Douglas Wilmer is Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’s Smarter Brother” (1975) – reviewed by George

This film stars Gene Wilder as the Smarter Brother, Sigerson Holmes. Wilder also wrote the script and directed. Further, he cast the other starring roles with buddies Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman. Douglas Wilmer and Thorley Walters play Sherlock and Watson, who appear off and on throughout the film, in disguise, and start the plot by supposedly leaving the country for Europe and turning over all case work to Sigerson. This work includes the problem of the Redcliff Document, which has been stolen and MUST be retrieved within a time limit.
While we and the three stars think Sigerson is working fairly well on his own, it turns out that Sherlock is in the background pulling strings and making sure that little bro succeeds, accompanied by Watson, of course. Actually Sigerson needs less and less help as he muddles through.
Kahn plays Jenny Hill, a music hall entertainer who is also taking singing lessons from the opera star and impresario Gambetti (Dom De Luise, looking wonderfully young). Gambetti is a partner of Professor Moriarty (Leo McKern), and is the actual thief of the document. Now their problem is how to pass the paper without being caught, and Gambetti’s idea is to have Moriarty’s assistant (Roy Kinnear) sing a specific (and incorrect ) line in his new opera which is to open very soon. This will identify him to Gambetti, who will give him the document, on stage. What could be more foolproof? Well, as it turns out, almost anything.
Feldman plays Orville Stanley Sacker, Sergeant, Records Bureau, Scotland Yard. And he comes to Sigerson, thinking him Sherlock. They band together to recover the Redcliff Document as Sherlock has requested.
The film is wildly funny in places, many times because of what is supposed to be impromptu dancing. The Kangaroo Hop as done by Wilder and Kahn is a great example, and leads me to crediting the choreographer right here, without waiting until the end of the review. He is Alan Johnson and he is a major player in making this movie so funny. Gambetti’s new Italian opera (sung in English) is incredibly hysterical, mainly because of the choreography. In fact. the opera sequence is the highpoint of the picture. The opera’s conductor (Tony Sympson) deserves credit here also, because of his reactions to the ad libbing going on so frantically on stage.
Others who must be mentioned are John Le Mesurier as Lord Redcliff, Susan Field as Queen Victoria, and Nicholas Smith, who plays Hunkston, all muscle and no brain and trying hard to help Sigerson, without ever quite understanding what is needed. And William Hobbs, who was the Fight Arranger and Adviser.
If you haven’t seen this, find it right away. I envy you for seeing it for the first time!

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