This is a review of the Kindle version.
David Stuart Davies is a big fan of Brett’s interpretation of Sherlock Holmes and his admiration leaps right out of the pages. His book gives great insight into the inception and making of the Granada series. The book delves on how Michael Cox, the producer cast Jeremy Brett and David Burke. David Burke had to leave the series due to some pressing personal concerns and the mantle passed on to Edward Hardwicke (who was suggested for the role by Burke himself).
The series makers have taken the utmost pains to make as faithful an adaptation of the canon as possible. Right from the casting of the principal characters to the sets and locations, the series does great justice to the stories. Jeremy Brett was passionate about his work and did considerable research to make the best possible adaptation.
David illustrates this by citing the example of The Hound of the Baskervilles where Holmes observes Watson’s reflection in a shining coffee pot. Brett realized that he could not see the reflection in a coffee pot, but in the lid. As can be seen in the Granada adaptation, Holmes points to the lid of the coffee pot. This is but one of the many trifling details that Brett painstakingly worked on to give what is considered by many as the definitive portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.
|Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes|
To his credit, David gives a fairly objective critique of the series. He candidly agrees about the deterioration in the performance of Brett as his physical tribulations worsened considerably even as the series kept chugging on. I have often considered that the Holmes as portrayed by Brett was as much a reflection of Brett’s personal characteristics as much of Holmes.
In the adaptation of The Adventure of the Creeping Man, Brett’s Holmes is quite hostile towards the army personnel. There is no such description in the canon. David explains the reason for this hostility: Brett’s father was in the army and never approved of his son’s decision to take up the acting profession. Jeremy in fact had to change his family name from Huggins to Brett in order to take up the acting profession at the insistence of his father. The lack of approval from his father seems to have had a significant psychological effect on Jeremy and unfortunately comes out quite strongly in the aforementioned episode.
The same issue crops up again when Brett imagined the childhood of Holmes. As per his description, the younger Holmes was a social outcast while his brother Mycroft was always ahead in studies and settled in life nicely. Sherlock would have been a school dropout and finally became the only consulting detective in the world. The interesting fact to be noted is that even here, Brett imagined Holmes’s father to be “an army toad”.
As the series progressed (as did Brett’s manic depression), more and more of Brett came into his portrayal of Holmes, making the real Holmes almost an afterthought. The book delves quite a bit into the physical tribulations of Brett and it is quite depressing to read. Brett suffered greatly and still insisted on donning the grease-paint.
|Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.|
This book is a must read for fans of the Granada adaptation and/or Jeremy Brett.
Image Source: Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies
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