SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE DEADLY NECKLACE (1962) Reviews and Severin Blu-ray box set news

 

Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace is a 1962 German mystery crime thriller involving Professor Moriarty and a “priceless treasure”.

Directed by Terence Fisher (The Mummy 1959; Dracula 1958; The Curse of Frankenstein; et al) from a screenplay by Curt Siodmak (Donovan’s Brain; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man; The Wolf Man), based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Produced by Artur Brauner (Rings of Fear; The Dead Are Alive!; Las Vampiras; The Bird with the Crystal Plumage).

The West German-French-Italian co-production stars Christopher Lee, Thorley Walters, Hans Söhnker, Hans Nielsen and Senta Berger.

Director Terence Fisher and star Christopher Lee were apparently not happy with the film. Fisher called it “a film well worth left alone” and Lee lamented, “I think it was a pity, this film, in more ways than one. We should never have made it in Germany with German actors, although we had a British art director and a British director. It was a hodgepodge of stories put together by the German producers, who ruined it. My portrayal of Holmes is, I think, one of the best things I’ve ever done because I tried to play him really as he was written, as a very intolerant, argumentative, difficult man, and I looked extraordinarily like him with the make-up. Everyone who’s seen it said I was as like Holmes as any actor they’ve ever seen both in appearance and interpretation.”

Blu-ray release:

Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace will be released on Blu-ray on May 25th 2021 as part of Severin Films’ The Eurocrypt of Christopher Lee nine-disc box set.

The Eurocrypt of Christopher Lee Collection – Severin Films 9-Disc Blu-ray + CD Box Set

Reviews:

“It is tempting to lay the blame for the cinematic fiasco on the script supplied by Curt Siodmak, a well-known name in the field of both classic and bad genre films, but some sources claim that the script he originally supplied was much altered by an unknown rewriter, so he can be given a benefit of a doubt. What is without a doubt, however, is that not only that the plot of the film has very little to do with its supposed literary source – The Valley of Fear – but it also lacks any and all suspense and features very little real action.” A Wasted Life

“The voices are considerably unsuitable, but if you can look past that and concentrate on the physical attributes of Lee‘s performance, you’ll witness what a wonderful Holmes he is. Lee‘s interpretation of the character is one of the finest ever, giving it his all and even donning some fun disguises in some of the better scenes. Walters is an engaging Watson (kind of a cross between Nigel Bruce and Andre Morrell) and Sohnker is a perfectly sinister Moriarty.” DVD Drive-In

” …touted as a ‘gruselig-spannenden Leichenrevue’ (chiller-thriller corpse-cabaret) […] it remains hard to judge thanks to the disastrous dub applied to Lee‘s brusque Holmes and Thorley Walters‘ faithful Watson.” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema

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“Getting Fisher to come to Germany to direct Christopher Lee as Sherlock Holmes was a coup–but for whatever the behind-the-scenes-reasons, it didn’t work out. How much Fisher actually directed of The Deadly Necklace and why he was given co-director billing with someone else, remains unknown. On the quotes I have found of Fisher talking about the film, he practically dismisses it.” The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog

“This was undoubtedly a missed opportunity. Production values are little better than television of the time and Siodmak’s script simply does not give Lee enough detecting to do. It’s an adequate time passer but rather flat and more than a little disappointing. And Holmes’ seeming obsession with ‘The Times’ newspaper is a little odd!” Mark David Walsh

“It’s a decent B-mystery, it’s just a shame it’s been horribly dubbed and clearly done rather on the cheap, it could’ve been even better than it is. You can’t help but feel you’re watching a C-grade 1940s serial or something rather than a feature film from the 1960s. Christopher Lee (and his many fans) deserve better than this, I think.” Shameless Self Expression

“While Christopher Lee is absolutely right in his opinion that he and Thorley Walters more closely resemble the literary Holmes and Watson than any other on-screen pair, and there’s no question that Lee gives a good performance as Holmes, there is very little else that works in this movie. There are a couple of interesting moments between Holmes and Moriarity…” Watching the Detectives

Choice dialogue:

Sherlock Holmes: “Thank you, I never drink before six.”

Cast and characters:

Christopher Lee … Sherlock Holmes
Thorley Walters … Doctor Watson
Hans Söhnker … Professor Moriarty
Hans Nielsen … Inspector Cooper
Senta Berger … Ellen Blackburn
Ivan Desny … Paul King
Wolfgang Lukschy … Peter Blackburn
Leon Askin … Chauffeur Charles
Edith Schultze-Westrum … Mrs Hudson
Bruno W. Pantel … Auctioneer (as Bruno Panthel)
Heinrich Gies … Texas Buyer
Bernard Lajarrige Bernard Lajarrige … Inspector French
Linda Sini … Tart
Roland Armontel … Doctor
Max Strassberg … Johnny
Danièle Argence … Times Librarian (as Danielle Argence)
Franco Giacobini … Texas Collector
Waldemar Frahm … Butler
Rena Horten … Emily Kellner (as Renate Hütte)

Filming locations:

CCC-Atelier, Spandau, Berlin, Germany (studio)
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
London, England

Production dates:

July 1962 to August 1962

Technical details:

86 minutes
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.66: 1
Audio: Mono

Original title:

Sherlock Holmes und das Halsband des Todes

Fun facts:

The Arthur Conan Doyle estate vetoed the producers’ plans to set the film in the present day and cast German comedian Heinz Erhardt a Doctor Watson. Scenes had to be reshot due to the Doyle estate not approving the dailies.

Director Terence Fisher apparently wrote memos to Brauner complaining the film was too static and not cinematic enough, leading to many rewrites by various uncredited screenwriters.

Lee donned a false nose to play the famous detective for the first time (he later reprised the role in Incident at Victoria Falls (1991) and Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1992).

Although the film was shot in English, the film was later dubbed in post-production by different actors, mainly American.

Related:

Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema – book, 2016

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