15 July 2024
Murder by Decree (1979)
124 min.
Directed by Bob Clark.
With Christopher Plummer, James Mason, Donald Sutherland, John Gielgud, Genevieve Bujold, David Hemmings, Anthony Quayle, Susan Clark, Frank Finlay.
An exquisite Bob Clark-helmed thriller/mystery.

London, 1888.

Prostitutes are being savagely murdered by Jack the Ripper in the Whitechapel district and Sherlock Holmes (Plummer) and his associate Watson (Mason) are brought in to investigate.

But when Holmes dives in to the murky abyss of clues and fragments of truth, he unravels a plot that reaches far beyond the sordid hand of a single killer...and deep into the very fabric of Britain's government.

The crimes of a lone serial killer may pale in comparison to the cruel and unjust lies and manipulation Holmes is about to uncover...

Stellar performances from all involved here, especially from Plummer who lends Holmes just the right degree of pragmatism, painted with a thoughtful sensitivity we haven't necessarily seen in the character before.

Director Bob Clark does a magnificent job of recreating Victorian-era London, complemented by a classy score from composer Paul Zaza.

And the superb climax with Plummer and Gielgud is unforgettably powerful and touching.

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