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This 1985 adventure directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man) and written by Chris Columbus (Gremlins) may not have much to do with the Sherlock Holmes of Arthur Conan Doyle's invention. But it is a delightful and somewhat unexpected combination of exciting elements: Victorian-era, foggy-London mystique, Gothic horror, and Indiana Jones-like exotica. Nicholas Rowe plays Holmes as a schoolboy at a boarding academy for young men. Paired with the owlish, reticent young Watson (Alan Cox), Holmes embarks on the solution of a mystery that involves a hallucinatory and lethal drug, and a religious cult celebrating ancient Egyptian rites of mummification. Levinson makes handsome and crisp work of this Steven Spielberg production, without a trace of the treacle that often found its way into other Spielbergian projects at the time (The Goonies). Rowe is wonderfully convincing as a teen incarnation of the Great Detective, and while Cox mostly maintains Hollywood's traditionally unflattering idea of Watson, he does bring warmth and comedy to the role. The cast includes Freddie Jones as an eccentric inventor, Anthony Higgins as the villain, and Sophie Ward as Holmes's love interest.

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PA016704 Young Sherlock Holmes DVD (1985/Barry Levinson) $14.99