Showing posts with label Russian Sherlock Holmes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russian Sherlock Holmes. Show all posts

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.

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Image Source: Lenfilm Film Studio

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Russian Holmes Review - "The Mistress of Lord Maulbrey" - Episode # 4

Russian Sherlock Holmes John Watson fireplace 221 B Baker Street new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series

At 221 B Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes (Igor Petrenko) receives his latest client: Elizabeth Baker (Olga Krasko). Elizabeth believes that she will become the fifth victim of a serial killer. This murderer kills women at night and reminded me of the infamous Jack the Ripper.

Elizabeth thinks she is being stalked by the killer and even receives a handwritten note from him asking for a date. Sherlock convinces her father that she will not come to harm and that she should meet this person at the time and place as mentioned in his note.

This would-be murderer turns out to be one Henry Thomas Calloway. He is apprehended by Holmes and Watson. The court sentences him the death punishment by hanging.

Sherlock deduces that there is more to this case than meets the eye. He sets out with Watson to the Bakers' residence and discover that the family has packed everything and moved out.

Holmes realizes that Henry is innocent and saves him from being hanged to death. Henry confesses that he was in debt for 1200 pounds to a certain Gilbert Roy (Leonid Timtsunik).

Henry finds an unlikely rescuer in the form of one Bernard Buckley, who offers him the amount if Henry will follow and eventually make Elizabeth Baker fall in love with him.

Holmes deduces that Buckley is none other than Professor Moriarty himself. Now, Sherlock and Dr Watson have to apprehend the mysterious Gilbert Roy.

Russian John Watson binoculars Sherlock Holmes 2013 Episode 4 The Mistress of Lord Maulbrey

Canonical References

1. Dr Watson asks Sherlock if only puzzles interest him and not the human involved. Sherlock replies that the concerned person is distant to him and is just a part of the puzzle -  In The Sign of the Four, Sherlock Holmes does not notice the physical beauty of his client, Mary Morstan and explains to Dr Watson: “A client is to me a mere unit, a factor in a problem. The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning”.

2. Henry Calloway's physical appearance and simplicity in reciting his background and the way the people around him reacted with suppressed laughter - This reminded me of Jabez Wilson from The Adventure of the Red-Headed League. In this original story, Jabez is a simpleton who was duped by his new employee, Vincent Spaulding/John Clay by a patently obvious lie. Holmes and Watson fought hard to suppress their laughter while listening to his story at 221 B.

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3. The way Holmes predicts that Buckley wears glasses with blue lenses and Henry's complete surprise - In The Adventure of the Retired Colorman, Sherlock Holmes leaves Dr Watson stunned by his description of Mr. Barker as a tall, dark, heavily mustached man, you say, with gray-tinted sun-glasses. Holmes knew the Surrey detective from past encounters.

4. Gilbert Roy uses a poisoned dart to kill his victims including the notary, Robert Kibby - In The Sign of the Four, Tonga is an pygmy Andaman Islander and the trusted ally of Jonathan Small. Tonga uses poison darts to kill Bartholomew Sholto and makes an unsuccessful attempt on the lives of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson during the chase on River Thames.

5. When Sherlock mentions the name of Moriarty as being the person responsible, everyone at the Scotland Yard laugh at him out of disbelief. Inspector Lestrade also mentions that there is no police files maintained for such a name anywhere in the world. - In The Valley of Fear, when Sherlock Holmes mentions the name of Professor Moriarty as being the mastermind behind the murder of John Douglas of Birlstone Manor House, Dr Watson records the Scotland Yard Inspector's reaction as thus: “Inspector MacDonald smiled, and his eyelid quivered as he glanced towards me. "I won't conceal from you, Mr. Holmes, that we think in the C.I.D. that you have a wee bit of a bee in your bonnet over this professor. I made some inquiries myself about the matter. He seems to be a very respectable, learned, and talented sort of man." ”

Leonid Timtsunik Gilbert Roy Russian Sherlock Holmes Episode 4 The Mistress of Lord Maulbrey

6. Sherlock instructs Inspector Lestrade to find the theater actors who impersonated as Elizabeth Baker's parents - In A Study in Scarlet, after he is duped by the elderly Mrs. Sawyer” who claims that the ring belongs to her daughter, Holmes explains to Dr Watson: “Old woman be damned!... We were the old women to be so taken in. It must have been a young man, and an active one, too, besides being an incomparable actor. The get-up was inimitable.”

7. Sherlock deduces the brand of tobacco (smoked by Mr Bishop) as Dorwood's Special”. Later, he deduces the cigar (retrieved by Dr Watson from Gilbert Roy's office) to be of The Royal Caribbean brand - 
Sherlock Holmes states to Dr John Watson in The Sign of the Four: “...Yes, I have been guilty of several monographs. They are all upon technical subjects. Here, for example, is one 'Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccoes.' In it I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar-, cigarette-, and pipe-tobacco, with colored plates illustrating the difference in the ash. It is a point which is continually turning up in criminal trials, and which is sometimes of supreme importance as a clue.

8. When Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson surprise Mrs Hudson by coming through the backdoor, she gets angry and threatens that not only will she take away his key, but also will change the lock itself. Holmes replies that he has a latchkey to every lock - In The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, Holmes explains to Dr Watson: “You know, Watson, I don't mind confessing to you that I have always had an idea that I would have made a highly efficient criminal....This is a first-class, up-to-date burgling kit, with nickel-plated jemmy, diamond-tipped glass-cutter, adaptable keys, and every modern improvement which the march of civilization demands.” 

9. Sherlock Holmes does some chemical experiments and figures out that the dart used by Gilbert Roy contained Mertsius, which happens to be a poison of an Australian frog - In A Study in ScarletDr Watson mentions that Sherlock Holmes is “Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally.”

Russian Sherlock Holmes Episode 4 The Mistress of Lord Maulbrey Olga Krasko Elizabeth Baker

The acting continues to be solid all around. Olga Krasko and Leonid Timtsunik are the guest stars in this episode. Both of them do a great job in their respective roles.

The constant bickering between Sherlock and Inspector Lestrade are the highlights of this episode. The way Sherlock bargains with Lestrade for time to solve the mystery and the way he scolds Lestrade for not doing the due diligence necessary to catch the real killer was classic Holmes.

However, one point where the episode falters is in showing Sherlock Holmes' fighting skills. In the Canon, both Holmes and Dr Watson are able fighters, more than capable of taking care of themselves in a confrontation.

In the first episode, Dr Watson dispatches no less than four street toughs easily and then beats a much bigger opponent in a boxing match. But this time, he is unable to defeat Gilbert Roy and even the added presence of Sherlock is not enough to turn the odd in our heroes' favor.

But then, the episode would have been over, had Roy been apprehended right then.

This lack of fighting skills on the part of Petrenko's Holmes is a significant deviation from the Canonical version, who is a skilled boxer.

However, Dr Watson acquits himself when he helps the police catch the fleeing Gilbert by shooting him in the leg correctly, proving his sharpshooter skills.

The growing attraction between Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson is portrayed subtly but effectively.

The sets and costumes are top notch. Kudos to the team for their dedication. The show has a light tone and a strong sense of humor. The references to Alphonse Bertillon and Francis Galton were a nice touch. As was the kid wearing the deerstalker.

Highly recommended to fans of Sherlock Holmes.

Special thanks to Spiritcc for the high resolution pictures.

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Image Sources: Channel One Russia, Central Partnership,

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Russian Sherlock Review - Episode # 3 "Clowns"

Russian Sherlock Holmes Igor Petrenko 2013 TV Series Episode 3 Clowns

As seen in the last episode, Irene Adler (Lyanka Gryu) stole a photograph from Sherlock Holmes (Igor Petrenko) right from his coat at 221 B Baker Street. This photograph proves to be of great significance due to the fact that one of the men is a complete stranger unknown to Dr John Watson, who is able to name most of the them due to his experiences with them during the war.

That picture is now published in the papers and Holmes is mystified as to why Irene would have stolen a picture that is to be printed for public consumption. 

Inspector Lestrade (Mikhail Boyarskiy) needs Sherlock's help in solving a case of murder. A photographer is killed just as he is about to take a picture of Tom Taylor (Sergey Burunov) and Mary (Natalya Tyurkina), an engaged couple.

Sherlock, using his knowledge of chemistry, figures out that trinitrotoluene was used as the explosive. He also deduces that there was a fourth person present, who was the murderer.

Click on the link below to buy Vasily Livanov Holmes DVD:

Lestrade informs Holmes that it was Mycroft Holmes who had asked him to take Sherlock's help. Mycroft believes that Tom, the bridegroom was the target of this attack. Tom works for the Navy and was working on a very secret submarine project.

Sherlock and Dr John Watson (Andrei Panin) visit Bimbom Bramsel, a tavern frequented by Tom. They successfully capture Tom and after interrogating him, Sherlock concludes that he is not a spy.

Dr Watson identifies one of the persons in the photograph as one his wartime acquaintances, Charlie (Andrey Zibrov). Charlie is in jail right now and Sherlock and Dr Watson try to get him to identify the mysterious man in the picture.

Though Charlie recognizes the man, he is scared and pretends  not to know him. Despite Sherlock's warning that he is in mortal danger, Charlie pleads innocence. Just as Sherlock and Dr Watson are leaving, he is attacked in his cell and dies. He only mouths the word “Mor” and dies before he can complete the name.

Sherlock is forced to retrieve the picture from Irene Adler. He accomplishes this with Dr Watson's active help. As a result, Irene is kidnapped. Sherlock gets a ransom note: he has to steal the fur coat from the French Ambassador in exchange for Irene's safe return.

The rest of the episode deals with how Sherlock works with the French Ambassador, Charles Gauthier (Semyon Strugachyov) to save Irene's life.

Russian Lestrade Mikhail Boyarsky new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series

Canonical References
1. During the opening credits scene, Dr John Watson's voiceover mentions the following lines from A Scandal in Bohemia - “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position.... And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

2. The plot involving the conspiracy to kill a navy sailor for knowing secrets about a top secret submarine project and Mycroft enlisting Sherlock's help through Lestrade - This reminded me of the original story, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans in which Mycroft requests Sherlock's assistance to solve the mystery behind the death Arthur Cadogan West, a government clerk and the missing pages of a secret submarine project.

3. In the Admiralty office, Sherlock refuses to take the case, if he is not provided with information. The Admiral (Aleksandr Polovtsev) finally relents to share details - There is a similar scene in Arthur Conan Doyle's story, The Adventure of the Second Stain in which the Prime Minister of England himself visits Sherlock Holmes at 221 B Baker Street regarding a missing document of high importance. Holmes refuses to help, unless he is provided with complete details about the document. Faced with this obstacle, The Prime Minister is forced to reveal more details.

4. Sherlock interrupts Irene and a stranger walking together in the park and deduces that he is an American who has recently arrived in London - This is a tenuous reference: In A Scandal in Bohemia, Sherlock Holmes mentions that Irene Adler was born in New Jersey in the US in 1858.

5. In order to retrieve the photograph from Irene's safe, Dr Watson makes a plan and creates a fire using photographic chemicals inside Irene's place. His strategy works and Irene bring the photograph outside - In A Scandal in Bohemia, it is Sherlock Holmes who comes up with the plan and asks Dr Watson to create the distraction with fire. Here too, the intention is to make Irene disclose the hiding place of her photograph with the Crown Prince of Bohemia.

6. The American Ambassador's wife, Jane makes the suggestion to write a message on the wall with blood - Possible reference to A Study in Scarlet, in which the murderer writes the word “RACHE” on the wall in blood.

We finally come face to face with Professor Moriarty (Aleksey Gorbunov). He looks and actually comes across as a genuinely scary criminal mastermind. Credit to the casting director for making this choice.

Mrs Hudson (Ingeborga Dapkunaite)'s passion for astrological signs adds a facet to her character. Though not present in the Canon, this is an enjoyable aspect. The “reception” she gets when trying to help Sherlock and John as they are working on the case was funny.

The late Andrei Panin also contributes to the humor aspects. His reaction to Tom's reunion with his fiance underlines the decent nature of Dr John Watson well.

His scenes with the publisher continue to be the best scenes in the show. The publisher advises Dr Watson to write a detective tale involving a young lady who receives a pearl every year and comes to a detective for help - A clear reference to The Sign of the Four, on which the previous episode “Rock, Paper, Scissors” was loosely based on.

An interesting scene was the one in which Sherlock rouses Dr Watson from his sleep by playing on his violin. This scene was genuinely funny, with Andrei Panin's reaction being top notch. This is something that the writers and actors in the CBS show Elementary can learn, since Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock wakes up Joan in pretty much every second episode.

Guest actor, Semyon Strugachyov is a hoot as French Ambassador Charles Gauthier. He is great in all of his scenes and especially the dinner scene with the American Ambassador (Yaroslav Boyko) and his wife, Jane.

The show has a great sense of humor and this differentiates it from the other very serious minded adaptations. I personally prefer Sherlock Holmes adaptations with a lighter touch and this one scores on that front, just as it's legendary predecessor, the classic TV series with Vasily Livanov did.

Highly recommended to fans of Sherlock Holmes. 

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

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Image Sources: Channel One Russia, Central Partnership, Lenfilm Films Studio

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Russian Sherlock 2013 Episode # 2 "Rock, Paper, Scissors" - Recap and Review

Russian John Watson Andrei Panin new Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series Episode 2 Rock Paper Scissors

The opening shot is a beautifully rendered one - It is a foggy street and breaking out of this white veil, a hansom comes thundering out at us. Soon, the hansom is ambushed and the men escorting the treasure are shot dead.

At 221 B Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes (Igor Petrenko) and Dr John Watson (Andrei Panin) have had another of their friendly boxing bouts. Peter Small (Mikhail Evlanov), one of Dr Watson's former acquaintances arrives, seeking his help for his wounds.

It is too late for Peter and he dies shortly. Inspector Lestrade (Mikhail Boyarskiy) is hot on Peter's trail and demands an explanation from the residents of 221 B as to the whereabouts of a bag Peter was carrying.

Both Dr Watson and Sherlock claim to have seen Peter for the first time. After Lestrade leaves, Dr Watson explains about his past experiences with Peter Small. Peter had one of his legs cut off right in front of Dr Watson.

Sherlock deduces that Peter has a child at St. Marks' orphanage. He is proved right when they run into Peter's daughter, Mary Small at the orphanage. Mary has an visitor, Thaddeus “Tad” Sholto. Tad also happens to be one of Dr Watson's former army acquaintances and had saved the lives of Dr Watson and Peter Small in a military operation.

The rest of the episode focuses on how Sherlock and Dr Watson solve the mystery behind the death of Peter Small.

Click on the link below to buy Vasily Livanov Holmes DVD:

Canonical References
1. During the opening credits scene, Dr John Watson's voiceover mentions the following lines from the Canon - “Holmes certainly is not a difficult man to live with, but I got more and more interested in his personality. There wasn't an end to this energy. His eyes were sharp and piercing. If you didn't count the periods of stupor in which he was falling from time to time. His hands were invariably blotted with ink and stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of an extraordinary delicacy of touch as I frequently had the occasion to observe when I watched him manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments. Somebody may set me down as a hopeless busybody when I confess how much this man stimulated my curiosity and how often I endeavored to break through the reticence which he showed on all that concerned himself”.

2. Dr John Watson and Sherlock Holmes have the following exchange almost verbatim from A Study in Scarlet: “You remind me of Edgar Allen Poe's Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin,...  Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends' thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour's silence is really very showy and superficial.

3. Sherlock refers to a case in which a bankrupt landowner kills his wife, step daughters a year apart by poisoning with arsenic, in order to have the inheritance all for himself. When caught, he claimed that one of them died from a snake's bite. - This reminded me of the plot of The Adventure of the Speckled Band, in which Dr Grimesby Roylott killed his step daughter Julia Stoner using a swamp adder. Julia's twin sister, Helen Stoner then seeks Sherlock Holmes' assistance.

4. Sherlock deduces that Peter Small worked as a cab-man based on the callus between his fingers and the condition of his boot soles - Sherlock Holmes states in A Study in Scarlet: “By a man's finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt cuffs—by each of these things a man's calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent enquirer in any case is almost inconceivable” 

5. Mycroft Holmes makes a mention of Francis Carfas, secret agent and helper - Possible reference to the original story, The Adventure of Lady Frances Carfax.

Russian Sherlock Holmes in disguise in the new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series

Igor Petrenko puts his own stamp on an iconic character. His take leans more towards the Robert Downey Jr. type - a bit over the top. 

Andrei Panin continues to impress as Dr John Watson. His impersonation of the affable doctor deserves to go down as one of the best ever on screen.

I liked the part where Dr Watson offers discounts to veterans and the disabled. Equally good was the reference to him being a student at the University of London.

The best part though is Dr Watson facing troubles with the publisher to get his poem about the war published. The publisher instead advises him to write something more palatable to the general taste like a cute love story with a touch of murder mystery. The publisher even gives Charles Dickens as an example, who did not mind  writing detective plots. Dr Watson decides to pay the money himself to have his poem printed, but lack of funds prevent him from sealing the deal. The publisher informs the budding author that writing detective stories instead would fetch him a handsome sum instead.

These scenes paralleled the real life obstacles faces by Arthur Conan Doyle in getting public approval for his serious works of non-fiction get. But much against his wishes his fictitious works featuring Sherlock Holmes proved to be bestsellers. Despite his lifelong efforts, Arthur Conan Doyle is still best known for his works involving the Bohemian detective.

These were nice touches and showed the passion of the show writers for the original stories.

This episode introduces us to two of the most important women in the Sherlock Holmes Canon - Mrs Hudson and Irene Adler, played by Ingeborga Dapkunaite  and Lyanka Gryu respectively.

Lyanka makes a pretty and playful Irene. She pays a visit to Sherlock at 221 B Baker Street and steals a photograph right under his nose. Their playful banter that hints at past intimacy is another influence of the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr. movies.

Ingeborga Dapkunaite, on the other hand plays a commanding and a relatively young Mrs Hudson. We are used to Mrs Hudson being played by very elderly actresses. The latest Russian adaptation makes a clear breakaway from this stereotyped portrayal.

Ingeborga makes her mark in the scene, where she has to choose between either having the detective and the army veteran as her tenants or the two elderly ladies who have had enough of the trouble brought on by the adorementioned two roommates.

In addition to these two ladies, we also meet Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's elder brother and one of the founders of the Diogenes Club. We do not get to see his face yet, but he still maintains his dominating presence and is treated with utmost respect by members of the official force, including Inspector Lestrade.

The episode is very loosely based on the original story The Sign of the Four. The writers have made changes to make this an interesting take on the classic story. There is an encounter between the good guys and baddies on a river, just as in the source novel. The final scene with Mary Small receiving a pearl every year to fund her education was touching and another nod to the original story, in which Mary Morstan receives a pearl every year from Thaddeus Sholto.

Recommended to fans of Sherlock Holmes.

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

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Image Sources: Central Partnership, Channel One Russia, Sherlock Holmes News 

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Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes
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