There will certainly be some car-door slamming on Baker Street with the release of this essential collection of the long-thought-lost 1960s BBC TV series. The set contains five surviving episodes starring the venerable Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, whose deerstalker he first tried on for size in the 1959 Hammer production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. That classic mystery gets the two-part treatment here and is easily the highlight of the set. The other stories--"A Study in Scarlet," "The Sign of Four," "The Blue Carbuncle," and "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," each clocking in at less than an hour--are a little worse for the abridgment, but watching Cushing's cool and collected Holmes is good to while away an hour or two. To paraphrase Paul Simon, every generation throws a Sherlock Holmes up the pop charts, and Cushing ranks with the best of them (Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett). "I am no policeman," he proclaims at one point. "I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. When the official police are out of their depth, the matter is laid before me." His partner Watson (Nigel Stock) is wrong when he states that "anticipation is the worst part of any adventure." On the contrary, one eagerly anticipates Holmes's arrival on the scene, where he will meticulously examine the clues and use his "remarkable powers of observation" to solve cases the police consider closed. Each baffling mystery is but "child's play" or "commonplace" to him. As Watson gasps after Holmes makes another brilliant deduction, "You amaze me." And so will this collection, no doubt.
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