Sherlock Holmes-Volume 2 (1994)

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Released 9-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 304:04
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Jeremy Brett
Edward Hardwicke
Charles Gray
Ciaran Hinds
Case ?
RPI $59.95 Music Patrick Gowers


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I enjoy the Sherlock Holmes stories and was pleased to be able to get the chance to review this second set in the series. The series in question was produced for Granada Television in the UK between 1984 and 1994. In total 45 episodes were made, some of 50 minutes and others of feature length. The star is Jeremy Brett, who makes a wonderful Sherlock Homes, with all the character's foibles and strengths on show. He is not just the great detective, he is also the difficult and annoying man, whose friends, such as Dr Watson, sometimes have trouble putting up with him. Dr Watson was played by two different actors during the series, however only one of them appears on this particular set, Edward Hardwicke. He is a good Watson, brave, a true friend, and an intelligent if somewhat linear thinker. This particular set although released as Volume 2 of 8 is actually the final series, from 1994, also known as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Jeremy Brett, who does not look well throughout this series, died in 1995 of heart failure, due to childhood illness and a long history of smoking.

    The set contains 6 episodes each of approximately 50 minutes duration. Strangely, they are actually in reverse order with Disc 1 containing the last two episodes of the series. They are (in the order on the discs):

  1. The Mazarin Stone - An excellent episode which features Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's older brother, played by Charles Gray) who investigates the case in the absence of Sherlock. The Mazarin Stone is a large diamond which has been stolen and the government are very keen that it is recovered. At the same time, Professor Garrideb, a man who taught Watson at University, is approached by an American, who says his name is also Garrideb, with a fantastical story of how they will inherit a large amount of money if they can find a third male Garrideb. The two stories become intertwined as the mystery deepens.
  2. The Cardboard Box - This is the weakest episode here and the last ever made. It involves the story of Jim Browner (Ciaran Hinds) who marries one of three sisters, without the blessing of the whole family. Both of the other sisters get involved in the marriage causing trouble including murder. There have also been a number of grave robberies.
  3. The Golden Pince-Nez - Mycroft and Holmes team up to investigate the murder of the secretary, Mr Willoughby-Smith, of a well-known professor. The case is brought to Holmes by a policeman (Nigel Planer) who is struggling to understand the case. A number of characters, including the local suffragettes, become involved in the case. This is a good story, if somewhat convoluted. The title refers to an important piece of evidence.
  4. The Red Circle - A woman who runs a boarding house in London comes to Holmes because she is concerned about a strange lodger who has taken up residence in one of her rooms, but refuses to allow the staff to see him. It seems that it may be one of three Italians who have just arrived in London, Gennaro, his wife Amelia, or a man who is after them, Georgiano, who is also a leader of a mafia style organisation, The Red Circle. This is a very good episode with some well done twists.
  5. The Three Gables - The title refers to a house which is owned by an old woman whose grandson recently died after a serious beating. Someone wants to buy her house but she is concerned by the method of their approach. A rich older woman is also involved, who used to be the grandson's lover. Holmes seeks the help of an old Uni chum and Watson gets involved in some fisticuffs. Another very good episode.
  6. The Dying Detective - Considering that Jeremy Brett died shortly after completing this series, the title of this episode may be considered a little prescient. The plot involves Victor Savage, a well-off young man with an opium problem. His wife, Adelaide (Susanah Harker, Pride & Prejudice), is concerned and contacts Holmes because of the involvement of Mr Calverton-Smith, Savage's cousin. Calverton-Smith is an outcast from the medical community despite his knowledge of exotic fevers.

    Generally, this is a very high quality television production, always watchable and generally intriguing. My only minor criticism is that the director in a number of these episodes seems to be very excited about showing scenes through windows and having the windows covered in reflections. This technique is used far too often and becomes quite annoying.

    Fans of the books of Arthur Conan Doyle, or the character Sherlock Homes, should definitely consider this set.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is reasonable but nothing more. It is certainly an improvement over Volume 1 but is still nothing spectacular.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture somewhat lacking in sharpness and was also affected by some quite bad grain. There was no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was average.

    The colour was fairly good considering the source but reasonably dull. There were some colour artefacts in the form of green patches or tinges from time to time, where there was no green colouring.

    Artefacts were not too bad, including various flecks and specks, some macro-blocking especially on faces, some jumps especially in Episode 6 and surprisingly some microphony in Episode 1 at 47:24.

    There are no subtitles.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is quite good considering the source.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The music by Patrick Gowers is a little overbearing at times but is generally suitable to the material.

    The surround speakers were used quite regularly when played with ProLogicII. They included crowd noises, music, atmosphere and resulted in quite an immersive sound field.

     The subwoofer was not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    None!

Menu

    The menu included only the ability to select each episode and a still photo.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This series is formatted quite differently in Region 1, and there seems to be no appreciable difference in video quality, so you may as well go for the local version. In Region 1 individual discs were released containing two episodes each.

Summary

    The last series of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes, made in 1994 for Granada Television.

    The video quality is at best reasonable.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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