Photo of Peter Cushing as an older Sherlock Holmes and Sir John Mills as his steadfast companion Dr Watson, in The Masks of Death (1984). The film also starred Ray Milland, Anne Baxter, Anton Diffring, and Gordon Jackson. Set in 1926, Holmes is long retired but agrees to take on another case when Inspector MacDonald of Scotland Yard requests his assistance in the investigation of a series of mysterious murders. This would be Peter Cushing’s final portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. There is a truly touching moment in this film when Holmes addresses Watson and says, “I am lost without my Boswell.” I suspect that Cushing, who was renowned for his meticulous preparation, probably selected this line of dialogue (a direct quotation from Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia”) and incorporated it into the script. The reference is of course to James Boswell (1740-1795), who was the biographer of Samuel Johnson.
When I look at images of Peter Cushing and Sir John Mills together, particularly from this period, I am struck by how much older the former looks compared with the latter; in actual fact, Sir John Mills was the older of the two (by five years!). (Click image for source).