Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely, Genevieve Page, Christopher Lee, Tamara Toumanova, Clive Revill, Irene Handl, Mollie Maureen, Stanley Holloway, Catherine Lacey, Peter Madden
Written by: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle
Directed by: Billy Wilder
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief, drug-related plot material
Running Time: 125
Date: 10/29/1970
IMDB

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Elementary

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Billy Wilder hated the final edit of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), a subversive take on the world's greatest detective, which hints that he may have been gay. Apparently, Wilder was not present during the editing process, and when he tried to re-cut it, he found that the excised footage no longer exists. Nonetheless, this existing version is still fascinating, funny and clever. Holmes (Robert Stephens) and Watson (Colin Blakely) agree to help a young woman locate her missing husband. The search takes them to Scotland where they encounter the Loch Ness Monster. Best of all, Christopher Lee co-stars as Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes.

MGM's 2003 DVD was a disappointment, with terrible-looking grain in some shots. In 2014, Kino Lorber released a Blu-ray edition seems to have duplicated the problem, but in any case looks much better in high-definition. Kino's edition includes subtitles, an old, SD featurette (15 minutes) -- in which Christopher Lee calls Wilder the "greatest director I ever worked for" -- plus an interview with editor Ernest Walter, "deleted scenes," which consists of recorded dialogue, stills, and pages from the script, the deleted epilogue (presented the same way), and a trailer.

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