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Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death (1984)

The Masks of Death (original title)
Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) has retired. But when Alec MacDonald (Gordon Jackson) asks him to take on another case, he says yes. There have been some mysterious murders, and there are ... See full summary »


Roy Ward Baker


Anthony Hinds (story) (as John Elder), Arthur Conan Doyle (characters) (as Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Cushing ... Sherlock Holmes
John Mills ... Doctor Watson
Anne Baxter ... Irene Adler
Ray Milland ... Home Secretary
Anton Diffring ... Graf Udo Von Felseck
Gordon Jackson ... Alec MacDonald
Susan Penhaligon ... Miss Derwent
Marcus Gilbert ... Anton Von Felseck
Jenny Laird ... Mrs. Hudson
Russell Hunter ... Alfred Coombs
James Cossins ... Frederick Baines
Eric Dodson ... Lord Claremont
Georgina Coombs Georgina Coombs ... Lady Claremont
James Head James Head ... Chauffeur
Dominic Murphy Dominic Murphy ... Boot Boy


Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) has retired. But when Alec MacDonald (Gordon Jackson) asks him to take on another case, he says yes. There have been some mysterious murders, and there are no visible causes for the deaths. At the same time Holmes gets this case, Graf Udo Von Felseck (Anton Diffring) gives him another case: find a young and missing Prince to prevent war between Germany and England. But Von Felseck is not as honest as he seems. Written by <ivara@stud.idb.hist.no>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

23 December 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The cast includes three Oscar winners: Sir John Mills, Anne Baxter, and Ray Milland. See more »


Dr. John H. Watson: No sane man wants war.
Sherlock Holmes: That is the trouble, Watson. There are otherwise sane men who do want war.
See more »

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User Reviews

You can't keep a good detective down!
27 October 2008 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

The Masks of Death is a real coming together of classics. First of all, we have the fact that the film is based on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle character of Sherlock Holmes (albeit it an aging version of the character), then we have the fact that the film is directed by the great Roy Ward Baker; a name that fans of classic British horror will recognise instantly, and perhaps most important of all is the presence of one of the finest British actors ever to grace the silver screen - the great Peter Cushing in a reprisal of the iconic role that he last played in 1968. The story is not a Conan Doyle original, but still focuses on his most famous character. Sherlock Holmes has been called in to investigate three bodies that have mysteriously turned up in the Thames. It's not into the investigation before he is called to investigate another case; that being the investigation of a German prince that mysteriously disappeared. However, shortly into his second case; Holmes begins to suspect that something more sinister may be afoot.

What sets this film apart from almost every other Sherlock Holmes film ever made is the fact that this one shows the character in his twilight years. Holmes is in retirement and he's not quite his usual sharp self and even shows some failings on a number of occasions. One of the main things that is liked about the character is his sharpness and keen eye for detail; but even so, The Masks of death has to be admired for daring to do something a little different. And who better to portray this aging Holmes than the great Peter Cushing? Cushing would have been seventy years old at the time of filming and still manages to inject his usual verve and screen presence into what would turn out to be his penultimate screen role. Roy Ward Baker certainly knows how to direct and does a good job here as the film moves swiftly and the shots of a dingy London are very well done. Cushing receives good support from the likes of John Mills, Anton Diffring and Ray Milland too, which is nice. It does have to be said that this isn't the most interesting Holmes story ever put on the screen; but its well worked and entertaining and the ending is intriguing and imaginative.

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