Sherlock Holmes

What's not currently on the box
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The Wooksta!
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by The Wooksta! »

For one episode of Poirot (I don't know the title, but part of the plot was a German spy stealing plans for Britain's latest fighter aircraft), they rolled out a late production Spitfire mk IXc, complete with four blade prop and two 20mm cannons (British prototypes never carried armament for early flights and usually not until they were accepted for weapons trials by the RAF).

Obviously, they grabbed access to something close to the book description but it stuck out a mile with me.
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Simon36
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon36 »

ctraynor wrote:
Simon36 wrote:Having always loved Murder by Decree I was disappointed when I finally saw a clip from the HTV Silver Blaze Plummer played Holmes in. Has anyone seen the full thing? Hardly the liveliest Holmes story to dramatise as a one off...
Agree about Murder by Decree. There were scenes set even in the daylight that were scary.
.
Absolutely! It's a brilliant film. John Hopkins of course so a great script. A true sense of fear and also of deep compassion. The "there's still decency" bit at the end is beautiful.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Chris Berry »

Simon36 wrote:
ctraynor wrote:
Simon36 wrote:Having always loved Murder by Decree I was disappointed when I finally saw a clip from the HTV Silver Blaze Plummer played Holmes in. Has anyone seen the full thing? Hardly the liveliest Holmes story to dramatise as a one off...
Agree about Murder by Decree. There were scenes set even in the daylight that were scary.
.
Absolutely! It's a brilliant film. John Hopkins of course so a great script. A true sense of fear and also of deep compassion. The "there's still decency" bit at the end is beautiful.
And directed by the same man who directed Porky's, Turk 182! and A Christmas Story. Rather an eclectic bunch of films.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon36 »

I know, the mind boggles. His commentary on the Murder by Decree DVD was so charming that I couldn't believe he'd done Black Christmas and Porky's.

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Nick Cooper 625
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

David Buck wrote:It would be nice if Network did a Sherlock Holmes anthology release - "Silver Blaze", "Doctor Watson and the Darkwater Hall Mystery", possibly; the frankly dreadful; "the strange case of the end of civilization as we know it" - any other ITV items they could chuck on there ?
Strange Case is available in Region 1 Land.

Although BBC rather than ITV, QED: Murder on the Bluebell Line is a 1987 dramatised documentary about the Piltdown Man hoax, with Hugh Fraser as a very serviceable Holmes, and Ronald Fraser as a perhaps a bit too stereotyped Watson. ISTR that ITV did something similar a few years later, but I never saw it. There's also the marvellous 40 Minutes: The Case of Sherlock Holmes - A Documentary Entertainment.
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Simon36
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon36 »

I remember being gutted I missed Bluebell Line at the time. I recall the publicity photo and thinking the Holmes looked promising.

Really enjoying the Bretts again although to me the first series is by far the best. I do love The Devil's Foot though which actually suits Brett's ill health, if that doesn't sound insensitive. The Dying Detective was clearly another episode that worked it into the story.

What definitely changes is the energy of Brett's Holmes. It's probably as much to do with him smoking 60 cigarettes a day by that point as his other issues. He is so funny and Puckish in those early episodes. I think the confrontation with Jeremy Kemp in Speckled Band followed by his marvellous comment to Watson about meeting at 1pm "that is if you have finished your breakfast by then" is ace. The Blue Carbuncle kept that tone for the whole episode and was a joy.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

I think my favourite bit of the Brett series is the end of "The Six Napoleons", and the adaptation of Lestrade's speech to Holmes - it felt so somehow "modern" in its approach that I was surprised and impressed to discover that that's exactly how it's written and described in the story.

It is a shame we never got the "If you had killed Watson..." bit from "The Three Garridebs" in the Granada series, though.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Lee Rose wrote:I adore the Cushing series. Being a traditional multi-camera drama with location inserts it's very different to the filmed Brett series in it's style and execution. I couldn't pick one over the other if I had to chose, and it's a crying shame many of the Cushing series episodes are lost.
I got to talk with Donald Tosh while in Ealling, early December 2007 about his time as script editor on the 1968 Cushing series. His story about having to write the The Blue Carbuncle episode from scratch due to Stanley Miller's script running massively under length, for Miller to turn round and say he was happy to keep his name on it after reading Tosh's edits to his original draft submission still stuck with him some 39 years later. Then to go on to say he much preferred the Brett version to his own was more amazing as both versions exist while other Cushing’s sadly do not.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

David Buck wrote:It would be nice if Network did a Sherlock Holmes anthology release - "Silver Blaze", "Doctor Watson and the Darkwater Hall Mystery", possibly; the frankly dreadful; "the strange case of the end of civilization as we know it" - any other ITV items they could chuck on there ?
Dr Watson and the Darkwater Hall Mystery was BBC, so the rights for such a mixed release might be difficult to navigate.

Did anyone ever see the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson series made in Poland with Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering? I'd like to catch some of those.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Clive »

ctraynor wrote: Did anyone ever see the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson series made in Poland with Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering? I'd like to catch some of those.
That's possibly answered a long standing question of mine, in the 1983 Polish comedy series "Alternatywy 4" there is a scene where the characters end up at the Polish TV studios and on the set of a Victorian London street and start pretending to be Sherlock Holmes, so I had assumed that the Polish must have tackled SHerlock Holmes at some point.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

ctraynor wrote:Did anyone ever see the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson series made in Poland with Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering? I'd like to catch some of those.
Surprisingly, an annual for this got released in the UK, presumably on the mistaken assumption that some channel would pick it up, but obviously the Granada series put paid to that. From the photographs, it all looked rather "chocolate box." Remarkably, it includes remakes of some episodes from the 1954 American series with Ronald Howard (both series were produced by Sheldon Reynolds).
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon36 »

image45 wrote:
Lee Rose wrote:I adore the Cushing series. Being a traditional multi-camera drama with location inserts it's very different to the filmed Brett series in it's style and execution. I couldn't pick one over the other if I had to chose, and it's a crying shame many of the Cushing series episodes are lost.
I got to talk with Donald Tosh while in Ealling, early December 2007 about his time as script editor on the 1968 Cushing series. His story about having to write the The Blue Carbuncle episode from scratch due to Stanley Miller's script running massively under length, for Miller to turn round and say he was happy to keep his name on it after reading Tosh's edits to his original draft submission still stuck with him some 39 years later. Then to go on to say he much preferred the Brett version to his own was more amazing as both versions exist while other Cushing’s sadly do not.
Much as I adore Cushing I thought he was miscast as Holmes and Who. I thought the BBC Blue Carbuncle was very dul. The Brett one is astounding.

The Lurker In The Shadows
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by The Lurker In The Shadows »

ctraynor wrote: Did anyone ever see the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson series made in Poland with Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering? I'd like to catch some of those.
I've only ever seen four of these, sourced off a fairly ropy NTSC cassette, and I wasn't massively impressed by what I saw. Whitehead and Pickering were quite effective leads, Patrick Newell is a buffoonish Lestrade, but the scripts were dull and I recall thinking that everyone apart from the leads was speaking incredibly slowly, as if they were trying to fill up the short running time by dragging every line of dialogue out for as long as they could.

The only episode ostensibly based on a Conan Doyle original was 'The Speckled Band', but this was transposed to some mountaintop castle. I much prefer Sheldon Reynold's earlier attempt at Holmes and Watson, with Ronald Howard, Howard Marion Crawford, and Archie Duncan as Lestrade. They're fairly light and silly, but there's a lot of charm to those episodes. It's also one of the few series to present a reasonably accurate version of Holmes and Watson's first meeting in its opening episode.

I'm a massive fan of the Holmes stories and many of the different productions, with Rathbone or Brett, Cushing or Cumberbatch, Robert Stephens or John Neville, and so on, though the Russian versions from the 70s and 80s with Vasili Livanov and Vitali Solomin are particular favourites. True, communist era Russia in no way looks like Victorian London, but the adaptations are cleverly done - occasionally weaving a few cases into one continuous mini-series - and the leads bring great charm and warmth to the characters.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Although the Brett series was championed for "getting Watson right" In was wondering how close to Conan Doyle that actually was? Didn't Conan Doyle himself refer to Watson as a bit of a buffer? Cushing I remember saying he was no fool after all he'd been a good Doctor and been married twice so must have had something going for him, but much as I loathe Nigel Bruce's portrayal is it possible it was the more accurate?

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Alan Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Alan Hayes »

David Buck wrote:It would be nice if Network did a Sherlock Holmes anthology release - "Silver Blaze", "Doctor Watson and the Darkwater Hall Mystery", possibly; the frankly dreadful; "the strange case of the end of civilization as we know it" - any other ITV items they could chuck on there ?
They could even stick The Four Oaks Mystery on there, from ITV's Telethon 1992, assuming the rights permitted commercial release. A four part special featuring the Brett Holmes, Van Der Valk, Inspector Wexford and Taggart. There was even a spoof Police 5 with Shaw Taylor in there, too...

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon36 »

What about Young Sherlock? Anyone remember that? I missed it at the time and have always been curious to know if it was any good.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by didi-5 »

I recently revisited Young Sherlock for the first time in thirty years. Light on plot, nevertheless Guy Henry gave a good performance as the teenage Holmes and there are some nice nods to how he would turn out as an adult. Certainly watchable.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Tilt Araiza »

Simon36 wrote: much as I loathe Nigel Bruce's portrayal is it possible it was the more accurate?

Well as Watson is the narrator of (nearly) all of the stories I think it's fair to say we know something of how his mind works and the stories don't strike me as being filtered through the mind of a blustering old fool.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by didi-5 »

OK, purely because I'm bored and have just been counting up the Sherlock Holmes versions I have seen examples of, here's my thoughts:

Jeremy Brett - Gold standard, naturally, even if he tailed off a bit in the later seasons.
Benedict Cumberbatch - Twitchy, modern, manic. Preferred him in the first series but shows promise.
Jonny Lee Miller - Interesting but really could be any recovering drug addict with a detective bent.
Vasily Livanov - Silver standard. And the adaptations I've seen have been fairly faithful.
Ronald Howard - Charming, youthful, almost naive. And supported by one of the best Watsons.
Geoffrey Whitehead - I liked him, although would have been good to see him tackle an ACD original rather than pastiches.
John Cleese - Just his usual self in both Elementary and Civilisation ...
Peter Cook - Absolutely bloody awful.
Christopher Lee - Curiously terrible in the Leading Lady, just tedious in the Necklace one.
Jonathan Pryce - Excellent even in a poorly plotted production.
Rupert Everett - Fey, sardonic, but good.
Richard Roxburgh - Disappointing in a misguided Hound.
Matt Frewer - Dire, but at least he had a decent Watson.
Nicholas Rowe - He's OK.
Michael Pennington - Showed promise.
Nicol Williamson - Excellent despite being hampered by Robert Duvall's Watson, obviously on an off-day.
Anthony Higgins - A bore.
George C Scott - Very good indeed and would have liked to have seen him play the role 'for real'.
Guy Henry - Good in an adaptation which needed a bit of oomph.
John Barrymore - The silent profile. Watchable.
Raymond Massey - A very modern Holmes, and very good.
Arthur Wontner - The film Gold Standard. Maybe a bit too old but very good.
Reginald Owen - Dire.
Eille Norwood - Absolutely excellent, I wish these were more widely available.
Clive Brook - More reminiscent of Raffles the gentleman thief.
Peter Cushing - Good in all three goes at the role.
Douglas Wilmer - Excellent and hopefully will get reappraised now his episodes are on DVD.
Basil Rathbone - Excellent to start with but a bit lazy by the end of the series.
Hugh Frazer - Very good, would have liked to have seen more of him in other stories.
Ian Richardson - Strong performance, promising.
Larry Hagman - JR again.
Roger Moore - Not really Holmes, a time filler.
Robert Stephens - Wildly OTT but with a good Watson.
Charlton Heston - Far too old and miscast.
Christopher Plummer - In Silver Blaze he's very different to his later stab at the part, but good.
John Neville - Excellent, sad that he only played the role once.
Peter O'Toole (voice only) - He's Peter O'Toole, of course he was good!
Michael York (voice only) - Very good indeed and would have been good in a live action version back in the day.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Simon36 wrote:Although the Brett series was championed for "getting Watson right" In was wondering how close to Conan Doyle that actually was? Didn't Conan Doyle himself refer to Watson as a bit of a buffer? Cushing I remember saying he was no fool after all he'd been a good Doctor and been married twice so must have had something going for him, but much as I loathe Nigel Bruce's portrayal is it possible it was the more accurate?
There's a clip around of Brett and Hardwicke on Richard & Judy in the early 1990s, where Hardwicke seems rather crestfallen to be shown a film clip of Doyle referring to Watson as Holmes's "rather stupid friend".

Brett tries to rescue the situation by claiming that Doyle was obviously parodying what people think of Watson, rather than how he wrote him.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Mothy »

I think Watson was basically the character who had to be able to ask Holmes how he had solved the mystery, so in other words to be a feed for exposition, and a source of back-up and so on. To that extent then, he did need to be less intelligent, or perhaps less alert or as skilled at deduction, in order to function properly, but that doesn't necessarily have to mean depicting him as a complete idiot. There's a scene near the beginning of The Hound of the Baskervilles where Watson tries some deduction of his own on a stick a visitor has left behind, where they're trying to work out what sort of man he is, and although Watson mostly gets it wrong, they're supposed to be reasonably intelligently worked out, just based on faulty premises. Holmes congratulates him while also explaining why he think's he's mistaken. So, while you could say there's a bit of fun being poked at Watson there, he's not being demeaned. And indeed, one or two of Holmes' own deductions in the same scene later turn out to have been mistaken when the visitor returns. There are also a few of the other stories where Holmes misreads the situation or makes errors of some sort, so it's worth bearing in mind that Conan Doyle probably thought that even Holmes himself wasn't above being made fun of now and again.
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You ever seen the Tom Baker version of The Hound of the Baskervilles?

Incidentally, don't know if you're aware of this but while there was never a second series of the Guy Henry Young Sherlock series, there was also a book, written by Gerald Frow, as the first one was, published about 1985 as a sequel to the TV tie-in edition, which also had a photo of him on the cover, The Mystery Of Ferryman's Creek.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon36 »

Michael Caine also missed from that list but it's very impressive otherwise. And whilst on radio only, Clive Merrison who was excellent. Considering how much he looks like Pagett's drawings its a shame he never got to play him on screen.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by didi-5 »

See, I knew I would forget someone!

Tom Baker wasn't at all bad, but Terence Rigby was a bore as Watson. As for Michael Caine, he was great fun as the stooge who pretended to be the Great Detective, but I would have liked to see Ben Kingsley as Holmes rather than Watson in that version.

As for whether or not Conan Doyle's Watson has been accurately depicted on film, I think that although most people remember Nigel Bruce's buffoon, whether with irritation or affection, those who play the doctor as a military man of courage and loyalty are closer to the mark. Edward Hardwicke and David Burke, Howard Marion Crawford, Ian Hart, Donald Houston, Colin Blakely are possibly the best examples.

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Tilt Araiza
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Tilt Araiza »

For a Watson who's a buffer without being a buffoon, Norman Shelley has it right. He has the rich, gruff voice of a military man who'll never say no to another drink, but is still nobody's fool and can certainly be believed to be possessed of a "pawky humour ".

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon36 »

Paul Hayes wrote:
Simon36 wrote:Although the Brett series was championed for "getting Watson right" In was wondering how close to Conan Doyle that actually was? Didn't Conan Doyle himself refer to Watson as a bit of a buffer? Cushing I remember saying he was no fool after all he'd been a good Doctor and been married twice so must have had something going for him, but much as I loathe Nigel Bruce's portrayal is it possible it was the more accurate?
There's a clip around of Brett and Hardwicke on Richard & Judy in the early 1990s, where Hardwicke seems rather crestfallen to be shown a film clip of Doyle referring to Watson as Holmes's "rather stupid friend".

Brett tries to rescue the situation by claiming that Doyle was obviously parodying what people think of Watson, rather than how he wrote him.
That was exactly the clip that prompted my question.

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Tilt Araiza
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Tilt Araiza »

didi-5 wrote:I'm sure I've forgotten someone ...!
You missed out Edward Woodward in Hands Of A Murderer, probably deliberately.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by marsey »

On a similar theme , I thought Charles Gray made for an excellent Mycroft.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

I liked Charles Gray too. I didn't even mind the finale of The Mazarin Stone where he seems to attain something like supernatural powers of resistance to the baddie's bullets as he approaches him. The penultimate episode so I suppose the show was allowed an end-of-term sequence.

Robert Morley was good as Mycroft in A Study in Terror. He even looked the part. And even though Christopher Lee didn't look the part he made it his own in Private Life of Sherlock Holmes ("Am I going too fast for the best brain in England?")

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by image45 »

Simon36 wrote:I thought the BBC Blue Carbuncle was very dul. The Brett one is astounding.
I think Donald Tosh felt this too, however it was a challenging time.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by didi-5 »

I've realised that I made another omission, possibly subconsciously, of Robert Downey Jr, who is another Holmes aberration, but in a bad way. He's saved in a way by Jude Law, his rather reasonable Watson, himself an alumnus of the Brett series.

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