Murder by Decree (1979) Bob Clark

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Murder by Decree (1979)
Directed by Bob Clark
Produced by Bob Clark, René Dupont, Robert A. Goldston, Len Herberman
Screenplay by John Hopkins
Based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle and the book The Ripper File by Elwyn Jones and John Lloyd
Cinematography by Reginald H. Morris
Edited by Stan Cole
Music by Paul Zaza, Carl Zittrer
Canadian Film Development Corporation, AVCO Embassy Pictures
(color; 2:04)

I find that most people – even Sherlock Holmes fans – have never heard of Murder by Decree. They don’t know that it stars Christopher Plummer (below right) as Holmes and James Mason (below left) as Dr. Watson, don’t know that it’s one of the most atmospheric Jack the Ripper films, and don’t know that the supporting cast consists of such exceptional talents as John Gielgud, Geneviève Bujold, Donald Sutherland, Anthony Quayle and Susan Clark, to name just a few.

What they might know is that the film was directed by Bob Clark, who also directed the Porky’s movies, which might understandably be enough to keep them away from a Clark-directed Sherlock Holmes film. (Those people should be aware that Clark also directed the 1983 holiday favorite A Christmas Story.) Yet Murder by Decree remains a very good thriller/horror/mystery that shouldn’t be ignored this Halloween or any other time of the year.

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Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection

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Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection
MPI Blu-ray
14 films on 5 Blu-ray discs
16 hours

Try this experiment: ask most people who they think of when they hear the words “Sherlock Holmes actors” and they’ll likely say Benedict Cumberbatch. You might get a few Robert Downey Jr.s here and there, but more than likely, it’ll be Cumberbatch, and understandably so: the BBC’s Sherlock is an excellent series. But if you could go back in time and conduct your experiment between 1940 and 1985, there would be only one answer: Basil Rathbone.

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Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943) Roy William Neill

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Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943) Roy William Neill
Produced by Howard Benedict, Roy William Neill (uncredited)
Screenplay by Bertram Millhauser, Lynn Riggs
Based (loosely) on “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Cinematography by Lester White
MPI Media Group Blu-ray
(1:11)

On a transatlantic journey from London to Washington, a British agent (Gerald Hamer) carrying a secret government document is abducted. Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) and Doctor Watson (Nigel Bruce) are hired to find the agent and – more importantly – the document before it falls into the hands of the Nazis.

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