Without a Clue

Without a Clue

Without a Clue is a 1988 comedy film starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley.


The film's premise is that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character created by Dr. John Watson (Ben Kingsley) to enable him to solve crimes incognito. To satisfy public demand to see Holmes in person, he hires alcoholic unemployed actor Reginald Kincaid (Michael Caine) to play him. But when "Holmes" begins hogging the spotlight, a jealous Watson fires him, only to have to call him back when the British Government wants Holmes and no one else to solve a mystery involving stolen Bank of England £5 banknote printing plates and a missing printing supervisor, Peter Giles.

Inspector Lestrade (Jeffrey Jones) is jealous of Holmes' apparent sleuthing skills, and takes every opportunity to spy on Holmes and Watson and to steal their ideas. Just when Watson and "Holmes" discover that Professor Moriarty is the mastermind behind the scheme, Watson is apparently killed in an attempt to capture Moriarty, forcing "Holmes" to solve the case on his own.


The film is one of several spoofs that have been made of the canonical Sherlock Holmes. This particular spoof has two notable features. Firstly the main characters have been reversed, with a bumbling Holmes and genius detective Watson replacing the usual bumbling Watson and genius detective Holmes. Secondly, in the film Watson tires of his fictional creation, Holmes, and tries unsuccessfully to terminate his role, but is forced to bring him back by popular demand. This mirrors the real life situation of the author Conan Doyle (also a physician) who tired of his fictional creation Holmes and tried unsuccessfully to kill him off.


Actor/Actress Role
Michael Caine Sherlock Holmes (Reginald Kincaid)
Ben Kingsley Dr. John Watson
Jeffrey Jones Inspector George Lestrade
Lysette Anthony Lesley Giles (Fake)
Paul Freeman Professor James Moriarty
Pat Keen Mrs. Hudson
Matthew Savage Wiggins
Nigel Davenport Lord Smithwick
Tim Killick Sebastian Moran
Peter Cook Norman Greenhough
John Warner Peter Giles
Matthew Sim Lesley Giles (Real)
Harold Innocent Lord Mayor Gerald Fitzwalter Johnson
George Sweeney John Clay
Murray Ewan Archie

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