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The Masks of Death
Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death

UK 1984
produced by
Norman Priggen, Kevin Francis (executive) for Tyburn
directed by Roy Ward Baker
starring Peter Cushing, John Mills, Anne Baxter, Anton Diffring, Gordon Jackson, Ray Milland, Marcus Gilbert, Susan Penhaligon, Jenny Laird, Russell Hunter, James Cossins, Eric Dodson, Georgina Coombs, James Head, Dominic Murphy
story by John Elder (= Anthony Hinds), screenplay by N.J. Crisp, based on characters by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Malcolm Williamson

Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing), Irene Adler

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It's 1913, and Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) has loong retired, spending his life as abeekeeper these days-But then an old friend, inspector MacDonald (Gordon Jackson) calls him and Doctor Watson (John Mills) back into action to investigate a series of murders where the victims' faces are distorted by fear while the cause of death simply cannot be determined. But as soon as the investigations seem to be getting anywhere, the home secretary himself (Ray Milland) calls Holmes off the case to help German count von Felsdeck (Anton Diffring) find an obviously kidnapped politician who has been trying to broker peace between Germany and Great Britain - after all, in 1913 these two nations were on the brink of a great war. Several attempts at Holmes' life are made at von Felsdeck's place, but he also notices that the whole case is a charade, that van Felsdeck's actually teh baddie of the piece, and that he wanted Holmes off the other case because he came too close to another, unexpected truth - that the murder series had something to do with a gas attack he planned to launch on London once the war has started  Ultimately, Holmes sees to it that all the baddies get their just desserts and London is not gassed in World War I.

Anne Baxter plays the one woman who has ever outwitted Holmes, but in a story taking place before the events of this film. Here, she's just a red herring.

 

Even if this film's plot is a bit far-fetched and more reminiscent of Universal's slightly silly Sherlock Holmes in World War II than anything else, and its resolution becomes evident way too early, this is a rather entertaining and even at times atmospheric Sherlock Holmes movie in which Peter Cushing proves he has lost nothing of his intensity when playing the character even in old age.

No masterpiece, maybe not even one of the better Sherlock Holmes-movies, but enjoyable nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

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

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD