With a brand new Sherlock Holmes movie hitting the big screen in just a matter of days, it probably goes without saying that there will be a demand for classic adventures featuring the world’s most famous detective. The folks at A&E have unearthed this collection from the bowels of the BBC and are presenting these episodes from the ‘60s series starring Peter Cushing for the first time here in the States.
The back of the box claims that “only five episodes of the BBC’s celebrated 1960s Sherlock Holmes series survive. Coincidentally, all five star the inimitable Peter Cushing…” This is somewhat true, but also a bit misleading. The series spanned two seasons in the U.K. The first batch was produced in ‘65 and starred Douglas Wilmer in the title role. As I understand it, nearly that entire run exists, only it’s never been released on DVD either here or in the U.K. For the second season, which was produced three years later, Wilmer was unwilling to return, so Cushing was hired to take his place. (Nigel Stock played Watson in both seasons.) As is often the case with old BBC TV, many episodes were scrapped and the Cushing season was hit the hardest. Actually, six episodes still exist, but two of them comprise “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” so it’s actually five stories, rather than five episodes. The six episodes are spread across three discs, and as one might expect from a color ‘60s BBC show, the majority of the program is shot on videotape, while the occasional exterior work is shot on film. The picture and audio quality is acceptable across the board, but you can tell that no real restoration work has gone into this set.
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