Sherlock Holmes, now basically retired, spends more of his time in the opium dens of Limelight. Fearing for his friend’s health and sanity, Dr. Watson looks to interest Holmes in a recent murder. A young woman was found strangled with a stocking tied around her neck. The police surgeon believes she was a prostitute who died during a sex game with a client. Watson shows Holmes a picture of the deceased girl. Holmes goes to the morgue to look at the corpse.
He determines that she died from ligature strangulation. Inside her throat he finds a silk stocking. She was also a virgin. Holmes believes that the clothes she was wearing were not hers and that she comes from a wealthy titled family. She is identified as Lady Alice Pentney. Lady Alice’s father, George Pentney (Jonathan Hyde), hires Holmes to find the killer of his daughter. Among the general clues Holmes finds a partial fingerprint. He also believes she knew her killer.
Soon another young lady of means goes missing. Lady Georgina Massingham (Jennifer Moule), the daughter of Hugo and Judith Massingham (Julian Wadham and Penny Downie). Georgina is found some time later strung up on a lamppost. Then, at the funeral of Lady Alice another girl goes missing. Imogen Helhoughton (Rachel Hurd-Wood) is taken from the cemetery. Later she is found still alive. Imogen had surgery for a club foot that left scars. Holmes believes she was spared because of her deformity. The killer has a foot fetish.
When she sees Charles Allen (Michael Fassbender), the footman for Mary Pentney (Eleanor David), Imogen has a visceral reaction. Holmes believes he is the killer but his fingerprint does not match and he has an alibi for the killings. Holmes must devise a trap to catch an elusive killer, or is it killers?
“Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking” was released in 2004 and was directed by Simon Cellan Jones. It is a British made for television crime mystery based on the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the second of two Sherlock Holmes films produced by Tiger Aspect Productions for the BBC. The first was “The Hound of the Baskervilles” 2002. In this film, Sherlock Holmes is played by Rupert Everett and Dr. Watson by Ian Hart.
The movie is not based on any of Doyle’s stories but is an original screenplay. This is a little different than your normal Sherlock Holmes case. It is a little darker than the normal Holmes mystery. Amping up the strange story is fog. There is a lot of fog in this movie. Basically the entire film is shrouded in fog. Besides that the story is based on fetishism.
Many felt that the film was geared to appeal more to American audiences. In addition to the dark motive behind the killings, many were abashed that Doyle’s famous detective was smoking opium. I suppose Morphine and Cocaine are more sophisticated choices.
Watson’s fiancé, Jenny Vandeleur (Helen McCrory), is an American. There is an interesting scene where Sherlock is sitting with Jenny discussing the case. She gives Holmes a book called “Psychopathia Sexualis” by Richard von Krafft-Ebing. Jenny is a trained psychoanalyst and rattles off a list of sexual deviancies that has Holmes almost speechless.