This article is my contribution to the Billy Wilder Blogathon, hosted by Aurora at Once Upon A Screen (aurorasginjoint.com) and Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled (kelleepratt.com). Click on those links to find the list of contributors to this event.
The film I have chosen to highlight of all the works of Billy Wilder is probably the one of which he was most disappointed, most loved by him, didn't make much money, and was not a hit at the box office. Wilder was a prolific director and writer, one of the best. His movies always carried the Wilder touch of humor, sharp dialogue and human pathos. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (hereafter referred to as Private Life), released in 1970, contains all of those, plus the added touch of the love Wilder felt for the great detective.
|Robert Stephens as Holmes|
|Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely as Dr. Watson|
Holmes: "I don't dislike women, I merely distrust them. The twinkle in the eye and the arsenic in the soup."
Holmes: "You've painted me as a hopeless drug addict just because I occasionally take a five-percent solution of cocaine."
Watson: "A seven-percent solution."
Holmes. "Five percent. Don't you think I am aware you've been diluting it behind my back?"
|Robert Stephens and Genevieve Page as Gabrielle ('the woman')|
Rozsa's music had graced many films, including Ben Hur and Lust for Life. He was at the top of his game with Private Life. I've always believed that music can make or break a movie, and great music can play as important a part as any star or director. Rozsa created a score that included his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 24, which is highlighted in the opening titles. I found the opening truly haunting -- a mysterious box being opened to reveal possessions of Holmes and Watson, with a manuscript that had never been read. Rozsa's accompanying music, particularly when it segues into the concerto, is ravishing to the ear. If you have not seen Private Life, make an effort to do so, if only to relish Billy Wilder's writing and direction, Robert Stephens' marvelous performance, and the music of Miklos Rozsa.