Murder by Decree 1979 (1979) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Sherlock Holmes investigates the murders commited by Jack the Ripper and discovers a conspiracy to protect the killer. Runtime: 110 mins Release Date: 09 Feb 1979
The Greatest Sherlock Holmes Film EVER Made!! (by samtroy-7)
I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan and normally I am very much against Non-canonical Holmes stories. However, when I discovered that there were two films which placed Holmes in the case of Jack the Ripper I immediately bought the DVD for this film and I was more than impressed. The clever plot and the superb acting make this film perfect.Christopher Plummer gives a fine performance as the great sleuth, his performance as Holmes is almost as powerful as Jeremy Brett's, I was also impressed to see a rarely seen side to Holmes' character – emotion. James Mason is also on fine form in the <more>
role of the faithful friend Dr John Watson.The dedication given to the film by the cast and crew is shown, the camera movements at the scene of the first murder shown in the film is powerful and extremely suspenseful.This film is a film which should not be missed fans of Sherlock Holmes.
Excellent film plausible solution to the Ripper (by WWalrus)
This is an excellent, thoughtful version of the Jack the Ripper murders. It is not a gory, slasher film, but a thought provoking idea of what might have actually happened. Yes, it is put forward as a Sherlock Holmes case, but it would work with any other detective substituted. There is a long history that the Ripper could have been a member of royalty and this film explores that idea. I will not go further into the plot so as to not spoil it. Only one comment - one of the lead Scotland Yard detectives is quoted shortly before his death as saying: "Of course we knew who the Ripper was, <more>
but we could not prosecute because of who it was."Christopher Plummer and James Mason was absolutely perfect as Holmes and Watson, probably the best to ever act these roles. The entire cast is wonderful with not one false note from anyone.For another take on Holmes and The Ripper, there is a very good film, "Study In Terror" that is a bit more sensational, but still very good.
I first saw Murder By Decree during its original theatrical run and have never forgotten the scene with the pea. Yeah, Lawrence Olivier Bob Clark's first choice would probably have been a terrific Watson but he never could have played the pea scene as did James Mason. It's a great entertainment, dripping in gaslit fog. See it.Holmes: I'm only the Prince of Detectives? Then who is the King?Watson: Lestrade.And then they laugh. Amazing stuff.My only complaint with the Anchor Bay DVD is the audio. I've got a pretty decent 7.1 set-up here and audio is critical for me. I really <more>
wish they'd do a remixed version. For this one I'd double dip.
Forget the later versions -- this one is the best. (by ghill47)
I happened across this film recently and found it to be a superb forerunner to FROM HELL which was filmed many years later. To be frank, this version is a lot more believable. It impressed me deeply because of the excellent depiction of the cramped, narrow, damp and winding back streets of Whitehall, all shrouded in permanent fog, and with a queasy, chromatic musical score to alert you that not all is well and dark deeds await.The characters are believable and well played: Plummer underplays Holmes when so many other actors take him over the top: James Mason is an earthy, skeptical Dr. Watson <more>
whose blusterings are amusing without ever become a pain in the tail; we have a cooperative and good-natured Lestrange, a suitably shell-shocked Mary Kelly, and Anthony Quayle puts in not only an incredibly gruff and abrasive performance as Scotland yard's Charles Warren, but also wins the movie's bizarre-makeup award. Donald Sutherland also modestly underplays his role as the sickly psychic with a mustache that Wyatt Earp would have envied. And of course, the unmasked villains are suitably sinister and reek of the madness being perpetrated on the panicky London slum.Also deserving a nod are John Gielgud and others who play high government officials with the proper stuffy condescension and total disregard for "inferiors" of whatever class or religion, putting the stability of the monarchy far above those the ruling class are supposed to be caring for. It's hard to visualize Holmes an an insurrectionist, but if this was not the appropriate situation, nothing would be.This film would merit a 10 out of 10 except for the peculiar character played by David Hemmings, who seemed out of place to begin with and brought too much attention to himself as someone to keep an eye on, as if he were a walking clue for the more inattentive viewer. Good performance, just an awkward and blatant addition to the story characters.Forget the drug-hazed and farcical Johnny Depp character of FROM HELL: rather, watch the clear-headed relentless Holmes take on Saucy Jack with such a fervency that he overlooks more hidden, sinister forces attempting to steer him towards satisfying their own ends....
The Plummer-Mason double-act is on top form (by Corky1984)
Sherlock Holmes has been played by numerous actors, the great Basil Rathbone being the best in my humble opinion, but Christopher Plummer does a fine job in this offering. There is just the right amount of sarcastic wit in his chats with Watson. James Mason is the highlight of the movie, his portrayal of Holmes' sidekick nicely judged and at times very funny. This film is so good as a result of its main cast, all of whom are talented actors. The director manages to create a chilling atmosphere at times, whilst the style of the film is nicely British. Murder by Decree demonstrates how the <more>
Brits can hold their own in a world of Hollywood domination. Its worth a look any day.
"Murder By Decree" is the ultimate meeting between the two greatest figures of Victorian mystery: Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. There have been other meetings between the two including a terrible novel in which Holmes WAS the Ripper , but none quite as satisfying to devotees of both Holmes and the Ripper case.There is widespread speculation, among those of us who consider Sherlock Holmes a very real person, as to his possible role in investigating the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888. Given Holmes's passion for unsolved mysteries, it seems unlikely that he would not have <more>
taken up the Ripper case. And if he did, it seems very unlikely that Holmes would NOT have solved it. So why does the Ripper's identity remain a mystery? Is the Ripper case one of those "unpublished" cases that Dr. Watson occasionally refers to in the Sherlock Holmes stories? If so, why did Watson choose not to publish an account of Holmes's involvement in the Ripper investigation."Murder By Decree" answers these questions with true Holmesian style. Christopher Plummer, as Holmes, is a deductive reasoner with an ounce of compassion and a sharp sense of justice. James Mason, as Watson, is not a bungler, but is an active, intelligent aide to Holmes's investigation. And we have scenes that are mainstays of the classic Holmes tales, including the chase through dark, foggy, gaslit streets, and a visit by hansom cab to a dark foreboding asylum, which resembles Baskerville Hall.And then there's the Ripper, the ultimate unsolved mystery. The movie places Holmes among real-life characters in the Ripper drama, such as Charles Warren, Robert Lees, Mary Kelly, Annie Crook, and Prime Minister Lord Salisbury. It re-creates the murder scenes with historical accuracy. It shows us the East End as it was and more or less still is : A horrific maze of alleys that is the perfect stalking ground for a predator like the Ripper. The shots from the Ripper's POV, moving through a maze of dark, foggy alleys, accompanied by ominous footsteps and heavy breathing, are particularly scary. This air of mystery surrounding this unknown fiend is partially why the Ripper murders are remembered even today.The movie takes one of the more imaginative Ripper theories the "Prince Eddy/Annie Crook" conspiracy as its explanation for why Holmes and Watson kept silent about their involvement in the case. The movie becomes exceptional when Holmes himself becomes a victim of the conspirators. Holmes discovers to his horror that he has been used. The conspirators have purposely set him on the Ripper's trail, knowing that he will lead them to the elusive Mary Kelly, who becomes the Ripper's last victim.Is the "Annie Crook" theory true? Probably not, but it still refuses to die. The NEXT Ripper movie, "From Hell" starring Johnny Depp, uses the "Annie Crook" theory as its base. But who cares if it's fiction! It's STILL a terrific "conspiracy theory." And it makes for a case worthy of Holmes, one which he solves but cannot win. He stops the conspirators, but emerges from the case outraged and grief-stricken over having led the murderers to Mary Kelly. A more flawed, more human Holmes we have rarely seen, outside of Jeremy Brett.But Watson reminds Holmes that Mary Kelly died willingly to protect the bastard child of Annie Crook and Prince Eddy, the source of the Ripper conspiracy. And Holmes, through his investigation of the conspiracy, has insured the child's safety. There is still decency in the world. The closing credits, played to music from Holmes's violin, give a sense that, with the Ripper nightmare over, Holmes and the city of London will emerge into the light once more.
In 1888 London, Sherlock Holmes Christopher Plummer and Dr. Watson James Mason are asked by a citizen's group to find and stop Jack the Ripper. For some reason the police don't want Holmes to investigate. However he does and as the bodies pile up Holmes and Watson slowly uncover a trail that might lead to the highest reach of British government.This was released and died VERY quickly in 1979. I'm probably one of the few people who saw it in a theatre. The critics almost unanimously praised it, it had a huge cast of good actors...but it just died. That's too bad because <more>
this is a very good Sherlock Holmes film.It's atmospheric LOTS of foggy streets , has exquisite production design and is beautifully directed by Bob Clark I love the way the first murder is done--very effective . Also the acting is great. Plummer gives a very good, different interpretation of Holmes--he makes him more emotional than other actors have...but it works. Mason nicely underplays the role of Watson--he does not make him a bumbling fool like Nigel Bruce did back in the 1940s. In small roles Susan Clark, John Gielgud and especially Genevieve Bujold are excellent. Donald Sutherland, Anthony Quayle and David Hemmings unfortunately are not that good.There are some problems with this movie though. It's too long a long sequence involving Watson and some prostitutes could have been completely cut and is needlessly convoluted. Also they throw politics in the plot which seems out of place. And, strangely, Holmes' deductive reasoning is almost never used. He comes across more as a protector of the people than a detective. Plummer's performance though carries it through. It's quite bloody too--not enough for an R rating but pretty strong for the PG it got back then PG-13 wasn't a rating yet .Reservations aside though, I think this is one of the best Holmes' film ever made. Recommended.
The story of Jack the Ripper has fascinated me for most of my life. It was what led me to read Sherlock Holmes. In 1966, a film entitled "A Study in Terror" opened. It was the first film pitting Holmes against the Ripper. I saw this years later and I am still impressed by it. While not accurate at all, it has remained a favorite of mine to this day. When "Decree" came out, however, I was bowled over. Here was the actual, historical event fleshed out more accurately than it had ever been done before, in spite of the fictional framing. Is it factual? For the most part, yes. <more>
The main characters are all here, even my favorite suspect, the Duke of Clarence. Holmes has rarely been this intelligent on screen, and Mason as Watson is a very able assistant. Many good actors appear in large, important cameos, including John Geilgud, David Hemmings, and Frank Finlay. Credit must go to Bob Clark, who made the despicable Porky's, for creating a beautifully atmospheric film. From the foggy opening credits to the wonderful end title music, this Holmes stands near the top. On a side note, Frank Finlay portrays Inspector Lestrade in both "Decree" and "Study in Terror." He is a remarkable actor who is a treat for the eyes and ears. Filled with crackling dialogue, humor and suspense, this is a must for any Holmes fan and for anyone who likes a well-crafted mystery. I give it an "8" out of "10."
This is the definitive Jack the Ripper Movie (by TheEdge-4)
I am surprised at some of the negative comments already posted about this film. Whilst the more recent Hughes Brothers film 'From Hell' based on Alan Moore's graphic novel has covered the same ground with the real-life Inspector Abberline taking centre stage, ironically it is this earlier version featuring the fictional Sherlock Holmes that is the real deal.Irrespective of whether you believe this to be the 'solution' to the Ripper mystery based on Stephen Knight's book 'The Final Solution' , this film is the best version of the Ripper story to date in <more>
covering most of the established facts as well as setting the story in the context of the concern in Victorian England at the time with the rise of the Radicals. This is down to the intelligent screenplay by John Hopkins whose script for Sidney Lumet's 'The Offence' was one of Sean Connery's best films who cleverly makes sure that every scene conveys at least one piece of information to help set the story in its proper context.If that isn't enough, this film also possesses a wonderful eerie atmosphere by the bucketloads thanks to Harry Pottle's sets, Judy Moorcroft's costumes, Carl Zittrer and Paul Zaza's music and Reg Morris's photography especially the distorted wide angle shots portraying the first person view of the Ripper . Of course anyone who has seen Bob Clark's earlier 'Black Christmas' will recognise the same directorial flourishes which Clark uses here. It is hard to believe that Clark's later career was marked by such films as 'Porky's' and its ilk as he shows such a great touch here that he should have continued to make films like this rather than the teen comedies which he is best known for. The sense of unease which the music and the camera-work in particular bring to this film is seldom seen elsewhere the aforementioned 'Black Christmas' and Bernard Rose's 'Candyman' are the only examples that come to mind that I am aware of which make for genuinely uncomfortable viewing.If it wasn't for Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke's great television portrayal of Holmes and Watson, I would argue that Christopher Plummer and James Mason also manage to create the definitive portrayal of the great detective and his trusty assistant. Certainly theirs is the best film portrayal although I retain a great fondness for Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely in Billy Wilder's 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes' which is a slightly more comic tale . Mason in particular avoids the trap of making Watson the cretinous sidekick which certain other versions have essayed particular the Basil Rathbone versions which I can't believe are regarded as definitive by so many people . The warm friendship between the two is a particular highlight of this version.Praise be to Anchor Bay who have released the Region 1 DVD of this great film with a 124 minute version which seems to feature extended scenes which I have not seen previously.Don't listen to the detractors. This is a truly great film which I doubt will ever be surpassed in its portrayal of the Jack the Ripper murders or as a Sherlock Holmes mystery.