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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Dancing Men

episode 2

UK 1984
produced by
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)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.


A 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.


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