- X 2019
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Dancing Men
Michael Cox for Granada Television/ITV
directed by John Bruce
starring Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Tenniel Evans, Betsy Brantley, David Ross, Eugene Lipinski, Lorraine Peters, Wendy Jane Walker, Paul Jaynes, Bernard Atha, Tommy Brierley
screenplay by Anthony Skene, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Patrick Gowers
Sherlock Holmes, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
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Hilton Cubitt (Tenniel Evans) calls upon Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
- because a stickfigure drawing of dancing men seems to be worrying his
wife Elsie (Betsy Brantley). Now that sounds like a load of baloney, but
the point is that Cubitt knows nothing of his wife's past other than she
has grown up in Chicago, and he has promised to never ask her. Holmes
takes all of this very seriously, soon figures the drawings of the dancing
men must be some kind of coded message, cracks the code, and finds out the
author of the coded messages is one Abe Slaney (Eugene Lipinski), a
notorious Chicago gangster.
However, when Holmes and Watson arrive at
Cubitt's place in the country, it is already too late, it seems that Elsie
has shot her husband dead and then tried to commit suicide -
unsuccessfully, but she's in too deep a trauma to be questioned. Rubbish,
Sherlock Holmes claims, and he soon finds a third bullet was fired,
apparently at an intruder, finds out where Abe Slaney, who's apparently
visiting the countryside, is staying, sends him a coded message - and has
him arrested for murder. Point is, Slaney was in love with Elsie, and when
she left Chicago, he spent years to track her down, then sent her all
these encoded messages to ... oh, I'm not quite sure why they were in
code. Anyways, Slaney finally pays a visit to Elsie to try and persuade
her to return to Chicago with him - when her husband interrupts them and
before you know it, he and Slaney have a shootout in which he is killed.
Elsie, feeling responsible, then tried to take her own life.
slightly stagey and definitely old-fashioned directorial effort, and a
script that seems a bit dated in the 1980's make this a slightly dusty
affair - but not necessarily dusty in a bad way. A good ensemble cast also
doesn't hurt, only Eugene Lipinski's performance seems a bit too stilted
to really work. In all, this is not a great Sherlock Holmes
adaptation, but ok entertainment - on the old-fashioned side.