21. Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976, TV)
The Quintessential English Gentlemen must be James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. Roger Moore was blessed, indeed, to get to play both, interrupting his Bond run in 1976 to star in Sherlock Holmes in New York. And he makes a splendid Holmes, once you get past the ridiculous sideburns.
Dr Watson was played (bumbling-style) in the film by Patrick MacNee, with a certain eye-rolling lack of patience for Holmes’ hilariously bad fake violin playing. He also gets an excellent interrupted luncheon scene. I daresay that kippers in New York would have been hard to find, and I hope Holmes treated him to a fresh set after the case was closed.
Professor Moriarty’s London study is full of levers, trapdoors, flying daggers, falling chandeliers, and other booby traps worthy of a Bond villain. It was very considerate of him to both Holmes, and the set designers, to have a replica Danger Study built in New York City in time for their final showdown. A follow-that-cab “car chase” in horse-drawn carriages was an absolute ripper of a scene. I also found unending amusement that a character appears to be called Charles Knickers.
The film is clearly inspired by Holmes canon via Baring-Gould, particularly with the appearance of Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory. In this film the memory was apparently questionable indeed. It turns out Irene has a son, young master Scott Adler, and he’s been kidnapped! Upon hearing the boy’s name, Sherlock announces his own: William Sherlock Scott Holmes. In fact, Scott was played by Moore’s own son, Geoffrey.
If you enjoy imagining that the happily newlywed Irene Norton did not in fact flee London with her new husband, but instead returned to Baker Street and, somewhere, somehow, Got It On with Holmes, this movie has implication in spades. I blame Baring-Gould.
There are a few more nods to canon: some amusing costumes, a four-pipe problem, an unfortunately named Fraulein Reichenbach, and “the game’s afoot!”
This is a light-hearted film with some great action and some pretty great gags. It’s well worth watching.