Think director Billy Wilder and regular scribe IAL Diamond and you think funny, flinty classics: One, Two, Three, The Apartment, The Fortune Cookie. Even timeless comedy Some Like It Hot opens with the St Valentine's Day Massacre and has the shadow of violence throughout.
So here's their take on Sherlock Holmes, originally released in 1970, a version that debunks the myth by alluding to the super-sleuth's misogynism and cocaine habit. Hell, it even shows how a painful past turned him into a cold, calculating cynic. Given all that, it has to be vitriolic, right? Wrong. Pitching Robert Stephens' Holmes and Colin Blakely's Watson into a delirious mystery involving a missing husband, six vanished midgets, villainous monks and the Loch Ness monster, it's affectionate, funny and genuinely moving. The score is lushly evocative, the performances are perfectly calibrated and the widescreen photography warm and elegant.
Originally running at 200 minutes but cut down by the studio, this remains a mischievous masterpiece. The biggest mystery of all is that it's so overlooked.
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