This evening was my first viewing of Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes since Steven Moffat paid such a beautiful tribute to it with the Emmy-nominated A Scandal in Belgravia. Private Life is a rich, almost meditatively paced (by modern standards) beauty that contemplates the question of Sherlock Holmes’s love life as much as it concerns itself with the mystery to be solved.
When Belgravia came along, I immediately recognized the borrowings from Wilder’s film: Holmes presented with a beautiful naked woman, a matter that inevitably leads him into brother Mycroft’s business. What I didn’t realize then, to my delight tonight, was that Stephen Moffat takes the bittersweet ending of Private Life and pulls a brighter “how it should have gone” with the ending to A Scandal in Belgravia. Without being too spoiler-ful, a very important life that was lost in one is saved in the other. The names may be changed to protect the innocent, but the role is very much the same.
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes has been my favorite Sherlock Holmes film since I first saw a preview of it in the Strand Theater as a boy. A Scandal in Belgravia is, appropriately, becoming my favorite Sherlock Holmes television production now that I am long past boyhood.
It’s nice to see that my tastes have remained consistent, and, as far as Holmes is concerned, at a good level of quality.