Christopher Plummer makes a strange Sherlock Holmes—he’s almost too much of a movie star to play him. Plummer has a great time, creating a mildly mischievous Holmes who willfully appears eccentric. It’s too bad he’s the only interesting thing about Silver Blaze.
I suppose some of Davies’s establishing shots are good, but it’s not him, it’s the scenery. Otherwise, his direction is awkward. The Paul Lewis music is sometimes good, more times bad.
But the big problem is the script. Julian Bond’s adaptation is boring and confusing. He gives the story a prologue and it’s so nonsensical, Davies can’t fit it with the rest of the film.
Some weak performances don’t help. Gary Watson is particularly bad, but Thorley Walters’s Watson is no great shakes either. He mostly just blusters; it’s impossible to believe he and Plummer are friends.
It’s a misfire, but Plummer makes it worth a look.
Directed by John Davies; screenplay by Julian Bond, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle; lighting cameraman, Bob Edwards; edited by Alex Kirby; music by Paul Lewis; production designer, Disley Jones; produced by William Deneen; released by Harlech Television.
Starring Christopher Plummer (Sherlock Holmes), Thorley Walters (Dr. Watson), Basil Henson (Colonel Ross), Gary Watson (Inspector Gregory), Richard Beale (Straker), Donald Burton (Fitzroy-Simpson) and Barry Linehan (Silas Brown).