Monday, June 13, 2022

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes – Eureka Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: UK/USA, 1970
Director: Billy Wilder
Writers: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Cast: Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely, Geneviève Page, Christopher Lee, Tamara Toumanova, Clive Revill, Irene Handl, Mollie Maureen, Stanley Holloway

Release Date: January 22nd, 2018
Approximate running time: 125 Minutes 21 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: PG (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £14.99 (UK)

"Sherlock Holmes (Robert Stephens) and Dr. Watson (Colin Blakely), are tasked with locating the missing husband of a mysterious woman fished out of the River Thames. The course of their investigation leads them to Scotland and encounters with a group of monks, some dwarfs and even the Loch Ness Monster. Can Holmes and Watson crack the case?" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.5/5

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 40.7 GB

Feature: 34.1 GB

Though this transfer comes from the same master that was used for Kino Lorber’s 2014 Blu-ray, it is a stronger encode that gives about twenty more GB’s to the main feature. That said, the source is not without its shortcomings. There are very minor instances of print debris, the image at times looks too soft, colors are good but could look better, and black levels are adequate.

Audio: 3.75/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English, and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds clean and balanced, and range-wise, ambient sounds are well-represented.


Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer (3 minutes, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), an interview with editor Ernest Walter (28 minutes 40 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with Christopher Lee titled Christopher Lee: Mr. Holmes, Mr. Wilder (15 minutes 17 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), an audio only extra titled Deleted Epilogue Scene (6 minutes 20 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), a presentation of the film's deleted sequences, using script excerpts, production stills and surviving film footage titled The Missing Cases (50 minutes 3 seconds, LPCM mono with music from the film playing in the background), an interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard (20 minutes 45 seconds, LPCm stereo English, no subtitles), and fifty-two page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Far from elementary - the vicissitudes of Wilder’s Sherlock Holmes written by Philip Kemp, an article titled The Curious Case of the Missing Footage written by Trevor Willsmer and information about the transfer titled Notes on Viewing.


Though Sherlock Holmes has been adapted numerous times, it is safe to say that there has never been an adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary creation Sherlock Holmes like Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

Content wise, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes has many of the elements that are synonymous with the cinema of Billy Wilder. Most notably, humorous scenarios and witty dialog, which also contribute to some of the humor. That said, despite the elements of humor throughout, to call The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes a satire of Sherlock Holmes would be doing this film a great disservice.

Most films about Sherlock Holmes are adaptations of stories, or at least loosely based on stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a new adventure concocted by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. Though The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a new Sherlock Holmes adventure, it never strays away from Sherlock Holmes' identifiable character traits and obsessions.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes features a strong cast who are very good in their roles, especially Robert Stephens’ (A Taste of Honey) portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. He delivers a perfectly pitched performance that captures the essence of Sherlock Holmes. Notable cast members include Christopher Lee (The Wicker Man) in the role of Sherlock Holmes’ brother; Stanley Holloway (My Fair Lady) in the role of a gravedigger; and Geneviève Page (Belle de Jour) in the role of a mysterious woman who hires Sherlock Holmes to find her missing husband.

From the get-go, it is clear that what is about to unfold is going to be a wild ride. The tongue-in-cheek opening credits are filled with the subversive humor that one has come to expect from Billy Wilder. And a briskly paced narrative that has a few well-placed moments of misdirection ensures there is rarely a dull moment. Ultimately, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is arguably Billy Wilder’s most underrated film, and even though Billy Wilder’s version of the film never saw the light of day, even in its current form, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a highly entertaining film that holds up really well.

Though the audio/video presentation leaves room for improvement, this release from Eureka Video is The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes' best home video release to date, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

The Righteous – Arrow Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 2021 Director: Mark O'Brien Writer: Mark O'Brien Cast: Henry...