Sherlock Holmes

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

It is indeed an excellent and extremely useful book - both it and indeed Alan himself were extremely helpful to me when I was making my Sherlock Holmes radio documentary last year. Thoroughly recommended! (The book, that is - I can't speak for my programme!)

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Nick Cooper 625
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Just noticed on the Britmovie Forum that the Wilmer series is finally getting a UK release on 23 March 2015, courtesy of the BFI, and it will include recons of the visually-incomplete-but-complete-audio episodes.

Amazon

SHERLOCK HOLMES (4-DVD SET)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes:The Classic BBC TV series.

Regarded by many to be the best incarnation of the Baker Street sleuth, Douglas Wilmer gives a career-defining performance in this celebrated BBC series. Intelligent, quick on his heels, and bearing a striking resemblance to the original Sidney Paget illustrations, Wilmer's portrayal is possibly the closest to Conan Doyle's original vision that there has ever been. In 2012, his status as legend within the Sherlock pantheon was cemented when he was asked to make a cameo appearance in Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch.

The first story in the series, The Speckled Band, was originally produced as part of the BBC drama strand Detectives. Appearing alongside Wilmer, as Holmes' loyal companion Dr John Watson, was the great Nigel Stock. Such was the success of the adaptation that Wilmer and Stock were reunited a year later for a full 12-part series. With a supporting cast that included Clochemerle star Peter Madden as Inspector Lestrade, TV veteran Derek Francis as Mycroft Holmes, and guest stars such as Peter Wyngarde (Department S, The Innocents) and Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who), the popularity of the series gave rise to a second series, in which the role of Sherlock was played by Peter Cushing.

Presented for the first time on UK DVD, this classic series has been fully restored using materials from the BBC's archive, and includes two reconstructions of partially-surviving episodes, as well as an interview with Douglas Wilmer conducted by actor-comedian Toby Hadoke in 2012.

Special features

•Restored from the best available materials from the BBC's archive
•Original 1964 Detectives pilot episode, and all surviving episodes of the 1965 series
•Episode reconstructions of two missing episodes The Abbey Grange and The Bruce-Partington Plans, using all surviving footage and original scripts
•An Interview with Douglas Wilmer (2012, Simon Harries, TBC mins): the iconic actor discusses his career in British film and television
•Fully illustrated booklet with essays and full episode credits

All Special features are TBC and subject to change

UK | 1964-65 | black and white | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 650 minutes | Original broadcast ratio 1.33:1 | 4 x DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital mono audio
"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." [Wells]

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Nick Cooper 625 wrote:Just noticed on the Britmovie Forum that the Wilmer series is finally getting a UK release on 23 March 2015, courtesy of the BFI, and it will include recons of the visually-incomplete-but-complete-audio episodes.

Amazon

SHERLOCK HOLMES (4-DVD SET)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes:The Classic BBC TV series.

Regarded by many to be the best incarnation of the Baker Street sleuth, Douglas Wilmer gives a career-defining performance in this celebrated BBC series. Intelligent, quick on his heels, and bearing a striking resemblance to the original Sidney Paget illustrations, Wilmer's portrayal is possibly the closest to Conan Doyle's original vision that there has ever been. In 2012, his status as legend within the Sherlock pantheon was cemented when he was asked to make a cameo appearance in Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch.

The first story in the series, The Speckled Band, was originally produced as part of the BBC drama strand Detectives. Appearing alongside Wilmer, as Holmes' loyal companion Dr John Watson, was the great Nigel Stock. Such was the success of the adaptation that Wilmer and Stock were reunited a year later for a full 12-part series. With a supporting cast that included Clochemerle star Peter Madden as Inspector Lestrade, TV veteran Derek Francis as Mycroft Holmes, and guest stars such as Peter Wyngarde (Department S, The Innocents) and Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who), the popularity of the series gave rise to a second series, in which the role of Sherlock was played by Peter Cushing.

Presented for the first time on UK DVD, this classic series has been fully restored using materials from the BBC's archive, and includes two reconstructions of partially-surviving episodes, as well as an interview with Douglas Wilmer conducted by actor-comedian Toby Hadoke in 2012.

Special features

•Restored from the best available materials from the BBC's archive
•Original 1964 Detectives pilot episode, and all surviving episodes of the 1965 series
•Episode reconstructions of two missing episodes The Abbey Grange and The Bruce-Partington Plans, using all surviving footage and original scripts
•An Interview with Douglas Wilmer (2012, Simon Harries, TBC mins): the iconic actor discusses his career in British film and television
•Fully illustrated booklet with essays and full episode credits

All Special features are TBC and subject to change

UK | 1964-65 | black and white | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 650 minutes | Original broadcast ratio 1.33:1 | 4 x DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital mono audio
Certainly the previous edition looked totally unrestored and was missing the two half-episodes. I watched it recently and found both seasons very good although one episode doesn't quite know what to do with the last 10 minutes. Pity that even with Holmes fan clubs in existence, not more audio was saved. I liked the camera work, too, very dynamic.

What puzzles me though is this: Wikipedia claims that the production was horrible and that Wilmer and Cushing had a really rotten time. So you'd expect the result to be clumsy and unbalanced, but I don't really see that. Is wikipedia wrong (quite possible of course), or did I miss the problems?
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

There was one early Cushing episode broadcast, no longer in the archives, where something was in shot, the camera, the mic boom or one of the crew or something. Basically Cushing's series was one of the early BBC colour shows so the crews apparently took time to get used to the new equipment/processes. The series went over-budget quite quickly with frantic rewrites being necessary to scale down expensive things like location schedules. The atmosphere got fraught with the producer putting his foot down sternly with Cushing in front of everyone over the use of a particular line which Cushing didn't want to say.

The ratings were big for the series, particularly the two-part Baskervilles, about 15 million rising to about 16 million for the second episode, and people generally considered it a success but Cushing by this time had had enough and went back to films.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Spiny Norman wrote:What puzzles me though is this: Wikipedia claims that the production was horrible and that Wilmer and Cushing had a really rotten time. So you'd expect the result to be clumsy and unbalanced, but I don't really see that. Is wikipedia wrong (quite possible of course), or did I miss the problems?
There are lot of issues with that Wikipedia page, not least the combining the two series as if the Cushing one was a direct continuation of Wilmer, despite them sharing no personnel apart from Nigel Stock. One day, when I've got time, I'm going to unpick and separate it....
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

And thanks for the tip-off about the show coming out. Might well go for that one. What was it about Bruce Partington Plans partly missing? Something to do with the model trains footage? I'm trying to remember the discussion from the previous forum.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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ctraynor wrote:And thanks for the tip-off about the show coming out. Might well go for that one. What was it about Bruce Partington Plans partly missing? Something to do with the model trains footage? I'm trying to remember the discussion from the previous forum.
Basically for both The Abbey Grange and The Bruce-Partington Plans, the BBC only has the first reel of each tele-recording. In the case of Plans they have the soundtrack for the rest of the episode, but possibly not for Grange.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Nick Cooper 625 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:What puzzles me though is this: Wikipedia claims that the production was horrible and that Wilmer and Cushing had a really rotten time. So you'd expect the result to be clumsy and unbalanced, but I don't really see that. Is wikipedia wrong (quite possible of course), or did I miss the problems?
There are lot of issues with that Wikipedia page, not least the combining the two series as if the Cushing one was a direct continuation of Wilmer, despite them sharing no personnel apart from Nigel Stock. One day, when I've got time, I'm going to unpick and separate it....
But in fairness, one might say the same for Doctor Who. They planned to use the same Holmes, and they continued with different stories. When is something a new series or a special? No easy answer.

That's funny, the Germans remade it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0271927/epi ... t_eps_sn_1
Kind of like the Italian remake of A for Andromeda. It says they weren't able to get the rights to dub it, so they reshot the whole thing instead. Pity, otherwise we might still have had some of those missing episodes.

For a moment I wondered if that would be any use for the reconstruction of the missing halves. But may also look completely different. One episode, Das gefleckte Band AKA The Speckled Band, is on youtube for the incurably curious. Actually it looks somewhat similar, although that may be partly because it's also b/w.

Oh, and so is the Bruce-Partington audio track.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Spiny Norman wrote:
Nick Cooper 625 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:What puzzles me though is this: Wikipedia claims that the production was horrible and that Wilmer and Cushing had a really rotten time. So you'd expect the result to be clumsy and unbalanced, but I don't really see that. Is wikipedia wrong (quite possible of course), or did I miss the problems?
There are lot of issues with that Wikipedia page, not least the combining the two series as if the Cushing one was a direct continuation of Wilmer, despite them sharing no personnel apart from Nigel Stock. One day, when I've got time, I'm going to unpick and separate it....
But in fairness, one might say the same for Doctor Who. They planned to use the same Holmes, and they continued with different stories. When is something a new series or a special? No easy answer.
I think in this case there really is enough separation between the two. Different channel, different title, different producer, different writers, and different directors. Just about the only commonality is that there were unused scripts for The Boscome Valley Mystery and The Blue Carbuncle along with six other stories, but even in the case of the first two, different writers were used for the Cushing series (Giles Cooper had, of course, but two of the unmade scripts were his). Cicumstantially I think all this points to William Sterling wanting to produce the Cushing series his own way, and consciously avoiding having any link with the earlier apart from retaining Stock as Watson.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Spiny Norman »

Sounds like a matter of opinion if ever there was. Certainly big changes in direction (not literally) can happen in a series. A reboot of a (movie) franchise is basically a hijack too, isn't it?
What would you have said if Wilmer had reprised his role? Reportedly he was asked, but refused.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Nick Cooper 625 wrote:
ctraynor wrote:Basically for both The Abbey Grange and The Bruce-Partington Plans, the BBC only has the first reel of each tele-recording. In the case of Plans they have the soundtrack for the rest of the episode, but possibly not for Grange.
It's the second reel of THE ABBEY GRANGE that exists - the final twenty minutes. It begins with Holmes and Watson returning to the Grange, and taking another look at the cut bell rope before Holmes asks Lady Brackenstall to tell him the truth and trust him.

Wilmer's autobiography is a good read, he slags off virtually everything to do with his HOLMES series...

http://porterpress.co.uk/index.php/stag ... e-memoirs/

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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ian b wrote:
Nick Cooper 625 wrote:
ctraynor wrote:Basically for both The Abbey Grange and The Bruce-Partington Plans, the BBC only has the first reel of each tele-recording. In the case of Plans they have the soundtrack for the rest of the episode, but possibly not for Grange.
It's the second reel of THE ABBEY GRANGE that exists - the final twenty minutes. It begins with Holmes and Watson returning to the Grange, and taking another look at the cut bell rope before Holmes asks Lady Brackenstall to tell him the truth and trust him.

Wilmer's autobiography is a good read, he slags off virtually everything to do with his HOLMES series...

http://porterpress.co.uk/index.php/stag ... e-memoirs/
Ordered! Thanks for the tip.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

ian b wrote:
Nick Cooper 625 wrote:
ctraynor wrote:Basically for both The Abbey Grange and The Bruce-Partington Plans, the BBC only has the first reel of each tele-recording. In the case of Plans they have the soundtrack for the rest of the episode, but possibly not for Grange.
It's the second reel of THE ABBEY GRANGE that exists - the final twenty minutes. It begins with Holmes and Watson returning to the Grange, and taking another look at the cut bell rope before Holmes asks Lady Brackenstall to tell him the truth and trust him.
I did have a nagging thought that the existing visuals were the second half of Grange and the first half of Plans, but checking the Kaleidoscope guide it states "Only reel 1 exists" and "The first reel of an R1 exists" respectively, so assumed my memory was failing.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

Great news about the Wilmer set - I've never seen the series, so am very much looking forward to buying it.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Mark »

I still have the VHS, released years ago, with two episodes on it.

Pleased to see it on DVD, at last.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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I managed to score a fairly cheap 6 disc collection of Igor Maslennikov's Sherlock Holmes film series (made for Russian TV at the Lenfilm studios) recently. I'm now halfway through and I have to say that I get why people are so enthusiastic about these adaptations. There's an impressively subtle wit about the performances of Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes, Vitaly Solomin as Dr. Watson and Rina Zelyonaya as Mrs. Hudson and Maslennikov seems deftly able to ramp up the tension without really seeming to do so. Now and then there's the hint of a descent into the kind of mild slapstick so beloved of slavic film makers (which is not all that compatible with the British sense of humour) but it never quite happens. The other pleasure of the films (so far) is appreciating the creative selection of locations to depict 19th Century Britain (mostly in the then Soviet Estonia and Latvia, apparently) and Switzerland (I'm guessing somewhere in the Caucasus or Urals). Next up is The Hound of the Baskervilles, which will be the only rewatch for me and will be interesting now that I've got to know the Soviet duo better.

These Russian sets (released in 2007 by Krupniy Plan in association with Lenfilm from what I can make out) are not brilliant transfers (so far) but decent enough when compared with some of RUSCICO's abominations* and the subtitling is generally OK, well translated for the most part though not by a native English speaker. I shall report back on the relative merits of Krupniy Plan's vs. Mr. Bongo's releases of The Hound of the Baskervilles in due course - the latter being the only official UK market release of any of the Maslennikov films.

(* = e.g. Venyamin Dorman's excellent 'Secret Agent' series of films which are only available on DVD with English subs as very poor transfers).

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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A soviet version, well well. In soviet Russia, case solves you!

It's probably one of the most adapted stories ever, after Dracula.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Small world. There are some clips from the Soviet Baskervilles (and, IIRC, some interview footage of Livanov) the 1988 documentary The Case of Sherlock Holmes, which I recently transferred to DVD. I see that the last of the films incorporates elements of The Bruce-Partington Plans, so I've be interested to know if that includes the Underground elements (more recently, Sherlock obviously transposed them to the mainline rail network).
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Nick Cooper 625 wrote:... I've be interested to know if that uncludes the Underground elements (more recently, Sherlock obviously transposed them to the mainline rail network).
I wonder what Edward Watkin would say to that comment!

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Apparently Germany did not just have the remake but also a dub of the Cushing series, which was last shown in early 1974 in Germany.
But apparently even the German have junked their copies. Reportedly it was also aired in Italy and Japan.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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Spiny Norman wrote:Apparently Germany did not just have the remake but also a dub of the Cushing series, which was last shown in early 1974 in Germany.
But apparently even the German have junked their copies. Reportedly it was also aired in Italy and Japan.

Do the classic Rathbone episodes get shown in Germany, what with all the anti-Nazi propoganda in most of the films?

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

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marsey wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Apparently Germany did not just have the remake but also a dub of the Cushing series, which was last shown in early 1974 in Germany.
But apparently even the German have junked their copies. Reportedly it was also aired in Italy and Japan.
Do the classic Rathbone episodes get shown in Germany, what with all the anti-Nazi propoganda in most of the films?
No idea, but despite just mentioning the axis, basically, I can't imagine they'd have a problem with that today.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Richard A »

Nick Cooper 625 wrote:Small world. There are some clips from the Soviet Baskervilles (and, IIRC, some interview footage of Livanov) the 1988 documentary The Case of Sherlock Holmes, which I recently transferred to DVD. I see that the last of the films incorporates elements of The Bruce-Partington Plans, so I've be interested to know if that includes the Underground elements (more recently, Sherlock obviously transposed them to the mainline rail network).
Watched the last in the Maslennikov series last night... so in answer to your question, sort of. The discovery of the body and the postulation that it was originally placed on a carriage roof was all suggestive of an underground railway in the way that it was referenced, but the railway specific footage is of a normal railway. Picture 1 shows our intrepid duo at the mouth of the tunnel where the body was found (note no sign of electrification and 'Russian gauge'). Picture 2 is a bit of a mystery, it shows the building where the spy is purported to have put the victim's body on the carriage roof. It's almost certainly a model, featuring a steam loco which has more than a hint of a French de Glehn about it, but the steam is realistic (so it must be a big model) and the sequence appears only briefly, so if it is a model then it's probably been used in some other production because it's too elaborate for its 4 second appearance.

Image Image

The series of 5 films (most in two parts, one in three) has been great fun to watch and the actors playing Holmes, Watson, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade and Mycroft have all been charming in their own particular ways, particularly the two leads. The final film 'His Last Bow' (which includes the Bruce Partington Plans story) was made in 1983, a couple of years after the first four, which appeared in quick succession from 1979-1981, and feels slightly different with a few longueurs which the earlier films avoided. It's still a good watch, though.

For anyone who wants a bit of the flavour of the series, here's a trailer, which I think is semi-authorised from what I can make out --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7BCbKWPugw

There's another trailer with a Hollywood-ised 'crashing drums' soundtrack - avoid, the original music (as with most Soviet films) is better.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

marsey wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Apparently Germany did not just have the remake but also a dub of the Cushing series, which was last shown in early 1974 in Germany.
But apparently even the German have junked their copies. Reportedly it was also aired in Italy and Japan.

Do the classic Rathbone episodes get shown in Germany, what with all the anti-Nazi propoganda in most of the films?
Don't see why not. They apparently liked Fawlty Towers with Basil charming the German guests.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Spiny Norman »

ctraynor wrote:
marsey wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Apparently Germany did not just have the remake but also a dub of the Cushing series, which was last shown in early 1974 in Germany.
But apparently even the German have junked their copies. Reportedly it was also aired in Italy and Japan.

Do the classic Rathbone episodes get shown in Germany, what with all the anti-Nazi propoganda in most of the films?
Don't see why not. They apparently liked Fawlty Towers with Basil charming the German guests.
Of course. Are they really the butt of that episode? The continuing joke is that it's Basil and the major, the two most clueless characters, who're looking down on women, Germans, and blacks/indians. "How ever did they win?"

They never showed Allo Allo though.

But apart from that... You guys know that nazi Germany ended in 1945, right? Anti-nazi sentiments are officially encouraged in Germany now.
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Colin Cutler »

I'm probably taking this very interesting thread down another path here, but as I've just re-watched the Cushing version of 'The Blue Carbuncle' (well, 'tis the festive season after all) it seemed like a good opportunity to share some thoughts. Knowing the strained circumstances under which some episodes were apparently made (sadly we'll never get a wide array of perspectives, given that most of those involved are no longer with us) it still surprises me how well instalments such as this stand up even today. Alongside marvellous performances from the likes of James Beck (and a wonderful 'surly old git' turn from Michael Robbins), its the fidelity to Conan Doyle's original text and the minutiae involved that make this particular production such a joy to view (and I really do mean those small 'blink and you'll miss them' touches, such as the way Cushing's Holmes directs Watson's attention to the hat propped on a chair for inspection by jerking his thumb at it - a small touch lifted directly from the pages of the original story).

Sobering to think this was first broadcast on 23rd December 1968 - nearly 46 years ago...

Even more 'sobering' to think (unless I've really got my facts mixed up) that this episode has never been broadcast in colour in the UK? The original showing on BBC 1 was of course in b/w and as far as I'm aware it wasn't included in the summer repeat run on BBC 2 in 1970.

I guess we're extremely lucky to be able to simply pluck it off the shelf these days :-)

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

That one is good to have. I prefer the Brett version, partly because it's got snow in it and there are some cute funny bits in it, like Frank Middlemass's performance generally. Doesn't he play the same part in the Cushing one?

Brett doesn't overact the way Cushing does in the scene where he throws the thief out of 221b instead of shopping him.

That scene is rounded off very nicely as Holmes reluctantly agrees to leave the cooked turkey behind on the table (raising the dish lid with a brief look of temptation and quickly replacing it) to go to ensure the wronged man is freed.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by marsey »

It's a shame that they didn't save an episode of the new Sherlock series for a Christmas special based around this. It's not a particularly interesting or adventurous story, but it is an anjoayable one in the spirit of the season.

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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by didi-5 »

Delighted to see the Wilmer episodes getting a BFI release. I bought the BBC release from America a few years ago but might be tempted to double dip.

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