Murder by Decree

( 3 )

Overview

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's keen detective faces off against one of history's most notorious serial killers in this tense thriller from A Christmas Story director Bob Clark -- arriving in DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Home Entertainment. The feature is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and accompanied by audio rendered in closed-captioned English Dolby Digital Mono. Generous extra features include audio commentary with director Clark, a behind-the-scenes still gallery, the original screenplay on DVD-ROM, a ...
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Overview

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's keen detective faces off against one of history's most notorious serial killers in this tense thriller from A Christmas Story director Bob Clark -- arriving in DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Home Entertainment. The feature is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and accompanied by audio rendered in closed-captioned English Dolby Digital Mono. Generous extra features include audio commentary with director Clark, a behind-the-scenes still gallery, the original screenplay on DVD-ROM, a theatrical trailer, talent bios, and poster and still galleries.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs; Audio commentary with co-producer/director Bob Clark ; Theatrical trailer ; Behind-the-scenes still gallery; Poster and still gallery; Talent bios ; DVD-ROM: Original screenplay
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Murder by Decree is an unusual take on both a Sherlock Holmes movie and the Jack the Ripper murders. Unfortunately, unusual is not always good. What's strangest about Bob Clark's film is that it abandons everything viewers have come to expect from a portrayal of the world's most famous detective. Christopher Plummer is a fine actor, but his Holmes is everything the iconic version of the character is not -- emotional when he should be detached, impetuous when he should be rational, morally indignant when he should follow the evidentiary path with neutral disinterest. Instead of cerebral, this Holmes is a man of action, getting into numerous dust-ups and even lunging to strangle a character he considers unjust. When Murder by Decree is not taking itself too seriously, it's taking itself too lightly, framing the relationship between Holmes and Dr. Watson a passive and ineffectual James Mason as whimsical fodder for a weekly buddy television series, something like Magnum P.I. The film's small scale also mimics that of TV -- Clark's team floods his locations with fog, ostensibly creating an air of mystery, but actually trying to cloak the fact that his London is just three streets on a small set, shot from different angles. Excepting a few sudden action scenes, the film is basically two hours of turgidly paced talking-head sequences, capped by Holmes prancing around a courtroom, dramatically pointing the finger of blame at every British official short of the Queen of England. Since John Hopkins' script does a poor job generating sympathy for the victims or establishing any sense of London torn asunder, it's hard to understand why Holmes is so agitated.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/21/2003
  • UPC: 013131213393
  • Original Release: 1979
  • Rating:

  • Source: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Time: 2:04:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christopher Plummer Sherlock Holmes
James Mason Dr. John H. Watson
Donald Sutherland Robert Lees
Geneviève Bujold Annie Crook
David Hemmings Inspector Foxborough
Susan Clark Mary Kelly
Anthony Quayle Sir Charles Warren
John Gielgud Lord Salisbury, Prime Minister
Frank Finlay Inspector Lestrade
Ken Jones Dock Guard
Chris Wiggins Dr. Harding
Tedde Moore Mrs. Lees
Terry Duggan
Peter Jonfield William Slade
Ron Pember Makins
June Brown Elizabeth Stride
Hilary Sesta Catherine Eddowes
Technical Credits
Bob Clark Director, Co-producer
Dave Appleby Sound/Sound Designer
Peter Childs Art Director
Stan Cole Editor
Kenneth Ian Davis Production Designer
Rene Dupont Co-producer
Robert A. Goldstone Producer
Joe Grimaldi Sound/Sound Designer
Ken Heeley-Ray Sound Editor
Len Herberman Executive Producer
John Hopkins Screenwriter
Ariel Levy Asst. Director
Judy Moorcraft Costumes/Costume Designer
Reginald Morris Cinematographer
Harry Pottle Production Designer
Paul Zaza Score Composer
Carl Zittrer Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [3:36]
2. Murder in Whitechapel [6:49]
3. Mysteries [4:47]
4. The Game's Afoot [6:45]
5. Information, Please [6:34]
6. Invisible Writing [3:56]
7. Robert Lees [4:53]
8. Secret Signs [5:28]
9. Blood Ritual [2:51]
10. Intuitive Reasoning [5:18]
11. A Helping Hand [6:09]
12. The Puzzle [3:49]
13. Funeral [6:22]
14. Hospital Search [5:13]
15. In the Madhouse [3:03]
16. Annie Crook [8:18]
17. She Must Be Saved [4:11]
18. Into the Fog [5:39]
19. The Informant Unmasked [4:44]
20. Holmes and the Ripper [4:14]
21. The Star Chamber [7:53]
22. A Case of Conscience [6:59]
23. 221-B Baker Street [2:31]
24. End Titles [3:38]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Chapter Selections
   Extras
      Trailer
      Commentary
         With Co-Producer/Director Bob Clark
            On
            Off
      Poster & Still Gallery
      Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery
      Talent Bios
         Bob Clark
         Christopher Plummer
         James Mason
      Screenplay
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Devotees of 'Jack the Ripper' lore will love this film.

    The filmmakers really did their homework concerning the original Jack the Ripper slayings. Indeed, the film captures VERY WELL a specific theory on the identity of the ripper. To say more would spoil the ending. Very good historical fiction and a good mystery film to boot. If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, the filmmakers are somewhat attentive to the details -- but they do take some liberties that might rub you the wrong way (Holmes -- with a GUN!?). While I don't think Christopher Plummer made a very good Holmes, the rest of the casting was excellent. The storytelling was, in my view, ... odd. Early on, it focused on extraneous evidence and glossed over the key items. It tightened up as the film progressed. One final note -- this is not your standard Holmes drawing room mystery. It has several bloody and violent scenes. If that kind of material is a real turn-off for you, you might want to consider something else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Jack the Ripper... elementary.

    First rate cast and excellent cinematography. The chemistry between Mason and Plummer keep this movie taunt, yet filled with sly humour. Perhaps the finest Ripper movie ever made, and one of the best modern Holmes' tales... a thoroughly engrossing film, well worth the watch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of my favorite movies!

    Using a cast rich with great actors, this portrayal of the mystery of Jack the Ripper keeps you on the edge of your seat. Christopher Plummer and James Mason make a wonderful team as Holmes and Watson. The soundtrack is equally good. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is intrigued by the Whitechapel murders of 1888.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews