Wednesday, September 03, 2003


A Video Review of "A Study in Terror"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper. Although made in 1965 it's a concept worthy of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and this should have been much better.

A Study in Terror wants very badly to be a Hammer film and that's only part of its minor charm. The song in the Whitechapel pub by streetwalker played by Georgia Brown is a nice touch. Whitechapel and its inhabitants are however much too clean to be believable. And despite the title there is not much terror portrayed. Some scary music and a lurking figure in the darkness are all the terror we get from this mid-sixties Jack the Ripper.

It is the completely misunderstanding of the character of Sherlock Holmes that helps bring this one down. The choice of John Neville (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) is not a believable one in my eyes. He is serviceable in the role but lacks the attitude and confidence to pull it off. He and Donald Houston who plays Dr. Watson do little more than ape the classic team of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Robert Morley however is inspired casting as Mycroft Holmes. Blink and you'll miss Judi Dench.

The odd camp feeling can be traced not to the time period completely but perhaps to the director. James Hill made his bread and butter directing the British cult series "The Avengers" before tackling this version of Holmes. This explains a lot.

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