Monday, January 11, 2010

Sherlock, Stock, and Barrel

I actually haven't seen the new Sherlock Holmes flick yet, believe it or not, even though all reports say it's Steampunk as fuck.

I may see it soon, or I may wait until the Blu-Ray. I'm undecided as yet. I'm sure it's fun, but the more I think about it, the more I'd rather watch Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war, a 1937 German film about a man who thinks he's Holmes.

Then there's the 1954 TV series starring Ronald Howard (no, not Ron Howard). And of course, Basil Rathbone's benchmark-setting performances. Click here to watch Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, in which Holmes rescues the inventor of a bomb-sight which the allies want to keep from the Nazis.

But for my money, you can't beat Jeremy Brett's masterful Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series of British TV programs and films. Forty-one of the 60 Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were adapted in the series, spanning 36 one-hour episodes and five feature-length specials. The series ran from 1984 to 1994, coming to an abrupt end when Brett died at the age of sixty-one from heart failure.

The Brett version of Holmes, sadly, never told the "lost" story of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, but they did do The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, the story in which Holmes makes the famous cryptic reference to the mysterious never-expounded-upon case.

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