The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

English-American comedy, colour, 1970, dir: Billy Wilder, Language: English, Russian, French, German, Subtitles: Hungarian, 125’


09.14. 17:30
French Institute

Directed by Billy Wilder
Screenplay by Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Director of photography: Christopher Challis
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cast: Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely, Geneviève Page, Christopher Lee, Tamara Toumanova
Genre: comedy, crime

The title is misleading in that this Billy Wilder work is more comedy than whodunnit. In the film, Sándor Trauner creates the archetypal world around Holmes that we have become so familiar with in later series and feature films. We have fog-bound London streets, hackney carriages rattling down roads, while the age of Tolstoy, Nietzsche and Tchaikovsky are all conjured up in the genre-episode featuring Jack the Ripper and a Russian ballet dancer. The bookshelf is an important prop, indeed even the dust, from the thickness of which Holmes is able to deduce when the bundle of documents had been placed on the table. The Russian dancer farce that says so much about the image of homosexuality of the time (and not solely of the 19th century) is followed by a bleaker episode with a woman rescued from the river, in whose pocket there is only Holmes’s address. In this scene, the fine music is of particular importance. The composition is the work of Hungarian Miklós Rózsa.