Monday, September 5, 2016

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother; crime comedy, USA, 1975; D: Gene Wilder, S: Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Roy Kinnear

London, 19th Century. Sherlock Holmes' younger brother, Sigerson, lives outside the life of the famous detective, but is interested enough to accept a job from Jenny Hill, a singer who contacts him for help because she was blackmailed into stealing a valuable document from the British government by opera singer Gambetti, and now wants Sigerson to get it back. With the help of his new assistant, Orville, Sigerson finds out that Professor Moriarty is behind all of this. During the opera, when Gambetti was suppose to hand the document to Moriarty's assistant, Sigerson manages to steal it, defeat Moriarty, return the document to the government and fall in love with Jenny.

One of Gene Wilder's lesser films was ironically a performance he directed himself, in his feature length debut film as a director, where he took on the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, though serving only as his brother. Except for "The Woman in Red", "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" established that Wilder only directed watchable to weak comedies: the sequence where Orville meets Sigerson in his apartment for the first time is very funny and even offers some bits of comedy gold (while explaining the nature of his visit, Orville is interrupted by Sigerson on several occasions, when the latter asks him about the tea, milk and sugar, and thus Orville has the habit of slapping himself and starting to explain all over again. Finally, when is about to introduce himself again for the fifth time, Orville suddenly verbally "jams" and repeats his sentence again and again, like a broken record, until this time Sigerson slaps him himself), yet it is sadly left as the only inspired highlight moment in the film, since too many later jokes end up contrived, misguided, forced or just plan bad, with the low point arriving in the form of the lame situation in which Orville and Sigerson are unaware that their butts are visible from two holes behind their suits during a diner party. The film has too many cheap attempts at humor, though Wilder has his moments even in this silly edition, mostly due to his energetic performance, whereas Marty Feldman's "chameleon" eyes ignite a chuckle at least once in the film.


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