streaming of films is apparently the new thing and as someone who likes to jump onto as many bandwagons as I can, the idea of picking from an online world of films appealed to me. Turns out though that Netflix UK is the live streaming equivalent of the bargain bin near the tills in the supermarket. Not to be perturbed by the many B Movies and old films on offer I spotted one of my all time faves `Young Sherlock Holmes'. This was a film of the 80s and many films of that era feel more dated than the most popular girl in the village, so would `Young Sherlock' still hold up in the modern world of Downy Jnrs?

The simple answer is yes (if you can take the 80s cheese). At the core 'Young Sherlock' is a good mix of traditional Sherlockian tropes, but with a liberal sprinkling of Spielberg from the 80s. Nicholas Rowe is excellently cast as Sherlock; he is the embodiment of a younger version of the caricature the character has become. Alan Cox is also decent as the bumbling pre-Dr Watson. Only the female interest in Sophie Ward stumbles - walking around the well dressed sets with an 80s perm. Ward is so 80s that it really jars with a film containing some solid British character actors who class the film up.

The story is one of the best elements of the film, for something aimed at a 12-16 audience it's pretty scary and the beats that I remember from watching 20 years ago still work today. The special effects may no longer be as impressive, but the undulating chant of a bunch of crazy cultists still chills. `Young Sherlock Holmes' is a great example showing that films may age and date, but story will always live on. I for one look forward to seeing it again in 2032.
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Format: DVD
I first saw this film many years ago, and recently bought it for my daughters, who loved it just as much as I had on first viewing. Nicholas Rowe and Alan Cox are wonderful as the young Holmes and Watson, and another reviewer's comment on Cox as Harry Potter is exactly what I thought when watching it again. I thought that Sophie Ward was a bit of a weak link, but not enough to detract from the skill shown by the young men. I know this film has had some poor reviews from film critics, which I think are undeserved. It has its weak points (particularly when Holmes decides his injured true love can wait while he has a final duel!), but overall it's well made, enjoyable and extremely watchable.
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Format: DVD
I remember vividly seeing this film when it was first released - January 1986 - at a beautiful old cinema which has since been bulldozed and turned into a McDonalds. (Haven't they all..?)

The film was much vaunted at the time, due to the involvement of Amblin Entertainment, Steven Speilberg's own production company. After the massive success of E.T and Indiana Jones, Speilberg's name linked to anything was enough to cause mild hysteria to breakout in cinemas everywhere.

Too much hype is no good for anything. As a result, Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear - (to give it it's full title) - suffered from a surfeit of dissapointed cinema-goers and fared badly at the box office.

All of which mystifies me, since I absolutely loved it!

YSH boasts a fairly tight and lively script written by future Harry Potter director Chris Columbus. Columbus takes great pains to inform viewers in a caveat at the film's end - that his story is a work of speculation, crafted in admiration for Conan Doyle's great detective. That affection is writ large on the screen.

Filmed on location at Elstree and Hertfordshire and ably directed by Barry Levinson - who went on to direct Rainman amongst other things, the whole thing looks wonderful. With The action taking place during one of those magical, Victorian winters which seem only to exist on celluloid.

In fact, in a nod of weird cinematic prescience to Columbus' directorial destiny - one dining room scene set in the fictional boarding school where Holmes and Watson are students, looks uncannily like Hogwarts...

The special effects in the 'Hallucination' scenes where also pretty amazing for their time. The 'stained glass man' a particular favourite of mine.
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