Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Factual error: In the machine gunning of the train carriage scene the weapon would not have been available to the soldiers in 1891. While an order by the British army is said to have been placed in late 1888 for 120 Maxim guns it first saw only limited use during the First Matabele War of 1893. It officially entered British Service only in 1896, seeing action during the First Boer War.

Other mistake: In the scene when Sherlock Holmes and his crew are running through the forest, the barrel of "Little Hansel" can be seen being raised up to 50°, which would cause a parabolic trajectory, but the shell travels in a horizontal path as it blasts through a tree and past Holmes.

Factual error: In the scene straight after the opening credits we are taken to Baker Street where construction work is being done. This work is identified by a sign with a logo as being for the underground line. The logo type face was developed by a Mr. Edward Johnston for London Underground from 1913 but the distinctive typeface used in the film was not in place until 1919. This is obviously long after the 1891 setting of the film.

Continuity mistake: When they are running through the woods, the marksmen shoots one of the fleeing gypsies. The scene goes to slow-mo and we see the bullet goes through him and hits the tree behind him. When the scene switches to the women watching him fall, the tree behind him is unmarked.

Factual error: In the opening scene Watson is typing on an Underwood typewriter. Given the last scene of the movie, the first scene took place shortly after Holmes' "death", namely in 1891, or maybe 1892. Underwood started making typewriters in 1895 but those were labeled as "Wagner." The Underwood label was first used in 1900.


Factual error: On the train after escaping the munitions factory, Holmes stops breathing and after checking for a pulse, Watson begins chest compressions. This is taking place in 1891, however chest compressions were only first proposed in academia in 1891 and the first successful use wasn't until 1903, and even then wasn't in the CPR fashion Watson was using.


Factual error: When Holmes and Watson climb back into the train carriage, Watson pulls the door shut with ease. As the train is going quite fast (50+ mph) and the door opens against the carriage it would be take a lot more effort to close, as he is pulling it against the wind the train is producing.

Continuity mistake: The soldiers on the train that are set on fire simply disappear once the door is closed, including the fire.

Continuity mistake: In the ballroom scene of the peace conference, Sherlock is dancing with Madame Simsa in the close-up, when the shot goes to the wide shot of the dancing, the dancing Sherlock and Simsa are nowhere to be seen, instead Simsa can be seen in the lower left hand corner of the scene, talking to Watson.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Watson goes to the telegraph office and finds it is locked, he kicks the door in, visibly damaging the frame. But once he comes out the frame is fixed and the door is lockable.

Continuity mistake: When Sherlock Holmes has been taken into the alley by Irene and is confronted by her escorts, in one shot the braid of the wig worn by Holmes is down his back and in the next shot it is over his shoulder, in the front.


Factual error: In the scene at the peace-conference, Sherlock says that he had been to one of the professor's lectures in Oslo, although Oslo was called Christiania during Sherlock's entire life period, and wasn't renamed before 1925.


Continuity mistake: The handkerchief on Moriarty's chess table changes positions between shots.


Continuity mistake: Sherlock looks at the ring of a murdered man, who was killed in a blast along with about a dozen other men in Paris, and the ring was plain. But later, the ring is shown again, and this time it has the letter M on it, a large letter, and it is very ornate - nothing like the other ring.


Other mistake: When Holmes and his gang are running from the Germans through the forest, one of Moriarity's German lackeys yells that it is time to introduce them to "Little Hansel" (in subtitles). Strangely, what he really yelled was, "zu viele Fuchse fur euch paar Huhner," or "too many foxes for those few chickens." Not sure why they made such a change in dialogue (where the German phrase was ever thought to fit in).

Factual error: In the scene where Holmes enters the factory in Germany, a map can be seen on a table with small German black-red-gold tricolor flags sticking up from it. However, the flag of the 2nd German Empire at the time of the film's setting (1891) was black, white, and red, and was so from 1871-1918.

Continuity mistake: Position of hat changes when Watson wakes up at his wedding.


Audio problem: In the beginning when Holmes "shoots" the dog, Gladstone, with a dart and Watson says "What have you done to Gladstone now?", look closely and Watson's mouth doesn't move.

Factual error: In the scene where Renè was dying, Dr. Watson examines the dying man and the poisonous arrow that hit him, and concludes that the venom used was curare. Curare is a paralysing poison that causes the body to relax to the degree that respiratory muscles stop contracting and the victim dies of asphyxiation. René on the other hand perished in strong cramps and foaming of his mouth.

Continuity mistake: The first time Sherlock shows his camouflage suit, its brown colour changes between the first and second shot. The first one matches exactly that of the room, but the second doesn't. Clearly the first one was achieved with a green-chroma-suit, and the second angle was a coloured fabric.




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Sherlock Holmes: Uh, hmm... Right. Where are the wagons?
Madam Simza Heron: The wagon is too slow. Can't you ride?
Dr. John Watson: It's not that he can't ride... How is it you put it, Holmes?
Sherlock Holmes: They're dangerous at both ends and... Crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs?



The final chess match between Moriarty and Holmes is based loosely on a famous chess match between chess masters Bent Larsen and Tigran Petrosian. The match involved the sacrifice of a queen and a surprise checkmate, thus mirroring Holmes' apparent sacrifice of himself to stop Moriarty.