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"Sherlock Holmes" - Doyle WOULD be Proud (An In-Depth Review & Comparison of the Recent Film)
Thoughts From A Texan ^ | December 31st, 2009 | Joseph "Tex" Dozier

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 Doyle’s legendary character in over 200 films.

Having grown up reading some of the Holmesian “canon”, I always found Basil Rathbone’s, 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 Brett’s 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 Doyle’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Music/Entertainment; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: doyle; holmes; review; sherlock; sherlockholmes

1 posted on 12/31/2009 10:29:33 AM PST by TexCon
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To: Borges

ping


2 posted on 12/31/2009 10:35:27 AM PST by EveningStar
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To: EveningStar

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.


3 posted on 12/31/2009 10:46:57 AM PST by ArtDodger (Reread Animal Farm (with your kids))
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To: ArtDodger
“In my opinion, it will be tough to beat the work of Jeremy Brett.”

Indubitably.
When he died, I stopped watching the series.
People told me his replacement was “good”.
Fine.
But he’s not Jeremy Brett.

Nicol Williamson played Holmes with a mad vengeance in The 7% Solution.

He’s the runner-up.

4 posted on 12/31/2009 11:00:32 AM PST by Salamander (I'm sure I need some rest but sleepin' don't come very easy in a straight white vest.....)
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To: TexCon
There are three great portrayers of Holmes: William Gillette (the first and most prolific, but whose work was mostly pre-film); Basil Rathbone; and Jeremy Brett. I have seen everything Rathbone and Brett did, and they each are excellent.

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.

5 posted on 12/31/2009 11:09:18 AM PST by Charles Henrickson (Started reading Holmes when I was a kid.)
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To: ArtDodger

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?


6 posted on 12/31/2009 11:23:49 AM PST by TexCon ("Strike while the iron is hot, and make it hotter by striking"-Oliver Cromwell)
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To: Salamander

From what I’m told, the Brett series was meticulously faithful to the texts.


7 posted on 12/31/2009 11:28:53 AM PST by Borges
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To: TexCon

Does the new movie Holmes smoke, or has political correctness done to Holmes what it has done to Bond?


8 posted on 12/31/2009 11:29:54 AM PST by Daveinyork
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To: TexCon

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.


9 posted on 12/31/2009 11:34:49 AM PST by Ole Okie
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To: Daveinyork

He’s still attached to his pipe thankfully as well as being a giver of cigars.


10 posted on 12/31/2009 11:38:24 AM PST by TexCon ("Strike while the iron is hot, and make it hotter by striking"-Oliver Cromwell)
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To: Ole Okie

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.


11 posted on 12/31/2009 11:50:30 AM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: ArtDodger
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

As in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, where Holmes matched wits with the Gestapo.

12 posted on 12/31/2009 11:54:14 AM PST by denydenydeny (The Left sees taxpayers the way Dr Frankenstein saw the local cemetery; raw material for experiments)
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To: TexCon

Then I will be going to see it. I’m a lifelong pipesmoker, and Sherlock is an icon to pipesmokers.


13 posted on 12/31/2009 12:13:00 PM PST by Daveinyork
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To: TexCon
in the stories, Doyle made Holmes into a morphine addict and habitual cocaine user – a quick line here and there in the movie would have surely explained some of the detective’s idiosyncrasy and behavior.

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.

14 posted on 12/31/2009 12:43:50 PM PST by Blind Eye Jones
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To: Borges

The cinematography was also top notch.


15 posted on 12/31/2009 1:19:37 PM PST by Salamander (I'm sure I need some rest but sleepin' don't come very easy in a straight white vest.....)
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To: Blind Eye Jones
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.

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.

16 posted on 01/02/2010 1:32:24 AM PST by Lonely Bull
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To: Lonely Bull

I was thinking of Avatar and District 9.


17 posted on 01/02/2010 8:32:54 AM PST by Blind Eye Jones
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To: Borges
From what I’m told, the Brett series was meticulously faithful to the texts.

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."

18 posted on 01/03/2010 4:09:07 PM PST by Finny ("Raise hell. Vote smart." -- Ted Nugent.)
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To: Finny

Thanks for the feedback! I’ve not read a single SH story. What’s the best one or two to start?


19 posted on 01/04/2010 7:05:08 AM PST by Borges
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To: Borges
"A Scandal in Bohemia" is a very good one to start, for a short story fast read. My husband's favorite is "The Red-Headed League." "The Reigate Puzzle" is one in which Holmes does some clever things to foil inept local authorities from screwing the pooch. Another one I like quite a lot is "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client," though it is one of the much later stories. "Hound of the Baskervilles" is another fantastic one, but it is a novella, and about three or four times as long as the short stories.

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.

20 posted on 01/04/2010 8:46:49 AM PST by Finny ("Raise hell. Vote smart." -- Ted Nugent.)
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To: ArtDodger

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.


21 posted on 01/22/2010 10:38:17 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: Borges
"From what I’m told, the Brett series was meticulously faithful to the texts."

That was true during the first few seasons, but towards the end they started taking liberties with some of the episodes.
22 posted on 01/22/2010 10:40:45 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: Finny

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.


23 posted on 01/22/2010 10:46:52 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: Steve_Seattle

Holmes?

24 posted on 01/22/2010 10:50:26 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Steve_Seattle
Yes, that was ONE thing about Downey's portrayal that was not in keeping with Doyle's Holmes. The real (!) Holmes was as tidy as a cat, and even when camping out in the Moor in "Hound of the Baskervilles" managed always to have a clean collar and cuffs; he'd never have had a three-day growth of beard!

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.

25 posted on 01/22/2010 11:23:27 PM PST by Finny ("Raise hell. Vote smart." -- Ted Nugent.)
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To: Finny

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.


26 posted on 01/23/2010 12:22:46 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: TexCon; Borges; Steve_Seattle; Finny
It was the reinvention of Dr. Watson as a a charming and handsome man of action

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.

-PJ

27 posted on 01/23/2010 12:57:27 PM PST by Political Junkie Too ("Comprehensive" reform bills only end up as incomprehensible messes.)
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To: Political Junkie Too

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.


28 posted on 01/23/2010 4:38:49 PM PST by Steve_Seattle ("Above all, shake your bum at Burton.")
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To: Daveinyork
Many say the new Sherlock movies are "wrong" because of the fist fighting and other things, but in my opinion they are actually closer to the books.

In the books Holmes was actually a boxing champion and addicted to cocaine.

Also Robert Downey Jr is one of the few Republicans among Hollywood actors. Doesn't hurt to give him more power by boosting his box office revenues.
29 posted on 01/04/2012 12:52:57 PM PST by Krosan
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To: Finny

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!”


30 posted on 01/04/2012 1:03:17 PM PST by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: ctdonath2
BWA-HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Good one!

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!

31 posted on 01/04/2012 1:15:40 PM PST by Finny ("Raise hell. Vote smart." -- Ted Nugent)
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To: Finny

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

Giggle...


32 posted on 01/04/2012 2:41:58 PM PST by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: Daveinyork

He chews Coca leaves and drinks just about anything.


33 posted on 01/04/2012 2:49:55 PM PST by Doomonyou (Let them eat Lead.)
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To: Doomonyou

Why are you telling me this?


34 posted on 01/04/2012 2:52:51 PM PST by Daveinyork
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To: TexCon
I have a friend across the pond who swears Jeremy Brett’s rendition of this classic figure in the 80s and 90s for British television was the most true- to-form.

Jeremy Brett.

Best.

Holmes.

Ever.

35 posted on 01/04/2012 2:55:27 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg (Why, yes. I AM in a bad mood.)
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To: Daveinyork
Well he's not politically correct.
36 posted on 01/04/2012 3:03:20 PM PST by Doomonyou (Let them eat Lead.)
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To: Doomonyou

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.


37 posted on 01/04/2012 3:07:02 PM PST by Daveinyork
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To: Daveinyork
Never tried a pipe, but years ago, Sherlock was on the tube on masterpiece theater or some such program, never missed it. Basil Rathbone version.

"Watson, the games afoot!"

38 posted on 01/04/2012 10:20:44 PM PST by Doomonyou (Let them eat Lead.)
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