The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recently Viewed DVD's: No Way Out and The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

No Way Out


106 minutes

Netflix Summary: When rabid bigot Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) and his brother Johnny (Dick Paxton) are admitted with gunshot wounds to the county hospital's prison ward, they balk at being treated by black physician Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier, in his film debut). But the racial tension only escalates after the doctor performs a procedure meant to save Johnny's life -- and he dies on the operating table. The lead doctor at the hospital is portrayed by Stephen McNally and the supporting cast includes Linda Darnell.

My comment: A powerful movie made long before the sinister concept of Political Correctness turned most movies and novels into squishy soft pablum, No Way Out tackles all of the issues related to race at that volatile time and which still plague American society. So many people have been called racist and so many events given that hideous label, especially in the last decade (thanks to the race baiters), that many people (black and white) today don't really know what the term means any more. Viewing this DVD will remind you of what real racism is and, in comparison, also put the lie to many such claims made today. The great Richard Widmark gives a superbly vicious, and uncompromising performance as the ugly bigot; Linda Darnell is stunning as the doomed woman from the projects; and a very young Sidney Poitier is exceptional in his debut role. 5 stars *****
Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

2001NR 3 discs

Netflix Summary: Behind the crime fiction of Sherlock Holmes, the young Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards) and Dr. Joseph Bell (Ian Richardson) formed the true sleuth alliance of mystery investigation.

My Comment: This British TV series with very high production values is based on the premise that Arthur Conan Doyle had a real life model for his famous Sherlock Holmes character: Dr. Joseph Bell. The episodes in this series are (from last episode to first):

– The White Knight Stratagem (2001)
– The Kingdom of Bones (2001)
– The Photographer's Chair (2001)
– The Patient's Eyes (2001)
– Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle, The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (2000) Robert Laing plays Doyle in this, the first one; Charles Edwards takes over the role in the other 4 episodes.

The Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle: Dark Beginnings episode is one one disc (the first one you should view). The next two are grouped together on one disc, as are the last two. Three discs in all, and they should be viewed in order. Joyce and I really enjoyed this series. The late Ian Richardson is great as Dr. Bell, who serves as the model for Sherlock Holmes and as the mentor to Doyle; actors Robin Laing and Charles Edwards are more than up to the task as his apprentice and developing mystery writer. As noted earlier, the production values are excellent and the episodes all make for great viewing on a cold winter night. It was so good we wished there were more. Five stars. *****


  1. Some of the old flicks are still the best. Gives us a look at what used to be.
    We watched "Ondine". An Irish movie about a fisherman who catches a mysterious woman in his net. It was hard to understand, nutso plot.
    No stars for this one!

  2. When I think of "No Way Out" I associate that title with a Kevin Costner/Gene Hackman spy thriller; and Poitier with "A Patch of Blue". Now I have something to watch next week-end.

    I'm been monitoring ebay for The past two months for the Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection, all 14 films on 5 DVD's staring (my favorite Holmes & Dr. Watson) Basil Rathbone (who I met in Tampa FL. in the 60's) & Nigel Bruce. This collection was meticulously restored to theatre quality by UCLA's films & archives. The auctions are a bit pricy but you can find one now & then around $50. I keep getting outbid, but all things come to those who know how to wait.

    As time permits, I'll take a pic or two of us in the snow.
    Oh, one last comment, where do you think I got the idea to post Rockwell's "Freedom From Want" on my blog? 'em Dano for stealing.

  3. Ed, I like the oldies too. Thanks for the tip, we'll stay away from Ondine.

  4. George, Good to hear from you again. I've seen that Kostner/Hackman movie, it's good. If you like the Basil Rathbone Holmes series, I think you'll probably enjoy the Dr. Bell/Doyle series. Good luck on getting your Rathbone Holmes collection. I'll be checking in on your blog to catch those snow pics when you find the time. BTW, Anything here you want, take it. Steal away my friend.