video vault

by Mark Burger

DVD Pick of the week: A Study in terror (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

This forgotten 1965 gem was the first film to pit Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper — and may well be the best.

John Neville plays the Great Detective and Donald Houston his Dr. Watson, prowling the fog-shrouded streets of 1888 Whitechapel in search of the elusive killer, backed by a rich supporting cast including Robert Morley (an utter delight as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft), Frank Finlay (as Inspector Lestrade), Anthony Quayle, John Fraser, Adrienne Corri, Cecil Parker and Judi Dench, here playing the ingenue.

Finlay (reprising Lestrade) and Quayle would return for Murder by Decree, the better-known, more star-studded of the Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper films, but there’s much to be said for this fast-moving, shrewdly written (by Derek and Donald Ford) and beautifully photographed (by Desmond Dickinson) mystery. It’s a little classic in its own right, and a must for Holmes buffs.

A Study in Terror is one of a series of rare titles available through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s new “Screen Classics by Request” series. Log onto for details. Each title retails for $19.94 plus shipping.

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