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Murder By Decree [Import]

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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  • Murder By Decree [Import]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Plummer, James Mason, David Hemmings, Susan Clark, Anthony Quayle
  • Directors: Bob Clark
  • Writers: Arthur Conan Doyle, Elwyn Jones, John Hopkins, John Lloyd
  • Producers: Bob Clark, Len Herberman, René Dupont
  • Format: NTSC, Color, Widescreen, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • Release Date: Dec 15 2009
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B002Q3MYA8
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Product Description

Product Description

Sherlock Holmes hunts his deadliest adversary – the madman known as Jack the Ripper! When Scotland Yard is unable to stop the gruesome rampage of Jack the Ripper, a citizens' committee asks Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer) and his trusted associate Dr. Watson (James Mason) to investigate. Now the brilliant pair must follow a terrifying trail of clues that includes a frightened psychic (Donald Sutherland), a suspicious inspector (David Hemmings), an institutionalized woman (Genevieve Bujold) and the Prime Minister of England (Sir John Gielgud). But even if Holmes' remarkable powers of deduction can unmask the maniacal fiend, can he and Watson face the most shocking secret of all? Find out in this masterful suspense thriller directed by Bob Clark (A CHRISTMAS STORY) that both fans and critics have called the most exciting and original Sherlock Holmes movie ever made.


Murder by Decree has the distinction of being not only one of the best Sherlock Holmes films, but one of the best pastiches (i.e., a Holmes fiction created by someone other than author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) featuring the late-Victorian Era detective. Christopher Plummer is very good as Holmes, and James Mason redeems the many mishandled screen portrayals of Dr. John Watson with a rare, insightful performance. The story may not be unique in post-Doyle Holmes adventures--the private investigator pursues Jack the Ripper during the latter's reign of monstrous murders in foggy London--but the script by John Hopkins (Thunderball) is keenly intelligent, developing concentric circles of power and evil with great subtlety. Before losing himself in Porky's, director Bob Clark did a masterful job of surprising audiences with Murder by Decree, convincing viewers they were watching one kind of drama but then unleashing something very different, very unsettling. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Whilst the more recent Hughes Brothers film `From Hell' (based on Alan Moore's graphic novel) has covered the same ground with the real-life Inspector Abberline taking centre stage, ironically it is this earlier version featuring the fictional Sherlock Holmes that is the real deal.
Irrespective of whether you believe this to be the `solution' to the Ripper mystery (based on Stephen Knights' book `The Final Solution'), this film is the best version of the Ripper story to date in covering most of the established facts as well as setting the story in the context of the concern in Victorian England at the time with the rise of the Radicals. This is down to the intelligent screenplay by John Hopkins (whose script for Sidney Lumet's `The Offence' was one of Sean Connery's best films) who cleverly makes sure that every scene conveys at least one piece of information to help set the story in its proper context.
If that isn't enough, this film also possesses a wonderful eerie atmosphere by the bucketloads thanks to Harry Pottle's sets, Judy Moorcroft's costumes, Carl Zittrer and Paul Zaza's music and Reg Morris' photography (especially the distorted wide angle shots portraying the first person view of the Ripper). Of course anyone who has seen Bob Clark's earlier `Black Christmas' will recognise the same directorial flourishes which Clark uses here. It is hard to believe that Clark's later career was marked by such films as `Porky's' and its ilk as he shows such a great touch here that he should have continued to make films like this rather than the teen comedies which he is best known for.
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Format: DVD
In a 3 February 2003 review below, a Mr Richard A. Young complains about the disc quality of this movie and blames manufacturers for making many faulty discs ("10%"). He claims that there is a three second delay between chapters 14 and 15. What Mr Young doesn't seem to realize is that many DVDs are dual-layered discs. In the transistion between layers, there is often a slight pause or blip. The length of the pause or the severity of the blip depends partly on your DVD player. My player did pause for less than a second between chapters 14 and 15 of this movie. Mr Young may want to upgrade his player if these transitions are as noticable and as bothersome as he claims. This slight pause did not ruin my enjoyment of the movie, and certainly did not prompt me to run about town renting different copies. I guess some people have a lot of time on their hands.
The transfer is clean, colourful and well-detailed. The anamorphic picture looks nice on my 16x9 TV, so those of you with similar TVs can order this disc knowing that the presentation is truly anamorphic and not letter-boxed.
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Format: DVD
Murder By Decree continues the winning streak for Anchor Bay Entertainment. They've done some outstanding work restoring little-seen films and giving them new life on DVD, and Murder By Decree is no exception.
The film postulates the fateful encounter between the Sherlock Holmes/Watson duo (Christopher Plummer & James Mason, both excellent in their roles) and Jack the Ripper, or more accurately, the conspiracy BEHIND Jack the Ripper. The forces, both social and economic, at work in London in the late 1800's are explored fully and to great effect by Director Bob Clark, who is perhaps best known for directing the perennial Holiday Favorite "A Christmas Story". A film about Jack the Ripper may seem like an odd fit for Clark, but he handles the film well, and gets some great performances by the cast, including John Gielgud, Frank Finlay, Genvieve Bujold, and Susan Clark; They're all phenomenal in their parts. Plummer's Holmes seems more human than most other cinematic depictions I've seen, and Mason brings an almost unheard-of degree of professionalism and dignity to the oft-maligned role of Watson, who is usually depicted as a bufoon onscreen. The film suffers slightly from a score which doesn't seem to fit the sinister visuals at all; The music is too old-school, and seems to have been lifted from a cheesy 1940's melodrama.
The DVD comes with an informative booklet, one of my favorite features of Anchor Bay's DVD line. The DVD itself includes commentary by Director Clark, an extensive photo and poster/ad gallery, and Biographies of Clark, Plummer, & Mason. The film transfer is gorgeous, as usual for Anchor Bay. Murder By Decree is probably the best Sherlock Holmes film I've ever seen, and will make a welcome addition to any Mystery/Thriller fan's DVD collection.
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Format: DVD
Although not based on anything written by Arthur Conan Doyle, Murder by Decree is both one of the best Sherlock Holmes movies and it is THE best Jack the Ripper movie ever made. The conspiracy theory that this movie puts forth should be familiar to anyone who is familiar with the Jack the Ripper story. It is basically the same plot as in From Hell. This is a much better movie than From Hell (although that graphic novel is one of the best of all time).
It is inevitable that someone would pit Holmes against Jack the Ripper sooner or later. Holmes made his literary debut around the same time as the Ripper, but Conan Doyle never put him on the case (because Sherlock would have to SOLVE the case and, of course, the Ripper's identity is still a mystery). In this version, fictional characters like Lestrade mingle with real-life characters like Sir Charles Warren - historically, a man whose incompetence hindered the capture of the Ripper. At this point in history, Holmes and Watson would have been comparatively young men at the start of their careers. Christopher Plummer (Holmes) and James Mason (Watson) are middle-aged and elderly, respectively. However, both actors are so fine that it is a pleasure to watch them act. James Mason - an underappreciated actor today - brings the dignity to Watson that Conan Doyle bequeathed him (this character is usually played as a dunce for comic relief). Christopher Plummer plays a humanist Holmes that would have been a tad unfamiliar to Conan Doyle - at one point, Holmes breaks down in tears, something the literary character would NEVER do. Even though Basil Rathbone will always own the part, Plummer plays him as a real person and not a caricature.
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