At long last, I finally finished watching Billy Wilder's 1970 film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I have a distant memory, from sometime around the time I first started reading the Holmes stories, of my grandfather expressing his disapproval of what he'd heard about the film: I think he was complaining that the rumor was that the film implied some sort of impropriety in Holmes and Watson's relationship. (I'm quite certain my grandfather never actually watched the film, and by the time he was telling me about it, it must have been about a decade old.)
Anyway, I rather liked the film, by the end. Some of the opening sequences, with Watson and some Russian ballerinas were a bit silly, and sometimes Robert Stephens's portrayal of Holmes was a bit on the effete side. But Christopher Lee's Mycroft Holmes was excellent, and the Holmes/Watson duo was pretty well done by Stephens and his Watson, Colin Blakely. Sure, Blakely was a bit on the comic side, but not annoyingly so, as Nigel Bruce often tended to be. Geneviève Page was delightful as Madame Valladon/Ilse von Hoffmanstal, a character who contained echoes of the famous Irene Adler.
Meanwhile, it's nice to see a Sherlock Holmes film shot by a real master director like Billy Wilder. And the score by Miklós Rózsa was lush and beautiful. Overall, I found the film considerably better than I always thought it would be. I'm glad I read the entry on the film in Alan Barnes's handy guide, Sherlock Holmes on Screen. He writes quite positively about it, finally making me want to see it. As it is available as part of Amazon Prime Video, I didn't even have to pay to rent it! I think many Sherlock Holmes fans would enjoy this film immensely. I know I did.
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN. And a longtime fan of Sherlock Holmes.