Sleuthing with The Great Detective


More than a century after Sherlock Holmes first uttered the now iconic phrase ‘the game is afoot’ to his trusted companion Dr John Watson, detective films – and the brilliant characters the genre draws upon – continue to delight and surprise cinemagoers.

Unique to GOMA

The Gallery’s rare 1929 Wurlitzer style 260 organ, originally housed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre was installed in the Australian Cinémathèque in 2006 to accompany silent films at GOMA with live music.

Two chambers beneath Cinema A contain the organ’s many components, including musical instruments, sound effects and (literal) bells and whistles that are pneumatically operated from the console — the model housed in the Cinémathèque incorporates more of these elements than any other theatre organ in the country. The organ’s largest pipes stretch back under the seating to give audiences a visceral audio experience.

Organist David Bailey playing the Gallery’s 1929 Wurlitzer organ / Photograph: Joe Ruckli © QAGOMA

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes 1916 will be presented with live musical accompaniment from David Bailey on the Gallery’s 1929 Wurlitzer organ.

Sherlock, Jr.

Sherlock Jr. 1924 will be presented with live musical accompaniment from David Bailey on the Gallery’s 1929 Wurlitzer organ.

The Great Detective

‘The Great Detective’ cinema program celebrates a spin on the mystery and thriller genres, and included a breadth of films from the silent era to the present day. The program features some of cinemas greatest sleuths from the professional to the amateur, and includes much loved Alfred Hitchcock suspense-thrillers, gritty dramas, and unforgettable characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

With a focus on adaptations of Christie’s novels, ‘The Great Detective’ further explores the adventures of Detective Poirot in Death on the Nile 1978 and Evil Under the Sun 1982, and Miss Marple in The Mirror Crack’d 1980. Included are adaptations of Agatha Christie’s popular mystery thriller And Then There Were None 1945 and short story ‘Witness for the Prosecution’, adapted in 1957 with the alluring Marlene Dietrich as an enigmatic femme fatale.

Key Alfred Hitchcock films in the program include The Lady Vanishes 1938, Rear Window 1954 and Vertigo 1958 – all with the director’s famed cameo appearances. It also features the Hitchcockian classic not made by Hitchcock Charade 1963. Directed by Stanley Donen Charade is a homage to the famous director and starring Hitchcock’s favourite actor Cary Grant alongside Audrey Helpburn.

Whilst most detectives featured in ‘The Great Detective’ program possess phenomenal intuition and intellect, one character in the line-up exhibits another set of skills entirely – the inept yet much-loved Inspector Clouseau from Blake Edwards’ The Pink Panther series – showcased in A Shot in the Dark 1964.

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From 6 July to 2 September 2018, the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA presents ‘The Great Detective’ – a film program celebrating detectives on screen, bringing together a curated selection of films that delve into the mysterious and complex world of observation and deduction in the service of investigation.

QAGOMA is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque provides an ongoing program of film, video and live events that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers, musicians, and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations and silent films with live musical accompaniment. 

As we do not screen trailers prior to films we suggest you arrive early to allow plenty of time to enter and find a seat. For newcomers to the Cinémathèque here’s a map and information to help you find your way.

Feature image: Production still from Murder on the Orient Express 1974 / Director Sidney Lumet / Image courtesy: Studio Canal