Original Australian Daybill Poster Murder By Decree
Murder by Decree is a 1979 British-Canadian mystery thriller film directed by Bob Clark. It features the Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who are embroiled in the investigation surrounding the real-life 1888 Whitechapel murders committed by "Jack the Ripper". Christopher Plummer plays Holmes and James Mason plays Watson. Both actors were apparently cast after initial plans to feature Peter O’Toole and Laurence Olivier as Holmes and Watson fell through.The supporting cast includes Donald Sutherland, Susan Clark, John Gielgud, Anthony Quayle, David Hemmings and Geneviève Bujold. Murder By Decree is loosely based on The Ripper File by Elwyn Jones and John Lloyd. The film's premise of the plot behind the murders is influenced by the book, Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, by Stephen Knight, who presumed that the killings were part of a Masonic plot. The original script contained the names of the historical suspects, Sir William Gull and John Netley. The film was nominated for 8 Genie Awards in 1980, of which it won 5, including Best Achievement in Direction (Bob Clark), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Geneviève Bujold) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Christopher Plummer). Critically it was a success.