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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Crooked Man

episode 5

UK 1984
produced by
Michael Cox for Granada Television/ITV
directed by Alan Grint
starring Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Norman Jones, Lisa Daniely, Denys Hawthorne, Fiona Shaw, Paul Chapman, Shelagh Stephenson, Michael Lumsden, Catherine Rabett, James Wilby, Maggie Holland, Colin Campbell, David Graham Jones
screenplay by Alfred Shaughnessy, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Patrick Gowers

Sherlock Holmes, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After high-ranking army colonel Barclay (Denys Hawthorne) is found dead next to his unconscious wife Nancy (Lisa Daniely), and for the police it's obvious that she has killed him, as their relationship was a tad strained. But Barclay's second-in-command (Paul Chapman) is not so sure, so he calls in Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) and Dr Watson (David Burke) to investigate. Holme's immediately digs into Barclay and Nancy's past and finds out that when she was a young woman in India, Nancy (in flashbacks played by Catherine Rabett), what you would call an army brat, had many suitors among the young soldiers stationed there, among others Barclay (James Wilby in flashbacks) of course, and Henry Wood (Michael Lumsden).

Holmes next checks Nancy's backgrounds and finds out the evening of her husband's death she has worked at a charity feeding the poor where she has met some derelict with crippled legs wearing Oriental clothes - and that meeting caused her great distress. Holmes of course figures in no time this derelict must be Henry Wood (now played by Norman Jones) and tracks him down even faster.

Now Wood tells the whole story, of how as a young man he and Nancy were pretty much a couple but were exposed to Barclay's jealousy, and when Wood went on a secret mission, Barclay saw to it that he was lured into an ambush, then left him for dead. But Wood wasn't dead but taken prisoner by a local tribe, who tortured him as their pastime. Wood only managed to eventually free himself when a neighbouring tribe massacred the tribe that held him and left him for dead (again). Now though Wood had nowhere to return to, his regiment was long gone and he was thought dead by everyone. But he survived and vowed revenge. The years in India though made a broken man out of him, and he eventually only saved enough money for a passage to England to die in his native country. It was only by chance that he met Nancy, and when later he came to visit Barclay and Nancy, he bore no malice ... but Barclay was so shocked by just seeing him that he had a heart attack - and when falling he hit his head on something, but might already have been dead by then. Nancy was so shocked by this that she fainted, while Wood hightailed it out of there fearing he would be a tailormade suspect. After all that is explained though, he will gladly give himself up to the police to clear Nancy's name.


This episode starts out great, actually, with an exchange between Jeremy Brett at his arrogant best and Paul Chapman as a slightly insecure army officer - and it goes downhill from there: Holmes' methods of deduction seem rather random and not all that ingenious, the long flashbacks are well-made but tell very little actual story of which the outcome is too easy to guess, and the whole solution of the case, that the murder wasn't a murder at all, is just disappointing.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD