With the passing of Gene Wilder earlier this year, I’ve made a point to re-watch some of his classic films. Wilder has been in some of the greatest comedies of all time, so when we received The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother – a Wilder comedy that I hadn’t heard of, I was immediately interested. Let’s dive in and see what we get.
The Movie Itself (3/5)
Originally released in 1975, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother follows the tale of Sigerson Holmes (Wilder), Sherlock’s brother whom you’ve never heard of, and he also happens to be a detective.
Sigerson loathes his brother’s fame, and seeks to prove his worth by solving a big case that has been brought to him by a suspicious singer (played by Madeline Kahn, who you will immediately recognize from other Wilder classics, including Blazing Saddles). Also aiding Sigerson in this venture is Sgt. Sacker (played by Marty Feldman, who will also be familiar to you, I’m sure), a Scotland Yard detective.
So what, pray tell, is the case? Stolen documentation, of course! A certain document that could be tragic in the wrong hands…
Any Wilder fans will be pleased to know that this movie is packed with the slapstick humor you would expect and hope to see from the legend himself. What you may not want to hear is that the jokes don’t all hit home like you would want. Many of the jokes feel forced, as the characters and situations sort of line up specifically to set up a gag, which sort of takes you out of the film a bit.
Nonetheless, there were several times during my viewing where I laughed out loud. I also spent a great deal of time with a smile on my face, which is the point of any good comedy. It does not surprise me, however, that I haven’t heard of this one before, as the humor is largely forgettable, and many of the gags are seen in Wilder’s other movies.
Visuals/Picture Quality (2/5)
The transfer is a bit messy at times with some visible scratches, which is a little disappointing, but for a film that’s over forty years old, it isn’t much of a surprise. The colors are somewhat flat, as the texture fails to pop off the screen, which is possibly from the lack of truly deep blacks.
Having said all that, I tend to give lenience to older films based on the look and feel of the time, but I would have liked this to have gotten a cleaner cut.
Score/Audio Quality (4/5)
Unlike the picture quality, the audio track on this disc was great! The mixing was done really well, with dialog never getting lost in the mix of wacky sound effects and zany gags that frequently cut in.
Special Features (2/5)
Not entirely a surprise for an older comedy, there isn’t a lot of special features included on the disc. What we get here is a commentary with Gene Wilder, which is pretty good, and an SD trailer.
I would have loved for more to be present, but I’m willing to concede that there isn’t a whole lot out there for this movie.
Kino Lorber releases The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother in a sturdy Blu-ray case with single sided art on the sleeve and their usual KL branded artwork for the disc.
I would really like to see distributors including art on the inside of the sleeves, since it can’t be too costly to them and makes the inside of the case look way more exciting. Get on it, distributors!
- Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
- DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Runtime 91 mins
Overall, I thought that The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother was a good time, but it sort of hits a lot of the same gags that Gene does in his other films, just not in an as memorable way. If you are a fan of Wilder and his works, you’ll likely get some laughs, but if you haven’t been swayed by his type of humor, stay away.
You can pick it up here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.