The Masks of Death
|The Masks of Death|
|Directed by||Roy Ward Baker|
|Written by||Anthony Hinds
|Cinematography||Brendan J. Stafford, BSC|
|Edited by||Chris Barnes|
Tyburn Film Productions Limited
|Distributed by||Lorimar Home Video|
|23 December 1984|
The story takes place in 1913. Sherlock Holmes, virtually in retirement, is persuaded by Inspector Alec MacDonald of Scotland Yard to take on a baffling case. Three dead bodies have been found in London's East End, all with no discernible cause of death, but the expressions on their faces suggest that they all died in a state of terror.
Holmes, accompanied by Dr Watson, begins an investigation, but before he can make any real progress he is visited by the British Home Secretary and a German Diplomat, Count Udo von Felseck, who tell Holmes that a German envoy, on a secret mission to Britain, has disappeared from Felseck's house in Buckinghamshire. Unless Holmes can track him down, war between the two countries will become imminent. Holmes considers the possibility that the two matters are related and that someone is not telling him the truth.
Executive producer Kevin Francis had previously attempted to raise funds for a new version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Francis intended to cast Peter Cushing as Holmes, which would be Cushing's third take on the Doyle tale after the 1959 Hammer production and the two-part production for the 1968 television series, and feature a stop-motion dog created by Ray Harryhausen.
While funding for the proposed film collapsed, it led to Francis discussing an original tale with writer Anthony Hinds. Peter Cushing considered Sherlock Holmes to be his favorite role but his age, Cushing being in his 70s, required the part to be written for a much older Holmes.
The trouble is that I'm 70, far too old to play Holmes as he appears in the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- This is Cushing's final portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. He first donned Holmes' deerstalker in Hammer's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959). Later, he took over from Douglas Wilmer in the BBC television series Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes in the late 1960s.
- Alan Barnes (2002). Sherlock Holmes on Screen. Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. p. 88. ISBN 1-903111-04-8.
- Peter Haining (1994). The Television Sherlock Holmes. Virgin Books. p. 90. ISBN 0-86369-793-3.
- "Peter Cushing and Sherlock Holmes: An Overview". Baker Street Dozen. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "The Masks of Death". Baker Street Reviews. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- "The Masks of Death (1984)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- "The Sherlock Holmes Collection". Baker Street Reviews. Retrieved 2012-03-03.