News Bulletin 113

“One of the more liberal and, at times, most mischievous interpretations of both the Canon and the leading characters” [Alex. Kane]


Classic Holmes Film For Belfast

Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is being screened at the QFT Belfast on Thursday 18 April 2013 at 9.30pm as part of the 13th Belfast Film Festival.

Novelist Jonathan Coe, who says this 1970 cult classic is one of his favourites, will be introducing the film. The programme starts at 9.30, and with the film lasting 125 minutes, don’t expect to be leaving the cinema until around midnight. We aren’t organising a special outing, just leaving it up to members to make their own arrangements.



You can book online at Belfast Film Festival or at QFT. The price per person is £7.

You can also book in person at the Belfast Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place, Belfast, BT1 5AD. The Festival is a ticketless event so you’ll be given a receipt. Other events in what is a very impressive Festival line-up can also be booked there.

Alternatively you can just turn-up on the night at the QFT (from half an hour before the programme starts). However, to avoid possible disappointment, booking is the option we’d recommend.


Festival Programme

You can download a PDF of the entire programme brochure at Belfast Film Festival.

You can get a hard copy of this brochure (it’s free) from the Belfast Central Library, other Public Libraries in the Belfast area and also the Belfast Welcome Centre (see above). The QFT April brochure lists the film but doesn’t have anything else to say about it.


Down Memory Lane

For those who revel in this sort of thing, we can tell you that The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes had its Belfast premiere at the Avenue cinema (a Rank Odeon house) in Royal Avenue on Monday 22 February 1971. The building disappeared when the Castle Court shopping centre was built in the 1980s. The Avenue (previously the Regent, originally the Picture House) was directly opposite Garfield Street (still there).

The film ran at the Avenue for 6 days before moving out to the suburbs, for a 3-day run on Thursday 18 March at the Strand on the Holywood Road and also at the Majestic on the Lisburn Road. Both these cinemas were part of the ABC circuit, which also included “Ulster’s super cinema,” the Ritz in Fisherwick Place.

Further suburban sightings were also noted at the Stadium (Shankill Road) and the Broadway (Falls Road) the following month. Again, these were for 3-days runs (a normal feature in cinemas back then, particularly the suburban and provincial ones). Sadly almost all these picture palaces are now but a distant memory, the one exception being the Strand in the east of the city, now a 4-screen and still battling on in what is a fiercely contested market.

The Belfast Film Festival screening is not, as it turns out, the first time that the film has been shown in Belfast since the seventies. Ten years ago to the month (how’s that for a coincidence?) members of the Crew attended a public showing of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The exact date was Friday 25 April 2003 and the venue was the same one as now – the QFT.

The screening of the film, under the banner of the cinema’s “Desert Island Movie” series had been arranged by our own Alex Kane, and the following month he wrote this capsule review for Chronicler (no.4, May 2003).

“Those of us, who gathered to watch The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes at the QFT, enjoyed one of the more liberal and, at times, most mischievous interpretations of both the Canon and the leading characters. Fortunately, as with many of the parodies, the audience left the cinema with their memories enriched and their understanding of Holmes and Watson deepened.”