|Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley in "Without a Clue"|
I suppose the place to truly begin is with one of the earliest chronological guest turns as Holmes. After he appeared in 1959's "The Hound of the Baskervilles," Christopher Lee turned to taking on the role of Holmes in the rather dreadful "Sherlock Holmes und das Halsband des Todes" better known to English-speaking audiences as "Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace." I sad that I have to begin this analysis with such a bad film as this, but it is honestly a very disappointing film. This surely stems from the fact that the movie was a French/German/Italian production. The script is a strange combination of "The Valley of Fear" and pastiche as Holmes and Moriarty race against the clock to retrieve the necklace of Cleopatra.
|Christopher Plummer as Holmes in "Murder|
by Decree" from 1979
Perhaps, I ought to look at some of the good star turns as Holmes. Beginning in 1979, Christopher Plummer took over the role of Holmes in the movie "Murder by Decree." Perhaps at the time of release, Plummer wasn't the biggest star, however Plummer has risen to stardom today. Plummer's performance is one of the very best - although at odds with Doyle's original characterization. This is a very humane Holmes, however for this story to really work, Holmes has to be a caring character. "Murder by Decree" tells the story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (played wonderfully by James Mason) as they wind their way through Britain's aristocracy in the search for Jack the Ripper. I give high praise to Plummer's performance, and to the movie on a whole, as it is surely one of the greatest Sherlock Holmes movies ever committed to celluloid.
In 1988, Michael Caine turned up as Sherlock Holmes (well sort of) in the comedy, "Without a Clue." The premise for the film is original and very enjoyable. Dr. Watson (played by Ben Kingsley) is actually the brains behind the detective duo and hires a drunken, dim-witted actor (Caine) to play Holmes. Despite the fact that "Without a Clue" isn't the ideal Holmes film for fans of the great detective, Caine's performance is both comical and at times moving and he surely provides a great performance.