Showing posts with label Arthur Conan Doyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arthur Conan Doyle. Show all posts

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sherlock Holmes Birthday and New Sherlock Holmes Coin

sherlock holmes birthday strand magazine art illustration poster image wallpaper screensaver picture

Today marks the 165th birthday of Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective.

From dispatching hounds on Dartmoor to helping red headed clients with their vexing conundrums, Holmes has seen it all. He has had more than his share of cases involving saving step daughters from their money grubbing step fathers.

Holmes has survived a number of murder attempts - some at the behest of Professor Moriarty. In addition to physical attacks, Holmes has also been the target of being infected with rare tropical diseases. Plus, it does not help that Holmes himself took several life threatening risks himself, the most famous being when he exposed himself and Dr Watson to the experiment involving Devil's Foot.

sherlock holmes strand magazine illustration poster image wallpaper screensaver picture

All said and done, Holmes is immortal. People will continue to read ACD's original stories and perpetuate the myth of the greatest detective who never lived.

In addition, there are numerous pastiches and adaptations, many of which are enjoyable. Fans of the author have paid tribute by letting their imagination run wild - Holmes has battled the Loch Ness monster, has been reincarnated in the 22nd century, and not only has he been partnered with a female Watson and a female Moriarty, but even has had Irene Adler and Moriarty combined into the same person.

To commemorate ACD's 160th birth anniversary, the Royal Mint has designed 50 pence Sherlock Holmes coins listing some of the most popular stories and novels from the Canon.
sherlock holmes 50p coins royal mint 2019
Here's wishing the very best of fame and popularity to the world's most renowned fictional sleuth.

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Image Source: The Royal Mint

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Cast and Crew - Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes

This is my second post about the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Igor Maslennikov and starring Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin as “Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson”.

Please click here to read my earlier post.

russian mrs hudson image picture wallpaper screensaver poster

Rina Zelyonaya brings out the motherly and patient nature of the long-suffering landlady of the Bohemian detective. A nice touch is that Mrs Hudson is much smarter than the canonical one and is able to make a few deductions of her own.

Boris Klyuev makes a truly classy Mycroft, whose skills of observation and deduction exceed those of even Sherlock. He is bit on the leaner side, but nonetheless cuts a very commanding figure.

Boris Klyuev as Mycroft Holmes in the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes
Boris Klyuev as Mycroft Holmes
Borislav Brondukov brings down the house with his portrayal of Inspector Lestrade. He is probably the best Lestrade ever in terms of physical appearance: small, rat-faced and sly. Where Borislav excels is the spirit and cheer that he imbues in his depiction of the famous Scotland Yard detective.

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Igor Maslennikov, the director of this TV series, has done a stupendous job. He completed his education in Journalism from Leningrad University in 1954. He has worked as editor, script writer, cameraman and director in a career spanning more than 30 years.

Igor Maselnnikov, the director of the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes
Igor Maselnnikov, the director
Maslennikov's work on this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes brought him well-deserved recognition and success. Maslennikov's passion and reverence for Sir Doyle's works are evident in the aesthetically done opening credits as well as the costumes, sets and the casting choices. It would have taken considerable efforts from the director and his crew to recreate Victorian England in Russia. Hats off to the entire team and especially Maslennikov for helming such a wonderful and elegant adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

He is ably assisted by Vladimir Dashkevich, whose music takes the series to a whole new level. His music is an instant classic, in every sense of the word.

Vladimir Dashkevich, the music composer of the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes
Vladimir Dashkevich, the music composer

The Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes is a perfect marriage of great ensemble acting, a classic soundtrack and impeccable direction.

Click here to read all my posts about the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

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Image Source: Lenfilm Film Studio

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Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes
Review - Mortal Fight (1980)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (2004) - Canonical References Part I

The Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking  remains one of the least seen and unsurprisingly one of the most underappreciated gems in the history of Sherlock Holmes adaptations. I was fortunate to have come across the movie and found it to be an excellent take on the legendary detective.

One of the main strengths of the movie is the surprising number of references to Arthur Conan Doyle's originals. Here is the list:

1. While witnessing the autopsy of the latest victim at the mortuary, Dr John Watson (Ian Hart) suggests that the ligature around the girl's neck be cut to leave the knot intact. Dr Watson notes: “It is an old trick of Holmes. There is a world of information in a knot” -

In the beginning of the short story The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, Holmes states about the knot: “The importance lies in the fact that the knot is left intact, and that this knot is of a peculiar character”. Later, Holmes explains: The string was of the quality which is used by sail-makers aboard ship, and at once a whiff of the sea was perceptible in our investigation. When I observed that the knot was one which is popular with sailors, that the parcel had been posted at a port,  and that the male ear was pierced for an earring which is so much more common among sailors than landsmen, I was quite certain that all the actors in the tragedy were to be found among our seafaring classes.

2. When Sherlock Holmes (Rupert Everett) deduces that Dr Watson is following him, Dr Watson wonders as to how Holmes figured that out since he is not smoking distinctive tobacco -

Reference to Holmes' expert knowledge of tobacco and cigar ashes. Holmes remarks in The Boscombe Valley MysteryI found the ash of a cigar, which my special knowledge of tobacco ashes enables me to pronounce as an Indian cigar. I have, as you know, devoted some attention to this, and written a little monograph on the ashes of 140 different varieties of pipe, cigar, and cigarette tobacco. 

3. Dr Watson further complains that he is not wearing odored cologne -

Reference to Holmes' expertise on scents and perfumes. Holmes explains in The Hound of the BaskervillesThere are seventy-five perfumes, which it is very necessary that a criminal expert should be able to distinguish from each other, and cases have more than once within my own experience depended upon their prompt recognition.

4. Holmes explains to Dr Watson: You reek of the slaughterhouse.” -

Holmes himself says in The Adventure of the Blanched SoldierI have, as my friend Watson may have remarked, an abnormally acute set of senses, and a faint but incisive scent was apparent. It seemed to center on the hall-table.

5. Holmes also states the same thing in French: Odeur de morgue -

Reference to the French ancestry of Holmes. Holmes states in The Adventure of the Greek InterpreterBut, none the less, my turn that way is in my veins, and may have come with my grandmother, who was the sister of Vernet, the French artist. 

6. Holmes tells Watson: “Life away from the Baker Street seems to suit you Watson. I see you have put on seven and a half pounds since last we met” -

When Dr Watson visits Sherlock Holmes at 221 B in A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes remarks: “Wedlock suits you... I think, Watson, that you have put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you”.

7. At 221 B, Mrs Hudson (Anne Carroll) hands over the mail to Holmes who carelessly discards most of them before proceeding to use a knife to affix one of them on the mantelpiece –

Dr Watson writes about Holmes in The Adventure of The Musgrave RitualBut with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs.

8. Sherlock angrily asks Mrs Hudson if she has been tidying up and she replies: Hardly” -

In The Adventure of the Dying DetectiveDr John Watson writes about Mrs Hudson: Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, was a long-suffering woman...her remarkable lodger showed an eccentricity and irregularity in his life which must have sorely tried her patience. His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worst tenant in London.... The landlady stood in the deepest awe of him and never dared to interfere with him, however outrageous his proceedings might seem.”

mrs hudson sherlock holmes landlady picture image poster wallpaper screensaver

9. Mrs Hudson asks Holmes as to what time he will dine. To which he replies: 7.30... Day after tomorrow. Mrs Hudson is visibly upset with this response. Later she complains about this to Dr Watson when he comes to 221 B -

In the Canon, Mrs Hudson has often expressed her concern to Dr Watson about Sherlock's health.

In The Sign of the Four, she tells Dr Watson: “I am afraid for his health?” and explains that she can hear Holmes talking to himself and refusing to take cooling medicine as per her suggestion.

In The Adventure of the Dying Detective, Mrs Hudson rushes to Dr Watson and implores him to come to Sherlock's aid immediately: “He's dying, Dr. Watson... For three days he has been sinking, and I doubt if he will last the day... This morning when I saw his bones sticking out of his face and his great bright eyes looking at me I could stand no more of it....I wouldn't waste an hour in coming to him, sir, or you may not see him alive.”

10. Holmes hears Dr Watson approaching him at the mortuary and asks if he is so predictable that Watson could find him twice on the same day. Dr Watson replies: Perhaps at long last, I have learned to apply your methods - 

In The Sign of the Four, Holmes impatiently tells Watson: “My dear Watson, try a little analysis yourself... You know my methods. Apply them, and it will be instructive to compare results.”

In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, Holmes asks Watson to make deductions about the as-yet-unidentified owner of the hat: “Here is my lens. You know my methods. What can you gather yourself as to the individuality of the man who has worn this article?” 

11. Dr Watson tells Holmes after seeing the letters lying all around his room: You always were one of the most untidy men, but really Holmes..” -

Dr Watson writes about Holmes in The Adventure of The Musgrave RitualAn anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction.”

12. Mrs Hudson informs Holmes and Watson that the Duke of Norborough is here. Dr Watson says: “Perhaps I should go Holmes”. Holmes restrains him saying: No, Not a bit. Stay where you. Come on old chap, it will be just like old times. -

In A Scandal in Bohemia, at the sound of the client's bougham stopping outside 221 B, Dr Watson offers to leave:  “I think that I had better go, Holmes.” To which Holmes replies: “Not a bit, Doctor. Stay where you are. I am lost without my Boswell. And this promises to be interesting. It would be a pity to miss it.”

13. After the Duke appears, Holmes states: Good Day, Your Grace. Pray take a seat.” After the prospective client does not respond, Holmes introduces Dr WatsonThis is my friend and colleague, Dr Watson -

This scene is taken word for word from The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, when Lord St. Simon arrives at 221 B: “Good-day, Lord St. Simon,” said Holmes, rising and bowing. “Pray take the basket-chair. This is my friend and colleague, Dr. Watson. Draw up a little to the fire, and we will talk this matter over.”

14. The Duke explains: “Lord Blakemore tells me I may place implicit reliance upon your judgment and discretion. I have determined therefore to consult you in reference to a very painful event which has occurred. -

This line is almost taken verbatim from The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, in which Lord St. Simon writes to Holmes: “Lord Backwater tells me that I may place implicit reliance upon your judgment and discretion. I have determined, therefore, to call upon you and to consult you in reference to the very painful event which has occurred in connection with my wedding.”

rupert everett sherlock holmes picture image poster wallpaper screensaver

15. The Duke asks Holmes to find his daughter's killer and offers to pay handsomely for his services. Holmes replies: “My professional charges are upon a fixed scale, Your Grace. I do not vary them unless I remit them altogether” -

In The Problem of Thor Bridge, Neil Gibson (the Gold King) boasts to Holmes: “Let me say right here, Mr. Holmes... that money is nothing to me in this case. You can burn it if it’s any use in lighting you to the truth. This woman is innocent and this woman has to be cleared, and it’s up to you to do it. Name your figure!”. Sherlock Holmes responds: My  professional  charges  are  upon  a fixed scale.. I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether.

16. Holmes is angry at the sight of several policeman at the scene of the crime and scolds Inspector Lestrade (Neil Dudgeon): “For God's sake, Lestrade, Why on earth are there heavy booted policeman trampling everyone like a herd of buffaloes?” - 

In A Study in Scarlet, Gregson tells Holmes that he has left the crime scene untouched. Holmes points to the pathway and remarks: “If a herd of buffaloes had passed along there could not be a greater mess. No doubt, however, you had drawn your own conclusions, Gregson, before you permitted this.”

I will be posting the remaining ones in another post.

Click here to read my review of the movie.


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Image Sources: BBC, Tiger Aspect Productions, WGBH Boston

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Canonical References in "The Empty Hearse"
Canonical Nods in "The Empty Hearse"
Canonical Nods in "A Study in Pink"

Saturday, January 28, 2017

BBC Sherlock S4E3 "The Final Problem" - Recap and Review

sherlock the final problem poster image picture wallpaper screensaver

There will be spoilers throughout and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post.

As seen at the end of The Lying Detective”, there is one more Holmes lurking around and that is Eurus (Sian Brooke). Eurus is seen taking a shot at John Watson (Martin Freeman) and this is supposedly meant to indicate that either John is dead or at least injured.

The season finale starts off with Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss) watching classic movie at his palatial home. Suddenly, horror movie cliches (creepy girl and creepy clown running around randomly) abound and Mycroft is scared out of his wits. Turns out that his brother dear Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is behind this charade.

Sherlock wanted to get even with Mycroft for not revealing the existence of Eurus. And as an added bonus, John is still alive. What about getting shot by the scheming sister, you ask. Well, it was just a tranquilizer shot. No worries.

Mycroft then gives a quick rundown about Eurus (an era defining genius beyond Newton). If only she had not gone bad, the world would have benefited from her genius intellect or at the least Sherlock would not have had so much trouble from that pesky criminal mastermind, Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott).

Click on the link below to order your copy of Season 4:

But as thing stand, Eurus has gone bonkers. As if she had predicted the exact time and day of this conversation, Eurus arranges a nice explosion at 221 B Baker Street by sending a remote controlled drone. Man, that Eurus is so smart.

Like any respectable action heroes would do in such a situation, Sherlock and John escape completely unscathed and decide to take the war right back to sister dear.

The next scene shifts to Sherlock, John and Mycroft arriving at Sherrinford and right at this moment, the show divorced itself from Arthur Conan Doyle's works (on which it is supposed to be based on).

The rest of the episode is busy doing an ill-advised and completely out of place imitation of the Saw horror movies rather than be a show about a bohemian detective. And yes, the resolution. The resolution comes and goes like the Miss Hudson cameo in the other equally inept adaptation that also claims to be based on one Mr Sherlock Holmes: the CBS show known as Elementary.

Coming back to this show,  Eurus has taken complete control of Sherrinford and subjects her dearest brothers and the ex army veteran to a series of psychological tests including making a phone call to Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), one character choosing between shooting one of the other two etc. Yes, the episode is that bad.

A special mention must be made of the closing montage. With the departed Mary Morstan still making her presence felt through DVDs (come to think of it, so many characters make their appearances through clips after dying..), the show ends with a tribute to Basil Rathbone with the lead actors continuing the time honored tradition of Batman and Robin running towards the camera.

mrs hudson sherlock season 4 image picture screensaver wallpaper poster

Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs), who stole the show in the previous episode, has the best line in this one too: her exchange with Mycroft about a cup of tea.

Surprisingly, the best performance is not given by either the Holmes brothers or their new found sister or even the cute as a button and always teary eyed John. It is Andrew Scott as the late Jim Moriarty with his very brief but very catchy and enjoyable contributions by imitating the sounds of time ticking away and train sounds.

I know this makes no sense when you read it, but it really translates well to screen. I have never been a fan of Andrew's over the top version of Moriarty, but this was just pure fun. Scott's performance remains the only redeeming feature of this shipwreck of what was once a widely acclaimed show. Here is an article that captures the unbelievable plot holes and gaps in the script.

Going forward, I can only hope for two things: that the BBC show never returns, and that Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. learn from this mistake and continue their great work with the third Sherlock Holmes movie.

mycroft sherlock holmes brothers poster image picture wallpaper screensaver

Click here to read the list of Canonical References in the episode. Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece theater

Thursday, January 26, 2017

BBC Sherlock S4E2 "The Lying Detective" - Review and Recap

sherlock john watson 221 b baker street image picture screensaver wallpaper poster

There will be spoilers throughout and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post.

This episode begins with John Watson (Martin Freeman) speaking with a new psychiatrist, someone who is not as understanding and friendly as Ella was. John is still heartbroken over the loss of his beloved wife.

Like John, I am sure many readers are looking for professional help for mental health issues. I recommend BetterHelp, an organization that provides online therapy services.

John's session is interrupted by a speeding car that comes to a grinding halt outside. Readers expecting to see Sherlock's grand entrance are in for a huge surprise: instead it is good old Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs).

Mrs Hudson forces John to talk to Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is lying in the trunk. Sherlock has seemingly gone completely off the rails after he publicly accuses Culverton Smith (Toby Jones) of being a serial killer.

In the meantime, Sherlock receives a client who claims to be Faith (Culverton's daughter). She claims that her father is planning to murder someone. Sherlock realizes that Faith might be suicidal and Sherlock tries to talk her out of it by going for a walk together and having chips.

Culverton invites Sherlock and John to his charity hospital. Sherlock borrows Culverton's cellphone and texts Faith asking her to come to the hospital. When Faith arrives, Sherlock is shocked to discover that the lady who posed as Faith at 221 B Baker Street is not the one standing in front of him.

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At this juncture, Sherlock loses it completely and is about to attack Culverton with a scalpel. John intervenes and roughs up Sherlock badly enough that he bleeds.

Sherlock is admitted to the hospital and Culverton promises publicly that he will take good care of his illustrious patient.

John Watson (Martin Freeman) watches the DVD sent by Mary and realizes that Sherlock is putting his life at risk to pull John out of his depression. John races to the hospital in time and stops Culverton from killing Sherlock by suffocation.

This episode was a distinct improvement over The Six Thatchers. Sherlock returns to catching criminals even if he does not do much of deductions. Cumberbatch regains some of the verve and enthusiasm that he has shown in Seasons 1 to 3. He was effective in the monologue scene and especially his closing conversation with Mrs Hudson.

Speaking of Mrs Hudson, Una Stubbs owned this episode. Her dialogue delivery has never been better in my humble opinion. From her dramatic entrance to her forcing Sherlock to hand over handcuffs to displaying her insights into Sherlock's habits, it is Una's show all the way. Her exchange with John about owning the sports car and her response to his request was hilarious.

sherlock molly hooper lying detective image picture screensaver wallpaper poster

While Freeman is good as John Watson, there were some anomalies in the episode. Mary's statement about John never accepting help from anyone was quite out of character. To the best of my knowledge, the canonical Dr Watson is never above accepting help. If anything, it is Sherlock Holmes who works alone and does not share his plans with others till the last moment. This was a jarring piece of writing from the two writers, who have always claimed to be huge fans of Arthur Conan Doyle.

But the most cringeworthy scene was seeing John beat up Sherlock viciously. While Gatiss and Moffat can justify this as John's pent up anger over Mary's death, this was something that ACD's Watson would never do. At this point, Freeman's Watson is as distant from the Canonical Watson as Nigel Bruce's bumbling version is.

The other good performances were given by Toby Jones as Culverton and Sian Brooke as Eurus Holmes. Toby is equal parts creepy and equal parts funny. He nails the part of the serial killer who almost openly confesses to being one.

sherlock culverton smith the lying detective image picture screensaver wallpaper poster

Sian oozes menace as the third Holmes sibling. She does not display any of the over the top antics of Andrew Scott's Moriarty. Her disguises were pulled off successfully and credit to the make up department for a job well done. It is a pity that all this good work will be undone in the next episode...

Click here to read the list of Canonical References in the episode. Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece theater