The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1971)

Film details


Comedic detective story. In a bank vault, fifty years after Dr Watson's death, two epsiodes from the career of Sherlock Holmes are found, which were deemed unsuitable for publication during Holmes' and Watson's lifetimes. In the first story, Holmes is summoned to a theatre where a renowned Russian ballerina offers him a remarkable payment for services she wants him to render, but her request is not in his usual line of work. In the second story, a woman arrives bedraggled at Baker Street one night, apparently fished out of the Thames and suffering from amnesia. Holmes deduces that she is Gabrielle Valladon, the wife of a missing mining engineer. Despite being warned off the case by Holmes's brother Mycroft, they follow a trail to Inverness, where, posing as Mr and Mrs Ashdown (with Watson posing as their valet), they discover that a mysterious company is undertaking a project of great international importance at Loch Ness. [The original version, comprising four unpublished Holmes stories, opens with Watson's grandson arriving in London from Canada in 1969, where, in the presence of a Barclays Bank manager who is a big fan of the Holmes canon, he opens a tin box he has inherited, which contains various items of Holmes paraphernalia and some manuscripts of untold Holmes adventures. The stories are then told in flashback: 1. The Curious Case of the Upside-down Room. (Holmes investigates the bizarre mystery of a corpse lying in a blind landlord's flat in Hampstead where all the furniture is on the ceiling.) 2. The Singular Affair of the Russian Ballerina. (Story 1, above; set in June 1885.) 3. The Dreadful Business of the Naked Honeymooners. (In the summer of 1886, on a return voyage from Constantinople, Watson employs Holmes's methods in a bid to solve a case of two dead bodies found in their cabin, but he does not match his friend for detective skill.) 4. The Adventure of the Dumbfounded Detective. (Story 2, above; commencing on 17 April 1888.) Contained within these four stories are some brief episodes involving: in story 1, set in September 1887, a Neapolitan singing teacher fleeing a jealous husband, who hides in Holmes and Watson's train compartment (in the script's cast breakdown this episode is titled 'The Case of the Philandering Singing Teacher'); and, in story 4, a reminiscence by Holmes of how, during his time at Oxford, he had his heart broken and decided never to let emotion cloud his professional judgment.]

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