Charlton Heston is Sherlock Holmes in “The Crucifer of Blood” (1991) – reviewed by George

Not your usual “Sign of Four”; the story has been reworked rather astoundingly. Mary Morstan is now Irene St. Claire (Susannah Harker), though she and Watson still fall for each other despite the considerable difference in their ages; there is no pearl a year, no meeting by the left-hand column at the theatre, the greedy brother is dead, but the other is not sympathetic, and so on. However, we still have Jonathan Small as the third British conspirator and his little friend Tonga (Kiran Shah, who also played Tonga in the Jeremy Brett version).
The story begins during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 at the Red Fort of Agra, the besieged stronghold of the Mogul Emperors, currently defended by the British. The theft of the jewels has already taken place, and though the Indian conspirators are cheated out of their share, no one goes to prison in the Andaman Islands. Rather, Small escapes to the Andamans (he has to meet Tonga somewhere). The thieves and conspirators are Major Alistair Ross (Edward Fox), Captain Neville St. Claire (John Castle), Jonathan Small (Clive Wood), Durga Dass (Kaleem Janjua), Wali Dad (Stefan Kalipha), and The Leper (Roly Lamas). This is a very good Holmes film, and I was surprised that the changes made it so much more enjoyable.
Charlton Heston is somewhat laidback, but it works very well, and Richard Johnson plays Watson as more emotional than Holmes, but since Holmes is rather cool, he is less emotional than in other portrayals. Of course Sherlock is as capable of outrage and impatience as any man, and does demonstrate that propensity. The present day is 1887, and Ross is in a wheelchair, attended only by one servant Birdy Johnson (James Coyle).
There is clever use of a sepia-toned black-and-white for some shots, and I found it amusing that St. Claire called Alistair “Alley”, while Ross called Neville “Nelly”. And the score by Carl Davis is very good. Inspector Lestrade is played by Simon Callow, and his assistant, P.C. Hopkins  by Lloyd McGuire. Well worth any trouble you may have in finding it. I had a really good time.
NOTE: A crucifer today usually is a person carrying  a crucifix in a religious procession. In the story the crucifer is the map of Agra on which the three conspirators made their blood oath; hence the crucifer of blood.
Based on the Play by Paul Giovanni, Written and Directed by Fraser C. Heston.

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