Skip to comments."Sherlock Holmes" - Doyle WOULD be Proud (An In-Depth Review & Comparison of the Recent Film)
Posted on 12/31/2009 10:29:32 AM PST by TexCon
Sherlock Holmes hails as the most portrayed movie character of all time with 75 actors providing their unique spin to Doyles legendary character in over 200 films.
Having grown up reading some of the Holmesian canon, I always found Basil Rathbones, who always portrayed a great antagonist too, portrayal very true to the literary characterization of the great detective as much as I longed for some sardonic wit. I have a friend across the pond who swears Jeremy Bretts rendition of this classic figure in the 80s and 90s for British television was the most true- to-form.
Yet, due to the canon being so developed and intricate with its various givings and treatments of and back-stories to Holmes, greater difficulty arises in passing judgment over a proper and commendable portrayal of the detective. Many devoted fans even believe there exists a notable difference in Doyles version of Holmes after his three year hiatus in the 1890s to focus on historical novels. When challenged on this point, Doyle once wrote in his defense that though Holmes survived the fatal danger of Reichenbach Falls (while fighting Professor Moriarty), he never recovered as the same detective from the pre-Hiatus years.
(Excerpt) Read more at thoughtsfromatexan.com ...
If I recall correctly, many of Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes movies were NOT derived from Doyle’s stories but were plots created by the movie people...So the storylines were not classic.
Same problem with the Downey movie (and Avatar, for that matter)... rotten script that hampers even good actors..
In my opinion, it will be tough to beat the work of Jeremy Brett.
When he died, I stopped watching the series.
People told me his replacement was “good”.
But he’s not Jeremy Brett.
Nicol Williamson played Holmes with a mad vengeance in The 7% Solution.
He’s the runner-up.
Like Lord of the Rings and Hercule Poirot, so also with Holmes. The books are a unique and unbeatable experience, but the films (Jackson's LOTR, Suchet's Poirot, and Rathbone's and Brett's Holmes) are enjoyable also.
I had in mind a recent viewing of Rathbone in the “Hound of Baskervilles” when writing this. I’ve never seen any of Brett’s depictions - will definitely make a point to.
I found the original screenplay with the secret, magical cult somewhat amusing. I wonder if they’ll stick more to Doyle’s works when detailing the conflict between Moriarty and Holmes?
From what I’m told, the Brett series was meticulously faithful to the texts.
Does the new movie Holmes smoke, or has political correctness done to Holmes what it has done to Bond?
I acquired the complete canon of Sherlock Holmes when I was about 14 or 15. Ordered it from Sears and Roebuck around 1938. Still have it, aged and worn though it be.
Amazon offers most of the Holmes stories free on Kindle. There are some stories missing, evidently for political correctness, like “A Study in Scarlet”.
I always enjoyed Rathbone’s portrayal of Holmes.
He’s still attached to his pipe thankfully as well as being a giver of cigars.
I bought a leatherbound complete Sherlock Holmes back in the 80s when I was a teen. It is still here and opened sometimes. Jeremy Brett was fantastic as Holmes.
As in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, where Holmes matched wits with the Gestapo.
Then I will be going to see it. I’m a lifelong pipesmoker, and Sherlock is an icon to pipesmokers.
A quick line (no pun) wasn't needed. But there was a quick action that suggested it: Holmes drinking the eye solution. That eye solution was cocaine that Dr. Sigmund Freud thought highly of and had wanted to patent for eye surgeries (if memory serves me right). Downey has quite a history of drug abuse and maybe he didn't want any overt references.
I was relieved that there was no political subtext -- thinking at first that Holmes would be a new sponsor/hero for the recent atheist movement (adherence to science and all that) -- like other movies that are out this season. This film was refreshingly neutral. I'm liking neutral movies all the more and so will the public. Holmes to be enjoyed as Holmes, however, quirky and bohemian.
The cinematography was also top notch.
Which are those?
I'm happy to hear what you have to report about this movie--I'm no fan of the fashion of injecting political subtexts.
I was thinking of Avatar and District 9.
Not meticulously -- not hardly, in some cases! I like that they have many, many scenes where the words of the actors are word for word the same as the characters in the books. However, a few of the BBC (Brett) versions bastardized the original plots something awful, especially the later episodes. However, they were, in my opinion, generallly very faithful to the spirit of the texts. For my money, that's the more important consideration.
To me, Brett has been the most comfortable Holmes for somebody familiar with Conan Doyle's written stories, as beautifully written and gripping today as they were 115 years ago.
Since I'm not a purist, though I've read every single SH story from several to dozens of times over my lfe and read them regularly still, I think Robert Downey Jr. is a great Holmes for "dramtatization." Vincent Price hosting the BBC (Brett) series said Conan Doyle gave playwrights permission to do what they pleased with Holmes -- marry him off, whatever. C Doyle divested himself of any ego in the Holmes character.
I enjoyed the heck out of the new Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Like some other reviewers, I like that there is zero politicization in it that I could smell, except to say that we'd better get ready for "a storm coming."
Thanks for the feedback! I’ve not read a single SH story. What’s the best one or two to start?
They're ALL good! I enjoy the intricacy of the stories and the training they give one in learning that what you see is not necessarily the reality of things. Even more, I enjoy and ponder the skill of Conan Doyle of in telling the story. It is very fine writing and constantly instructive.
It’s a shame that the Jeremy Brett series didn’t start five or six years earlier. After the first couple of seasons, Brett’s deteriorating health gradually became apparent to the point of distraction.
I thought Downey’s Holmes was a bit too slovenly, with his “House” five-day beard, tattered clothes, and incredibly filthy apartment. In fact, the film made London look like a horribly filthy place, which perhaps it was in those days.
As for the filthy apartment ... in the written stories, Holmes was pretty much a slob. London was never described overall as being awful and filthy, but I read a bio of Conan Dolyle, who was origially from Edinburgh, Scotland. Doyle was very happy to leave that city because it was absolutely horrid, filthy, and grim.
Regarding Holmes’s apartment, yes, Doyle described it as untidy, but in the Downey film it looked disgustingly DIRTY. And where Rathbone’s Holmes was well-dressed, and Brett’s Holmes was downright dapper, almost a fop, Downey’s was rather sloppy. But I actually liked the Downey film better than I thought I would because they didn’t contemporize Holmes as much as I thought they would, apart from the aforementioned sartorial issues. I thought they’d have Holmes jumping in and out of bed with women and possibly men, and Freudianizing the whole thing. Yes, they introduced a mild sexual element, but it was at least consistent with Holmes’s expressed admiration for Irene Adler in the original stories.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've seen the Rathbone and Brett series, and read all the Doyle stories.
The Rathbone movies dumbed down the character of John Watson. The Brett series restored some of the original intent.
In the short stories, Dr. Watson is a war hero from Afghanistan. He's wounded in battle, recuperates in a British hospital, and then starts a medical practice in London when he meets Sherlock Holmes. Watson is introduced to Holmes via an acquaintance. They become roommates.
What is special of the Holmes series is the method of storytelling. All but four of the stories are written in the first-person of Dr. Watson. This makes the character of Holmes even more vivid as seen through Watson's eyes, but also makes Watson a strong character in his own right.
WhenI first saw the old Basil Rathbone Holmes movies, I was angry the way they portrayed Watson as a buffoon, even though Nigel Bruce did very well with that characterization. The portayals of Watson by Burke and Hardwicke were much truer to the original stories. In fact, in the Brett series the dialogue was sometimes rearranged so as to give the Watson character a more substantial role, or at least more speaking parts, than he had in the original stories.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep.
Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”
“I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes,” replies Watson.
“And what do you deduce from that?”
Watson ponders for a minute.
“Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?”
Holmes is silent for a moment. “Watson, you idiot!” he says. “Someone has stolen our tent!”
You recall that I am a Homes nut! Funny, I was just talking to my mom last night about how I've read the Holmes stories dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of times over the past four decades. He was such a skilled writer, with constant lessons that can be learned in reading his work!
I think he would have liked your joke! Thanks for the good laugh!
That’s my preferred variant of what is a finalist for “funniest joke in the world”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World’s_funniest_joke
He chews Coca leaves and drinks just about anything.
Why are you telling me this?
That’s for sure. I’m a pipe smoker and collector. Those of us in the pipe smoking/collecting community have a special affection for Sherlock.
"Watson, the games afoot!"
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