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Sherlock Holmes has come crashing back into all our lives.  Though absent from American cinema for 25 years, there was a time when the iconic detective made frequent appearances in movie houses.  1979’s “Murder by Decree” features Christopher Plummer as the infallible detective with James Mason as the ever trusty Watson.  The two make an almost great dynamic duo, their give and take as these two icons of British literature hold the film up higher than it deserves.  It’s a shame the two weren’t paired up again for a more thrilling or innovative mystery.  “Murder by Decree” invents a new mystery for Holmes to solve that author Doyle never dreamt up, the pursuit and capture of equally iconic serial killer Jack the Ripper.  Directed by Bob Clark (A Christmas Story), “Decree” simply takes the pair of Holmes and Watson and injects them into one of the more well-known Ripper theories.  If you’ve seen the Hughes Brothers underwhelming “From Hell” then you’ll have little trouble determining where things are going.  “Decree” coasts by easily on the charm of Plummer and Mason.  These two old pros have little choice but to be classy in their prospective parts.  For fans of Holmes it’s a curiosity that will probably be worth watching.  If you enjoy old pros like Plummer and Mason then it’s a nice curiosity in their long and well-regarded careers. 

Curiosity: Jake the Ripper was the villain of two manhunts in 1979 theaters.  In “Decree” by Holmes, and also by Malcolm McDowell’s time traveling H.G. Wells in “Time After Time.” 


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