What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate

Ahead of the Great Sherlock Holmes Debate some views on screen portrayals......

Before I go further I have to say I have not seen the Guy Ritchie movies nor at this stage have I any intention of so doing....I just know I would hate them, yes, no logic involved in that statement, but what the hell.
I grew up watching the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce series of films. I thought Rathbone to be the perfect embodiment of Holmes in looks and in manner, cool and detached just how I see Holmes. The flip side to that was Nigel Bruce's Watson which quickly became more of a comic foil than 'trusty comrade', that is not to say that he does not have a certain appeal for he does, but he is most assuredly no Conan Doyle's Watson.
Peter Cushing came along in the late fifties and sixties. Again, in looks nigh well perfect. His Holmes was a diffident, fussy one who never seemed to be taken it seriously, yet Cushing was solid and consistent and to give him credit he endeavoured to keep the producers and directors in a Canonlike frame of mind.
Then Granada......and Jeremy Brett. I remember sitting down with some trepidation to watch the first episode and after twenty minutes I thought, 'He's nailed it'. Here was a Holmes who was arrogant, cool and just as how I always imagined him to be. Rathbone's and Cushing's portrayals were both consistent and when you sit down to watch them at work you know exactly what you are getting. With Jeremy Brett there was an edge, an unpredictability, surely like Holmes himself. Although JB was just as consistent as Rathbone and Cushing, where he scored over them was his flashes of brilliance that are so fondly remembered; the leap for joy at the end of 'The Second Stain', his emotional response to Lestrade's praise in 'The Six Napoleons', his 'explosion' at the end of 'The Blue Carbuncle' and many more breathtaking moments. David Burke and Edward Hardwicke as a composite Watson could never be surpassed. David Burke, a joy to watch as a man in awe of his companion and Edward Hardwicke more of a weary, but solid, questioning post-Hiatus Watson.
And now......Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Once more settling in for the first episode with some trepidation, but being blown over very quickly. How clever of the writers to be able to appeal to Holmes purists and the modern Dr Who generation. The humour underpinning the relationship between Holmes and Watson is never allowed to break out and swamp proceedings, the canon references are sometimes fleeting, but always you think added with great affection by the writers. BC's Holmes never strays to far from the original blueprint and Freeman perfectly captures what it must be like to be friends with such a man. What I would really love to see is a 'Christmas special', maybe 'The Blue Carbuncle' filmed with these two actors, but in period. I really believe they could pull it off.

As a footnote, when I am am writing this is who I have in mind; Holmes-Jeremy Brett, Watson-Edward Hardwicke, Lestrade-Colin Jeavons.  Granada wins the day for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I really like the Ritchie films for the fact that I think RDJ, while not a complete Holmes by any means, actually nails significant parts of the character that most other screen portrayals have missed.

I know I need to give Brett another go. I seem to be in a small minority that finds what I've seen of his portrayal a bit off-putting and not what I see when I read the stories.

As far as classics go, Rathbone is my man, though I also like Cushing, and for modern portrayals, I think Cumberbatch is doing a superb job.