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Only Two major Sherlock Holmes films missing on DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Dick, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    At this point, having had the great MPI Rathbone series, plus MURDER BY DECREE, PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959, although this needs an anamorphic transfer), I am thinking that only a pair of movies stills needs DVD release:

    A STUDY IN TERROR, with John Neville. There is a rumor floating around (unsubstantiated so far) that Columbia is planning to release this as part of a double-feature (with what, I have no idea), which would be great. The laser wasn't a terrific transfer.

    THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION with Nicol Williamson. Universal should have gotten around to this ages ago, as it now remains one of the few of the long out-of-print Image DVD licensed releases that hasn't been re-issued by Universal. This really needs a good anamorphic release, please.

    Have I forgotten any titles?
     
  2. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    The John Barrymore silent version was recently discovered. I've seen it and while the film is rather bland it will need MAJOR work done to it. The last I heard is that no one is stepping up to pitch in any money.

    There are countless silent era shorts that need to be released as well. I've seen the four films from Grapevine but I'd like to see the rest.
     
  3. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Dick
    A STUDY IN TERROR, with John Neville. There is a rumor floating around (unsubstantiated so far) that Columbia is planning to release this as part of a double-feature (with what, I have no idea), which would be great. The laser wasn't a terrific transfer.

    THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION with Nicol Williamson. Universal should have gotten around to this ages ago, as it now remains one of the few of the long out-of-print Image DVD licensed releases that hasn't been re-issued by Universal. This really needs a good anamorphic release, please.





    I'm not eager to see The Seven Percent Solution disseminated. Although a well-mounted production, its story contradicts and diminishes the carefully defined world of Holmes and Watson that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle worked so hard to create. I'd just as soon let this title fade into obscurity along with the screwy novel it is based on.

    Although not written by Doyle, A Study In Terror is a high-spirited Sherlock Holmes thriller faithful to the letter and spirit of the canon. John Neville is a dynamic Holmes, and Robert Morely does a memorable turn as brother Mycroft. The region 2 DVD is laser-disc quality, so let's hope Columbia upgrades for the domestic release. I'll buy A Study In Terror the instant it goes on sale.


    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Dick
    Have I forgotten any titles?





    Of unreleased films? I can think of a few.

    I wish the BBC could be persuaded to release its Sherlock Holmes series from 1964 starring Douglas Wilmer. I understand that most episodes were wiped, but several survive, some of them incomplete. Wilmer's interpretation is an unknown commodity, nobody having seen an episode in over forty years. When Wilmer left the series, Peter Cushing replaced him. Five episodes from the 1968 season survive, including the two-part Hound of the Baskervilles giving Cushing a second crack at the story. His eccentric and meticulous performances are closer to what Jeremy Brett would attempt many years later. The surviving Cushing episodes were released on DVD in region 2 years ago, but fans in the USA are still waiting.

    Every Sherlock Holmes fan I know would like to see Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976) rescued from obscurity. This was a Fox / NBC telefilm shot like a feature, starring Roger Moore as Holmes, Patrick Macnee as Watson, John Huston as a caustic Moriarity, and young Charlotte Rampling as the hottest Irene Adler in the Holmes canon:

    Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976) (TV)

    With regard to what's in print on DVD, you already named three of the best, but no Holmes collection is complete without the following B movies:

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four: Arthur Wontner, Isla Bevan, Ian Hunter, Graham Soutten, Miles Malleson, Herbert Lomas, Gilbert Davis, Margaret Yarde, Roy Emerton, Togo, Kynaston Reeves, Edgar Norfolk, Clare Greet, Ernest Sefton, Charle

    Amazon.com: The Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet: Reginald Owen, Anna May Wong, June Clyde, Alan Dinehart, John Warburton, Alan Mowbray, Warburton Gamble, J.M. Kerrigan, Doris Lloyd, Billy Bevan, Leila Bennett, Wyndham Standing, Halliwell Hobbes,

    Amazon.com: The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes: Arthur Wontner, Lyn Harding, Leslie Perrins, Jane Carr, Ian Fleming (II), Charles Mortimer (II), Minnie Rayner, Michael Shepley, Ben Welden, Roy Emerton, Conway Dixon, Wilfrid Caithness, Edmund D'Alby, Erne

    Amazon.com: Murder at the Baskervilles: Arthur Wontner, Ian Fleming (II), Lyn Harding, John Turnbull, Robert Horton (II), Lawrence Grossmith, Judy Gunn, Arthur Macrae, Arthur Goullet, Martin Walker, Eve Gray, Gilbert Davis, Minnie Rayner, D.J. Willia

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace: Roland Armontel, Leon Askin, Senta Berger, Ivan Desny, Bernard Lajarrige, Christopher Lee, Wolfgang Lukschy, Hans Nielsen, Linda Sini, Hans Söhnker, Thorley Walters, Bruno W. Pantel, Edith Schultz

    Another edition of -- and the Deadly Necklace pairs that with the 1931 Speckled Band:

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes Double Feature: The Deadly Necklace/The Speckled Band: Sherlock Holmes & the Deadly Necklace, Speckled Ban: Movies & TV

    Ian Richardson was superb as Holmes in The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles (both 1983) which received theatrical screenings in some markets. They are elaborately produced, very faithful to Doyle, and highly recommended. The Sign of Four was a real breakthrough in the 1980s, being the first cinematic adaptation of that novel to actually tell the story Doyle wrote. Five years later the story would be filmed again with Jeremy Brett in grainy 16mm, but this version with Ian Richardson is 35mm and looks a lot better. Now oop, whoever owns the rights needs to bring both Richardson films back into circulation:

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes - The Hound of the Baskervilles: Ian Richardson, Donald Churchill, Denholm Elliott, Glynis Barber, Brian Blessed, Eleanor Bron, Edward Judd, Ronald Lacey, Martin Shaw, Connie Booth, Eric Richard, Michael Burrell, Cindy O'C

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes - The Sign of Four: Ian Richardson, David Healy, Thorley Walters, Cherie Lunghi, Joe Melia, Terence Rigby, Clive Merrison, Richard Heffer, John Pedrick, Michael O'Hagan, Robert Russell, John Benfield, Dennis C. Lewiston, D

    More recently, Richardson starred as the inspiration for Sherlock in a made-for-cable feature called Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle. It is a brilliant and hair-raising thriller written by David Pirie and beautifully shot in Edinburgh, Scotland. So impressive is this film it gave birth to a short-lived series of full-blooded feature-length thrillers called Murder Rooms: the Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes. The good news is that it can be had in excellent transfers. No collection is complete without them:

    Amazon.com: Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle - The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes: Ian Richardson, Sean Wightman, Robin Laing, Dolly Wells, Charles Dance, Ralph Riach, Aly Bain, Andrew John Tait, Alan Sinclair, Alec Newman, Tamsin Pike, Joel Strachan, John

    Amazon.com: Murder Rooms - The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes: Katie Blake, Charles Edwards, Alexander Armstrong, Simon Quarterman, Gem Durham, Paul Butterworth, Michael Webber, Ian Richardson, Malcolm Sinclair, Andrew Woodall, Dragan Micanovic,

    Christopher Lee starred as an aloof and stiff-upper-lip Holmes in two mini-series:

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady: John Bennett, Morgan Fairchild, Ronald Hines, Engelbert Humperdinck, Christopher Lee, Patrick Macnee, Robert Rietty, Peter Sasdy: Movies & TV

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes: Incident at Victoria Falls: Joss Ackland, Claude Akins, Christopher Lee, Patrick Macnee, Jenny Seagrove, Richard Todd, Eric Allaman, Bill Corcoran: Movies & TV

    Edward Woodward and John Hillerman made an unorthodox Holmes and Watson in a made-for-cable film:

    Amazon.com: Hands of a Murderer: Edward Woodward, John Hillerman, Anthony Andrews, Kim Thomson, Peter Jeffrey, Warren Clarke, Terence Lodge, Christopher Fairbank, Harry Audley, David Sibley, John Tordoff, Michael Tezcan, Ken Westbury, Stuart Orme, Ke

    I'm not sure I like Rupert Everett's take on Holmes, which plays out like a contemporary serial killer film although it's a period piece:

    Amazon.com: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking: Rupert Everett, Nicholas Palliser, Neil Dudgeon, Ian Hart, Anne Carroll, Tamsin Egerton, Perdita Weeks, Jennifer Moule, Eleanor David, John Cunningham (III), Michael Fassbender, Jonathan

    Some other fugitive titles stray too far from the apple tree for my taste.

    I heartily recommend the Ian Richardson films.
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    The Ian Richardson films are excellent, and I'd love to see high quality transfers of them.

    Stewart Granger made an ABC TV-movie version of HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES with William Shatner as Stapleton that wasn't very good (it was actually a pilot for a proposed HOLMES TV series that would be done as NBC Mystery movie groupings were done with COLUMBO-McCLOUD-McMILLAN AND WIFE), but I'd like to see that one again anyway.
     
  5. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Posted by Richard--W:
     
  6. ColbyCo82

    ColbyCo82 Stunt Coordinator

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    Clive Brook played Sherlock Holmes three times in the early talkie era. Paramount produced "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" (1929), and also featured the famous detective in the "Murder Will Out" segment of their All-Star review, "Paramount on Parade" (1929). Brook then starred in "Sherlock Holmes" for Fox Films in 1932. None are on DVD that I know of.
     
  7. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    I'm a huge admirer of Robert Duvall, but to hear him mangle an English accent is almost too much to bear. However, I'd watch Nicol Williamson read the 'phone book, and as such I'm happy with my R2 copy of The Seven Percent Solution.
     
  8. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    The silent shorts are of inerest but lacking in what today we regard as essential elements in Holmes storytelling. I would have thought some company like Kino or Milestone would have rescued them by now.
    I'd also like to see the early soundie interview with Conan Doyle from 1928 on DVD. It's only a few minutes long, and utterly fascinating to hear him speak.
     
  9. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    The Doyle interview is on one of the MPI Rathbone releases. The sound leaves something to be desired though as Doyle sounds like a chipmunk.
    One of the Clive Brook Holmes films was on TCM not too many months ago. Not sure if its still on my DVR - I started watching it and found it rather dry.
    The Norwood silents would be interesting to see. Do any of our Holmes scholars know how many still exist?
    My wish list: a high quality release of the Ronald Howard TV series. I know the whole series is available commercially for about $10 but the quality could be better.
    Also, I'd also like to see the first two Rathbone Fox films released using whatever high quality elements Fox has. The MPI discs are adequate but these two titles were not "restored" and could use some sprucing up.
     
  10. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Don't quote me on this but I believe the owner of Grapevine Video told me that all of the Norwood titles are available with the exception of a couple. The only one the public has are the four that he's offering. From what I've read elsewhere, the BFI has all of them in their vaults.

    Like Richard said, I doubt many Holmes fans would find these too interesting. Silent film buffs would probably buy them but that's about it. I can't see the Rathbone fans picking them up.
     
  11. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I'm aware of the deficiencies in Sherlock Holmes In New York, but it's such a good-natured and well-intentioned film that I don't mind much. As for the bittersweet romance between Holmes and Irene Adler, Doyle evidently had no problem with it when he endorsed Gillette's play, so it's okay with me. Again, I see the romance as a virtue.
     
  12. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

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    I don't have as much venom for the Seven Percent Solution, but I thought it was a fun film. I didn't care about how it re-painted some of the canon's characters (a certain evil professor) but I did enjoy it as a film.

    With Downey's SH film coming out perhaps we might deduce that Universal will hopefully revisit it on DVD and/or Blu-ray. I'd really like to hear Duvall, Williamson and Arkin do a commentary or some new interviews for it. Here's hoping.
     
  13. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Posted by Richard--W:
     
  14. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    Two episodes of the Wilmer series were officially released on VHS in the UK by the BBC, and copies of several other episodes circulate among fans.
     
  15. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Doyle cared very much, but he had long since moved to other literary projects after abandoning the writing of a play. Doyle opened the door to the possibility of romance in A Speckled Band, and then it was a short step for Gillette to take romance to the next level. Doyle had other things to say about the play which are not at hand right now or I would quote them for you. It's the logical thing to do for the reasons I gave below, and also, a romance with Irene Adler is a non-destructive addition, a little thing, compared to the methodical and thorough dis-assembling of Doyle's very concept undertaken by The Seven Percent Solution. It is really is a scurrilous and backhanded enterprise, that story. If the names were changed to something else I might enjoy it as a Victorian drama, but it is a Sherlock Holmes film in name only. The lights are on, but nobody is home.
    I realize most fans don't make these distinctions, but some fans do, and I do.
     
  16. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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  17. Patrick H.

    Patrick H. Second Unit

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    I saw 'A Study in Terror' when I was a kid, and even the vague memory of it smacked down 'Murder by Decree' when I finally got around to watching that recently. John Neville was a great Holmes, and the supporting cast was spot-on as well. A DVD of it is one of my few remaining holy grails, and my fingers are crossed that this new Robert Downey Jr. film will shake it out of tree sometime this year.
     
  18. cadavra

    cadavra Stunt Coordinator

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    As a matter of fact, I suggested that very idea (releasing it in conjunction with the Ritchie/Downey film). They're giving it consideration. Stay tuned!
    Mike S.
     
  19. Laserdisc Archive

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    We watched Private Life of Sherlock Holmes on Laserdisc over the weekend which we had never seen before. Very good film we thought and will prob watch it again this week.
     
  20. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    I know "A Study in Scarlet" is out on discs like Alpha but is there a good clean descent copy like MCI's out for this title - or one planed?
     

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