Obviously, Gene Wilder contributed to the “Sherlock Zeitgeist” with his movie THE ADVENTURE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES’ SMART BROTHER.
Gene Wilder plays Sigurson Holmes, the younger brother to Sherlock. When an important document is stolen from Queen Victoria, it is up to Sigurson to get it back. However, Professor Moriarty is looking to steal the document to sell to the highest bidder.
One of the unique aspects of this movie was it got a “real Sherlock” to play Sherlock. The amazing, and underrated, Douglas Wilmer brought Sherlock to life one more time.
Here are five quick thoughts on the movie:
So after doing the amazing YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman joined Wilder on this movie. And you can see the chemistry between them!
When Wilder gives, Kahn takes and Feldman reciprocates!
What we get is something fun and amazing!
Some good Sherlock sites say that SMARTER BROTHER was not their favorite Sherlock movie, which is understandable, but the chemistry between these three are just so much fun!
2. ARE YOU BEING SERVED?
Recently, my wife Laura and I were watching “Are You Being Served?” and we saw Nicholas Smith who played Mr. Rumbold. Thanks to the bald head and the ears sticking out, he was hard to miss!
Wilder screams at him, “Stop sneaking around here!” But Smith playing the “Mrs. Hudson” like role was fun.
And speaking of Mr. Rumbold, how about “Rumpole of the Bailey”? Leo McKern played a Professor Moriarty who was bad at math. Actually, his Moriarty reminded of the Moriarty from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, with a thicker head.
How was he? Just a ton of fun!
The best scene in the movie is when he meets up with Dom DeLuise!
3. DOM DE LUISE!!!
I’m not going to describe it. I will just set it up, that Dom DeLuise plays an opera singer who comes in possession of the document. He and Moriarty struggle for the document and at some point, he trims Moriarty’s nose hair.
4. LET’S COMPARE…
Over a year ago I saw the John Cleese movie THE STRANGE CASE OF THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT.
Check out my write up here.
I do think it is fair to compare the two Sherlock comedies.
While Cleese is, of course, funny. Wilder just holds own (I explain below). While this comedy, is not the greatest of comedies and I see why some Sherlock fans think this is to the strongest of Holmes films, Wilder clearly relies on the material for comedy.
He doesn’t turn this into a tribute of crime shows of the day, the way the Cleese comedy did. Wilder relied on the settings, the characters and he allowed the acting of Marty Feldman, Dom Deluise and Madeline Kahn to shine.
5. SOME THOUGHTS ON GENE WILDER…
Gene Wilder was something unique.
Why was he so beloved?
It was because many of his characters tried to keep a dignified brave face. Yet, with just a tweaking from outside circumstances, he turned into a floppy haired, wide-eyed exasperated, wildly gesticulating person – that on some level, we all are.
Sigurson Holmes, Dr. Franken-Schteen, the Waco Kid (less so) and Willy Wonka were to trying to do achieve the impossible – Sigurson Holmes need to save England, Dr. Franken-Schteen wanted to conquer death and Willy Wonka wanted to make the greatest chocolate in the world.
When it looked like their plans were falling apart, the manic Wilder came out. He tried to change the world by shear force of will.
Who hasn’t wanted to achieve the impossible?
Who hasn’t felt that fear of “The world will now see me for fraud I am!”?
Who hasn’t thought, “With sheer force of will, I can make this work!”?
Gene Wilder brought that to life. And we loved him for it.
And his was a life lived well.