Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes

Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war; Comedy, Germany, 1937; D: Karl Hartl, S: Hans Albers, Heinz Rühmann, Marieluise Claudius, Hansi Knoteck, Hilde Weissner

Morris and his friend Macky disguise themselves as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in order to get a job. They stop a train and board in, noticing every passenger really mistakes them for real detectives. They settle in a hotel and accidentally get a different luggage in which they find money, while the policemen bring them to the inspector who even begs them to take over the case of the valuable missing stamps. Morris discovers that the stamps were held by a counterfeit expert in his castle, who left everything to Mary and Jane. The criminals attack them, but they are saved by the police. On the court, Morris discovers the truth and finds the stamps, while writer Doyle begs him to write a book about it.

Crime comedy "The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes", although shot in the golden time period of black and white cinema of the 1930's where numerous great films emerged, is still far away from the notion of a classic. The most bothersome is the unambitious direction by Karl Hartl to whom the disguise of the two characters as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is an inducement just for light entertainment: who knows what Chaplin would have done out of that, or what moreover Keaton did in his excellent film "Sherlock Jr." The famous German comedian Heinz Ruhmann is pretty good, the concept of the story about deceiving of the public with appearance is interesting, but the whole set up and mood fail to craft something exciting or stimulative in the finished routine result. Among the best gags is the one where writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle bursts into laughter when he hears the news that Sherlock Holmes is in the hotel.


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