Murder by Decree

Not entirely successful, but still an imaginative and ambitious attempt to combine historical speculation, conspiracy thriller, and the world of Conan Doyle. Treading much the same territory as Stephen Knight's book The Final Solution, it sees Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigating the Jack the Ripper murders, and coming up with an answer that involves royalty, Parliament and the Masons. For a full account of the theory - largely convincing - read Knight's book; but this will give you an idea of what may have prompted the murder of five prostitutes in Victorian London. The different threads are neatly interwoven, suspense and explanation being carefully balanced, and the horror of the crimes evoked in suitably nightmarish images. The only drawbacks, in fact, lie in Sutherland's appearance as a loony visionary, and in Plummer's occasional adoption of ludicrous disguises.

Release details

Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Bob Clark
Screenwriter: John Hopkins
Cast: Christopher Plummer
James Mason
David Hemmings
Susan Clark
Anthony Quayle
John Gielgud
Frank Finlay
Donald Sutherland
Genevieve Bujold
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