I saw 205 movies in 2015. Many bloggers no doubt watched more, some maybe watched less. You can read about every movie I watched here – if you’re really bored this early in the New Year – or I can just take you on a quick journey of the highlights.
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
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.
Most of the early part of September was spent in finishing up Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection, which is still available at an incredibly good price. Film noir was a little light in September with only two entries, both of them starring John Garfield. Hopefully you’ll find something to check out here:
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection
14 films on 5 Blu-ray discs
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.
Continuing with more Sherlock Holmes, movies from and about the 80s, and more.
These include three more Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies, some film noir, shhhh… a silent film, a summer blockbuster, and more:
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
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.
Another fairly light month for movies, but I did see three Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes films, some film noir, and perhaps a few surprises. I hope you’ll find something to strike your interest:
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Directed by Sidney Lanfield
Produced by Gene Markey, Darryl F. Zanuck
Screenplay by Ernest Pascal
Based upon the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Cinematography by Peverell Marley
MPI Media Group Blu-ray
I’ve had several leanings towards all things Sherlock Holmes during the past few years, re-reading some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fiction, watching the BBC show Sherlock and enjoying the graphic novel Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi. I’d also been eyeing Blu-ray box set Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Collection since it was released in 2011. The price of that set – which includes all 14 of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films – has now dropped below $50, so I jumped on it.
…I’m really not hiding in a cave somewhere. I’ve been swamped lately with work, vacation planning and tons of reading for podcasts, but I am still watching movies and plan to report on some of them soon, including…