Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"The Man with the Twisted Lip" (1986)

Another of the excellent Granada Television versions of a classic Sherlock Homes story.  This was never one of my favorite stories, though it's very memorable.  I like it okay, just doesn't make my top ten.  Anyway, in it, a friend of Watson's asks him to find her husband, an opium addict who's been gone for 48 hours.  Watson intrepidly walks straight into a very nasty neighborhood at night (one hopes he took his service revolver with him!) and finds the man in question in an opium den.  He also finds Holmes, who is in disguise and on a case, not adding opium to his addictions.

Holmes has been hired by Mrs. St. Clair (Eleanor David), a completely different wife, to find Neville St. Clair (Clive Francis), a completely different husband.  This one disappeared before his wife's eyes in that same sketchy part of town, and she suspects he was murdered.  The prime suspect in this murder is a well-known London beggar, the titular man with the twisted lip.

I thought his makeup was pretty cool, looking just amateurish enough to be believable for the period.

The Man with the Twisted Lip
And better than the obviously putty nose that Holmes was sporting in the opium den.

The Man with the Putty Nose And Ugly Facial Hair
I really loved Mrs. St. Clair.  She was strong and not given to hysterics, and I think Holmes himself was rather impressed by her.

Mrs. St. Clair handing a piece of evidence to Holmes.

Old-Fashioned Charm

Holmes and Watson are in their usual attire for most of the story.  Grey suits, white shirts, nothing special.

Holmes and Watson being welcomed by Mrs. St. Clair.
But at one point, they spend the night at the St. Clair house, and Watson wanders around in his night shirt and overcoat, with bare feet, and he is extremely cute.

Watson is all ready for bed when Holmes decides to fill the room with smog.

Also, Mrs. St. Clair had some lovely clothing, especially this cream ensemble.

"Goodbye, my darling, I'm off to a day of intrigue and mystery... I mean, shopping..."
The cream ensemble and her splendid hat.
What she wears at home of an evening when entertaining strangers.
Is this episode family-friendly?  I'd say yes.  There's implied and assumed violence, but you see nothing.  The man and his twisted lip are ugly and creepy, and there's the whole thing about opium addiction.  The visit to the opium den is fraught with tension and some creepy addicts, so it's not like this is a romp in the garden with the butterflies, but there's nothing particularly objectionable.


  1. Hey Madd Rose here! I know you've already been awarded the Liebster Award, but I wanted to recognize you as a wonderful blog, you don't have to answer the questions if you don't want to. I just thought you might be interested. Here's the link:

    1. Aww, thanks! Maybe I'll answer them in your comments, would that work?


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