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Movie Reviews: Murder by Decree + She

Murder By Decree (1979)

London is murky and gaslit as Jack The Ripper roams killing poxy whores. So Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer of ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’, ‘Dolores Claiborne’, ‘Dracula 2000’, ‘National Treasure’ and ‘Inside Man’) and Dr Watson (James Mason of ‘The Wicked Lady’, ‘The Last of Shelia’ and ‘Evil Under the Sun’) are asked to investigate.

John Gielgud is the PM, Frank Finlay (of ’Bouquet of Barbed Wire’) is Lestrade, Donald Sutherland is a psychic and Genevieve Bujold is Annie Crook. Holmes and his poufy 1970’s hair peers through the fog to uncover why dirty unwashed whores are being killed.

People yell, Holmes and Watson moan at each other, there is a mysterious information, Holmes has an attack scarf and ’London’ looks like a soundstage. It all comes together in a conspiracy plot of masons, royalty and a secret marriage that ’From Hell’ would later rip off.

Holmes and Watson have affection for each other. It’s better than ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’ and the vast majority of the Basil Rathbone films. Holmes is a strange individual, James Mason has a distinctive voice, male characters have OTT facial hair, the name of Newgate prison is mispronounced, there is reclusive corruption and overacting. This had good parts but overall is boring.

Best Lines:
“Watson. Stir yourself.”

“You instinctive grasp of the obvious.”

“You squashed my pea.”

“But squashing a fellow’s pea!”


~
She (1965)

In 1918 three men don’t head home after WW1, instead they head off to find a lost city. Leo is obsessed with a mysterious woman known as She Who Waits/She Who Must Be Obeyed. His friends (Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbins) get more and more worried as they stagger after him through the desert.

She (Ursula Andress) is mad for the orange Leo and his bad perm in this Hammer adaptation of H. Rider Haggar’s pulp novel. She has a perfidious high priest (Christopher Lee) who looms. Leo and co follow an amateur looking map to the lost city. Leo is a moronically cut price Peter O’Toole. There is bad dubbing and She talks in riddles.

The trio end up in the lost city where She swans around in white chiffon and for some reason, the descendants of Ancient Egyptians dress like Romans. Leo adores the vile She. He is an idiot. She is obsessive and is a cruel evil queen, something that does not really matter to Leo. Executions in a lava pit? Slavery? Rampant classism? No problem for him.

His mates stare at a bad matte painting of a lost city and decide to leave post haste. Leo is enticed by She to sample the flames of eternal life. Leo rejects a woman who does love him and does not really care when She has her dropped down the lava pit. There is an uprising against the cruel She and the static culture she has ruled for millennia. The ending of the film shows what a burk Leo really is and how She has wasted her immortality. This was okay.

Best Lines:
“We survived the war, let’s hope we survive this place.”

“Across the desert of lost souls, through the mountains of the moon, a long and dangerous journey.”

“High priests die as easily as other mortals.”

“Them beds was hard as rocks, Sir.”
“Which is precisely what they are.”

“Time my love is but a sea eternal. We drown in it many times and are washed ashore again and again. But I have never drowned in it.”

“No-one is forever.”

“See how the tread of my feet has worn the stones away?”
Tags: bouquet of barbed wire, movie review, star trek
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