Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Newest Sherlock Holmes Scores High in "Terror"

Cleveland Press May 19, 1966

Add John Neville, a skillful English actor to the long list of performers who have played Sherlock Holmes, and place him high on the list.

Basil Rathbone, who did the role in 14 films and innumerable radio shows, remains in memory as the best of them but his stature may be due as much to nostalgia as to accurate recollection.

Neville is very acceptable, however, and far better than the most recent screen Holmes, Peter Cushlng, in the 1959 remake of "Hound of the Baskervilles" or Ronnie Howard, who was the Great Detective in a television series in the mid-50's.

NEVILLE fits the physical description of Holmes that author Doyle gave us, is meticulous in his interpretation of the part but is less showy in the extremes of alternating aloofness and warmth in the character, characteristics that Rathbone seemed to have done better.

As Dr. Watson, Donald Houston is pleasant and offers a touch of humor.

The screenplay, not based on any of the Doyle stories, has Holmes pitted against Jack the Ripper, the maniacal killer who murdered prostitutes in London's red light district.

THE WRITERS have kept Holmes and Watson in character although they have added a couple of strenuous fights to provide the film with action. The solution nevertheless, comes through Holmes' deductive abilities. At best it's a fair screenplay with several red herrings tossed in along the way along with a few clues to the real killer.

The setting is late 19th Century England and it is colorfully created. In this respect it is better than 12 of those Rathbone films which had Holmes operating in a modern setting.

There's a touch of both gore and sex in this which take it out of the family class, a shame since Holmes was and continues to be a delightful character.

Incidentally, Holmes buffs will be interested in the appearance of Mycroft Holmes -- brother of Sherlock -- in this film. He is wonderfully played by Robert Morley.