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Murder by Decree

Where to Watch Murder by Decree

PG
1979

Murder by Decree is a 1979 British-Canadian thriller film directed by Bob Clark. The film stars an accomplished cast featuring Christopher Plummer, James Mason, David Hemmings, John Gielgud, and Sir Anthony Quayle. Set in the late 1800s, this moody, atmospheric film provides a unique amalgamation of real-life crimes, enigmatic historical figures, and captivating crime narrative style to create a riveting cinema experience.

Christopher Plummer enacts the part of Sherlock Holmes with impressive poise and sleight of hand, his refined persona and brilliant intellect elegantly carrying forward the iconic role that has been a favorite among murder-mystery aficionados for ages. James Mason, in the role of his loyal ally Doctor Watson, supports him with his seasoned acting skills. Their camaraderie is central to the plot as they work together to solve a series of gruesome murders held in the heart of Victorian London.

The story is skillfully laid out as Sherlock Holmes and Watson are approached to investigate the gruesome Whitechapel murders. The name Jack the Ripper rings throughout London, and its shadowy, gaslit, cobble-stoned lanes have become a hunting ground for the prolific murderer who targets women. This narrative arc offers a fresh take on the much-explored subject of Jack the Ripper by infusing it with the wit and panache of the world's most famous detective.

Bob Clark demonstrates his directorial talent by framing the dark, dimly lit streets of Victorian London as one of the key entities in the narrative. The chilling rawness and enveloping sense of despair make the viewers experience the sheer terror, and suspense that riddles the city, making Murder by Decree a film as much about the era as it is about the characters.

David Hemmings' performance as Inspector Foxborough shines among the side roles. Together with Gielgud and Quayle, he adds complexity and intrigue to the storyline and aids in building up the suspense. As Holmes and Watson dig deeper, they become tangled in a web of conspiracy, power, and corruption that goes much beyond random murders.

What distinguishes Murder by Decree from conventional Sherlock Holmes adaptations is the emotional depth in the characters. Here, Holmes is not just an emotionless machine - he gets involved, angry, and even moved by the horrible crimes he investigates. Plummer's empathetic portrayal of Holmes reflects his human side to a great extent. His banter with Mason's Watson adds lighthearted moments that balance out the dark tenor of the film. In the same vein, Mason's Watson is not just a comedic foil, but a competent and intelligent companion to Holmes, providing an equally important hand in solving the mystery.

The film does a fantastic job of weaving together fiction with historical fact. This is perhaps exhibited the most in its handling of the infamous Whitechapel murders which till today remain unsolved. The way Sherlock Holmes is inserted into this true crime scene makes for a compellingly realistic story which keeps the audience guessing till the end.

The film's haunting score, composed by Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer, heightens the suspense and mystery of the plot while subtly intensifying the grim atmosphere surrounding the murders. The masterful cinematography captures the eeriness of Victorian London while beautifully contrasting it with the luxurious and opulent interiors of the city's powerhouses.

In essence, Murder by Decree stands out in the genre of detective mystery films for its mood, period detail, atmospheric tension, and intricate plot. It effectively marries fact with fiction, creating a captivating narrative around the historical events and figures of the time. The complex characters, outstanding performances, and striking direction make this movie a must-watch for fans of Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, and classic mystery thrillers.

Murder by Decree is a Crime, Mystery, Thriller movie released in 1979. It has a runtime of 124 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.8..

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Where can I stream Murder by Decree movie online? Murder by Decree is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, FuboTV, Crackle, Plex, Amazon, Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Murder by Decree for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.8/10
Director
Bob Clark
Stars
Christopher Plummer, James Mason, David Hemmings, Susan Clark
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