The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

Sherlock Holmes: Robert Stephens
Dr. Watson: Colin Blakely
Year: 1970
Case: non-Canon


Stephens as Holmes

I didn’t hate Robert Stephens as Holmes. I didn’t love him; he really didn’t fit with the image I had of Holmes, but I didn’t hate him either. In fact, given that this was a comedy, Stephens played a comedic Holmes quite well. I enjoyed his portrayal, but I certainly wouldn’t hold it up as a high example of Holmes’ characterization.

Blakely as Watson

I can’t say I was at all impressed with this version of Watson. The movie painted Watson as somewhat of a womanizing, bumbling idiot. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they hinted at his intelligence, but there were numerous occasions where their version of Watson was quite dumbed down. This made me rather sad, and it bothered me somewhat that Blakely just went along with it, seeming perfectly content to exploit Watson for laughs.


I think, though, that my biggest complaint was their treatment of Queen Victoria.

I know.

But see, I’m Canadian, and we are loyal subjects of the crown (the Queen is our head of state, after all), and… you just don’t diss on the Queen. Maybe it’s because the director/producer is Polish and hence has no sense of loyalty to Queen V, but she came across as this weak, out of touch woman who didn’t understand the necessity of military advantage.

This strikes me as slightly slanderous, because Queen Victoria was involved in how many wars? She should be at least a little awareness of military tactics, and understand why having a technological advantage over your enemy is important.

And wow, I can’t believe I am offended on behalf of a dead monarch. I know this was meant to be a comedy, but this element really, really bothered me.

Enjoyable Elements

There were some aspects of the movie I enjoyed. It was obviously quite slashy (but I suspect everything related to Holmes is slashy, because really, they were obviously married), and there were some rather amusing scenes. I also like that the legend of the Loch Ness Monster could be explained by secret government experiments with submarines. Aside from that, though, I am glad this movie only cost me $9.00, and that is the reason it earns only 2 out of 5 pipes.