The Film (3/5)
Being a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes series which starred Basil Rathbone, I always have been interested in taking in the various movies that the character appeared in no matter who played the part; be it Peter Cushing, Ian Richardson, Nicol Williamson, among others, I would always watch them. This would also include the Sherlock Holmes television series with Jeremy Brett and the occasional spin-off or even a spoof.
The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother is that spoof where the late great Gene Wilder(Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) brings his comedic touch to the great detective. Directing the film and playing the role of Sigerson Holmes, Sherlock’s younger brother, Wilder again tries to achieve the greatness of his previous comedies Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein
The main plot of the film is that Sherlock Holmes is going away for three days and wants his younger brother’s help on a very important case, which is to retrieve a stolen document from Queen Victoria that is in the wrong hands and may start a war. Sigerson accepts; he shortly then receives help of a records clerk that Sherlock has informed of the happenings with, Orville Sacker (Marty Feldman, Yellowbeard). Joining the pair is Jenny Hill(Madeline Kahn, Paper Moon)a woman being blackmailed by opera singer, Eduardo Gambetti (Dom DeLuise, Fatso) who just so happens to own that all important document. He makes a deal to sell the document to Moriarty (Leo McKern, Ladyhawke). It’s up to Holmes, Sacker and Jenny Hill to prevent this from happening. Even though this sounds find and dandy, as most already know, the film is played for laughs, with jokes galore, and a few musical numbers including the Kangaroo Hop song.
I thought the film was entertaining, but a little dated, although I do recommend it to fans of Gene Wilder and those who enjoy seventies style humor. The laughs, at least for me, were few and far between, which was a shame with the great ensemble of actors (comedy and otherwise). The climactic swordfight is well done; the characters and the story itself are strong, which includes a romantic subplot with Jenny Hill and Sigerson Holmes.
The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother debuts on blu ray courtesy of Kino Lorber. It’s presented in the original aspect ratio of 1:85:1, in 1080p with an MPEG 4 AVC encode, the image quality is pretty good, but not breathtaking. The colors are solid, but at times lack texture, maybe a little soft in some scenes. Skin tones look good, but it’s not that robust a release, but still it is the best it’s looked on home video.
The audio quality for The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother is the usual Kino DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0. The dialog and musical numbers were perfectly fine. No audio drops or other audio issues were found.
Kino Lorber has given us two extras for this release; there is an audio commentary by the late Gene Wilder and a trailer gallery
While not the greatest release from Kino, it’s still very serviceable. The picture quality is adequate and it does have a commentary with Gene Wilder. I wish I enjoyed the film more for a better viewing experience, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from picking up this release, especially those who are die-hard Gene Wilder fans. I’ll stick with Willy Wonka!