Monday, October 25, 2010

Murder by Decree (1979)

Cult film director Bob Clark transports the legendary Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. Charles Watson into real-world London, where they track down Jack the Ripper through the streets of Whitechapel while uncovering the sinister truth behind his murderous rampage. MURDER BY DECREE molds a brilliantly-crafted script around the royal conspiracies that have surrounded the murders for decades, making this one of the smartest and most enjoyable Holmes mysteries ever produced on film. Clark lays on a thick, creepy atmosphere with all of the Gothic trappings of the classic Hammer productions. The streets of London have never looked as gloomy or as menacing as they become trapped in a rolling mist and dreary lighting. Christopher Plummer and James Mason form the perfect pair with their winning performances as Holmes and Watson, playing off of each other with a sharp wit and clever banter. Even in the slower moments, the mystery and suspense are kept on a steady high. The humor and intelligence that are built in to John Hopkins' screenplay make the story lively and easily accessible to all audiences, including those that may not be as familiar with either Holmes or the Ripper murders. MURDER BY DECREE is a top-rate mystery, and one of Bob Clark's finest films.

Rating: 9/10.

If you liked MURDER BY DECREE, check out:
THE NIGHT STALKER, HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

3 comments:

  1. I agree and nice review Carl. One of Clark's best (RIP).

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  2. I hope this one gets more attention with younger crowds, I had never even HEARD of it Geof! Loved it!

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  3. Great film later redone by Johnny Depp without the same flair.

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