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The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It


The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It

The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It
Cover of the DVD release
Directed by Joseph McGrath
Produced by Humphrey Barclay
Written by John Cleese
Jack Hobbs
Joseph McGrath
Starring John Cleese
Arthur Lowe
Ron Moody
Connie Booth
Music by Ivor Slaney
Cinematography Ken Higgins
Edited by Rusty Coppleman
Distributed by Independent Television (ITV)
Release dates 1979
Running time 55 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It is a 1977 comedy starring John Cleese. It is a low-budget spoof of the Sherlock Holmes detective series, as well as the mystery genre in general.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • See also 3
  • External links 4


The film begins aboard a luxury aircraft as Dr. Gropinger (Ron Moody) (an obvious parody of Henry Kissinger) travels on a goodwill tour. He misplaces his diary and is thrown into a panic as, without the diary, he no longer knows where he is or is supposed to be next. Stepping off the plane, he is shot dead after extending greetings in Hebrew to a congregation of Arabs. Soon after, the U.S. President (Joss Ackland in a caricature of Gerald Ford) receives a threatening letter signed only "Moriarty", claiming responsibility for the death. The letter also claims Moriarty has set in motion a plan that will allow him to gain control of the world. The president dispatches a top agent to London to work with the world's top law enforcement officials and find a strategy to combat Moriarty.

Headed by an incompetent Englishman (Denholm Elliott), the committee settles on contacting the "present-day" Sherlock Holmes (John Cleese). He is enrolled by the Commissioner of Police (Stratford Johns) to lay plans for the capture of the descendant of Moriarty before he gains control of the world. Holmes reveals himself to be a great eccentric, with an affinity for certain addictive drugs (a nod to the literary Sherlock Holmes' experience with cocaine). He is accompanied by the descendant of Doctor Watson (Arthur Lowe), both a medical doctor and utter fool. Unfortunately, the commissioner is murdered before leaving the Holmes residence, his death mainly the result of Watson's rampant stupidity.

The duo then proceed to Scotland Yard to discuss the situation with the committee. Before any plans can be made, much of the committee is murdered by a distant sniper. Without their help, Holmes dreams up a plan to invite all of the great detectives in the world to a party, with the hope of discovering the true identity of Moriarty. He reasons that Moriarty will be unable to pass up a chance at attacking all of them in one fell swoop. Many fictional detectives are parodied and handed gruesome deaths while Holmes and Watson wait in a suite. The murderer is revealed to be none other than an exact copy of Watson. Due to Watson's ineptitude and the impersonator's great skill in deception, Holmes is faced with a quandary in determining the real culprit (who is actually Moriarty).


See also

External links

  • The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It at AllMovie
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