1910. Mycroft Holmes asks his brother Sherlock and Dr. Watson to travel to Vienna and find the stolen plans and prototype for an electromagnetic bomb detonator. Once there, they are ... See full summary »
When the fabled Star of Rhodesia diamond is stolen on a London to Edinburgh train and the son of its owner is murdered, Sherlock Holmes must discover which of his suspicious fellow passengers is responsible.
The bearded ambassador at the ball describes Holmes as the second-best criminologist in Europe, second only to the great Bertillon. He is referring to Alphonse Bertillon, the French police officer credited with the invention of the science of finger-printing and the standardization of mugshots in the nineteenth century. See more »
The police are seen using telephones in 1902, but in reality, the first phone was not installed at New Scotland Yard until 1903. See more »
Rupert Everett has the aquiline profile and world-weary vocal delivery that are necessities for a screen Holmes, but he (and the excellent actors around him) are hamstrung by a cliché- ridden script. Sherlock Holmes, telling Watson to "keep your breath to cool your porridge"?? The last two times I heard that expression on screen were both in adaptations of Pride and Prejudice--and I certainly mean no disrespect to either of them. Holmes is also made to deploy a Mary Poppins aphorism about pie crusts and promises--perhaps you remember it from your childhood Disney viewing.
This is a good-looking production (apart from the occasional wobble from the annoyingly popular unsteadicam), though I have it on good authority that London fog did not swirl rapidly around the lampposts and chimneypots. Beautifully designed interiors include a Duchess' drawing room, a Victorian graveyard, an underground lair of the villain (he always has a lair, doesn't he), and a ceramic-tiled morgue. Costumes are in a muted color palette of cream, black, olive green, and brown, and the girls in their costumes for a classical tableau look as if they have stepped out of a Alma-Tadema painting.
In addition to Everett as Holmes, the production is graced with a uniformly strong cast. Ian Hart brings an acerbic vigor to the role of Dr. Watson, and Neil Dudgeon injects Lestrade with some humor. The superb Helen McCrory, as Watson's American fiancée, initially appears brash and pushy (she calls Holmes "Sherlock" throughout, even though his best friend Watson invariably calls him by his last name), an often-observed trait of American women in British film/TV productions, but she is too good an actress to keep to that one-note character. Guy Henry is disgracefully underused--give him a bigger role!
The story is a new one, which is not in itself a criticism; it is creepy and intriguing. The most glaring problem of the show is with the script; I hope that director Simon Cellan Jones continues to make more Holmes stories--but that writer Allan Cubitt will not.
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