I somehow missed The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes back in 1970 when it was first released. I finally got around to viewing the DVD and found the movie to be a mixed bag. A dazed but beautiful woman shows up at the door of Holmes (Robert Stephens) and Watson (Colin Blakely), but–of course–she has amnesia. Holmes cleverly determines the woman’s identity and learns she’s searching for her missing husband. Holmes is about to dismiss such a mundane cases when he and Watson are summoned by Mycroft Holmes. “The game’s afoot!” is actually uttered.

The movie slows down to a glacial pace and the Loch Ness monster shows up. If you’re looking for something different, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes might be your cup of tea, but it wasn’t mine. What’s your favorite Sherlock Holmes movie or TV series? GRADE: B-


  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    Always liked Without A Clue with Michael Caine. When I think of Holmes Basil Rathbone first comes to mind. I just wish his movies didn’t show Watson as an idiot which is not how he is shown in the original stories.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Anything but the abominations with Robert Downey, Jr. I liked most of the Basil Rathbone movies, the Peter Cushing HOUND, and any number of others.

  3. Patti Abbott

    I have never been much of a Holmes fan sorry to say. The Cumberbatch ones are too slick as are the Downey versions. I guess I would go with the Rathbones ones if I had to pick. But he is always such a smarty pants and elitist.

  4. Maggie mason

    I think I’ve seen this, but not sure. I will need to find Without a Clue, as I like Michael Caine. I guess I’m one of the few that didn’t hate the Robt. Downey Jr movies.

    I like the newest series, but did have a bit of trouble adjusting. For me, I think of Basil Rathbone as Holmes, and agree that Watson should have been more accurately portrayed

    I also like the CBS series Sherlock.

  5. Deb

    Jeremy Brett as Holmes in the tv adaptations of about 25 years ago is the quintessential one for me (two different actors played Watson over the course of the series). My favorite Holmes stories are “The Blue Carbuncle” and “The Red-Headed League”.

  6. Jeff Meyerson

    Me too. I think I got the paperback from Scholastic in school. I think it was the first real mystery I ever read. I’ve reread it several times, something I rarely do

    Yes, Jeremy Brett was right there with Rathbone, and his Watson was much better.

    1. George Kelley

      Jeff, I think you’re right about THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES being a Scholastic Book. I’m sure I read it in Sixth Grade. I hunted down a complete Sherlock Holmes volume at the Library and proceeded to read the whole Canon.

  7. Cap'n Bob

    McGinnis poster! I first met Holmes via Dazzle Bathrobe and he’ll always be the number one pick on my list! His Watson may have been comic relief, but I’ve always liked Nigel Bruce so I have no problem with that!

  8. Bill

    Private Life is in no way comparable to other incarnations. As the title implies, it guts the literary incarnation, and depicts the smaller, more troubled man behind. Addressing his sexuality – or lack thereof.
    This was originally planned as a massive road show, starring Peters O’Toole and Sellers.

    I actually like Nigel Bruce’s Watson and his clear contrast to Holmes. It allowed Holmes to show real affection for his partner.

  9. Art Scott

    I’m pleased no one mentioned Seven Percent Solution, best forgotten by all concerned. I’m not especially fond of Private Life (Bruce Taylor is a huge fan), but it does have a great Miklos Rozsa score and a great poster, by Bob McGinnis of course, Shere Hite modeling.

  10. Bill

    Seven Per Cent kicked off the Holmes revival. Book and movie brilliant revisionist looks at SH. If Wilder’s film had come after it, it might’ve gained a bit more attention. It was Miklos Rosza’s violin piece that first inspired Wilder to do a Holmes film.


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