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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

I’m a movie buff. I admit it. When I’m not reading, writing, or working, I’m sitting in a darkened theater, soaking up some new release. Not any new release, mind you. Anything with the noun ”Saw” in the title or pictures of bloody surgical weapons or tear jerkers will keep me home with my trusty laptop or a good book faster than you can say “cinema”. But give me a rousing good adventure or a light comedy, and I’m there.

The movie I’ve enjoyed the most so far in 2010 is Sherlock Holmes. True, Robert Downey, Jr.’s chocolate brown eyes and surprisingly buff body may have more than just a little bit to do with that, and the twinkle in Jude Law’s smile might have added a bit more, but the rich period flavor and the character of Sherlock Holmes himself were probably the biggest draws for me. The character of Sherlock Holmes is one of the most enduring in literature. Undoubtedly, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation has inspired many other detectives in literature and the movies over the past one hundred twenty-three years.

Sherlock Holmes was first introduced in a short story that appeared in 1887 in Beaton’s Christmas Annual titled A Study in Scarlet. All told, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned fixty-six short stories and four novels with the lead character of Sherlock Holmes between 1887 and 1927. Throughout the course of these novels and stories, he is aided by Dr. John Watson, who also serves as the narrator of most of his adventures. Like Conan Doyle, Watson has experience as a physician, and saw wartime service as an army surgeon in Afghanistan. Watson is loyal, rugged, and apparently, a good shot. He serves as a practical contrast to the intellectual, moody Sherlock Holmes.

When one mentions Sherlock Holmes, the villain Professor Moriarty springs to mind. The new film makes a point to include Moriarty and obvious sets the stage for a sequel featuring this villain. I was stunned to discover while researching Sherlock Holmes that Professor Moriarty only appeared in one story. In The Final Problem, Professor Moriarty is dubbed a “Napoleon of Crime” by Holmes. Moriarty is a criminal mastermind, a godfather of sorts to the criminal underworld of Holmes’ day.

The character of Sherlock Holmes is multi-faceted and flawed; perhaps that is the reason for his enduring appeal. He’s brilliant, a master of disguise, eccentric, prone to depressions and addiction, and often seems cold and unfeeling in his personal relationships, even with his good friend, Watson. He’s also intensely physical, with an interest in bare-knuckle fighting and the martial arts. The contrast of the cool intellectual with superior deductive reasoning with a man who enjoys bare-knuckle fighting and a variety of weaponry created a fascinated, multi-dimensional character.

Throughout the years, Sherlock Holmes has been the subject of numerous films and has appeared as a character in many literary works. Holmes has been portrayed by dozens of actors in more than two hundred films. The recent Sherlock Holmes film was a great success, virtually ensuring a sequel. Rumors have already started to swirl regarding the casting of Moriarty. I’d vote for Russell Crowe or Johnny Depp…either could play a diabolical villain and hold their own with Downey. Of course, I’d probably hyperventilate during the movie if either of these men were on screen with Downey and Law, but that’s the chance I’d have to take.

11 comments:

Gail Zerrade said...

Hi! I haven't seen the film, but you made me want to give it a try. And you're right about that "saw" thing too. No saws for me!

Susan Macatee said...

Great post, Victoria!

I haven't seen this film yet, but so want to. I'm very into the Victorian period, so love to see books and movies set during this time.

Adventure and comedy, as well as Downey and Law, sounds great as well! Just what I want in a movie.

Victoria Gray said...

The movie was probably closer to the Sherlock Holmes in the books than the old versions where he's very restrained and proper. The character was written as a bit of an eccentric, and definitely a flawed character.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I enjoyed the performances of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. I agree that both their performances were probably truer to Conan Doyle's original creations. I also enjoyed the recreation of Victorian London. Interesting factoid about Moriarty. He looms so large that I just assumed that he was in several stories. Loved the version of how Moriarty came about in Young Sherlock Holmes.

Kathleen said...

I loved the new Sherlock Holmes movie and can't wait for the sequel. Of course, I would go to see anything Victorian (When does The Young Victoria come out?) and I would go to see about anything Robert Downey Jr. stars in. Great blog, Wendy. Thanks.

Victoria Gray said...

I was flabbergasted to learn that Moriarty was only in one story. The way it's set up, he's established as the mastermind behind many of the other crimes Holmes investigated. Honestly, I haven't read enough of the stories to consider myself well-versed, but as Elizabeth noted, Moriarty looms so large in the screen recreations. BTW, one of the rumors is that Brad Pitt is a possibility to play Moriarty. I can't see it. Really can't...

Victoria Gray said...

The depiction of Victoria London is fantastic. So vibrant...just as I imagine the city really was during that exciting time of industrial change. And the clothes...absolutely beautiful. No more need to go to the gym and do lunges and crunches. : )

Paty Jager said...

I want to set his movie, just haven't made it yet.

I agree I don't do horror movies.

The Clever Pup said...

I consider myself a bit of a Holmes afficianado. I saw this movie just last night. Once I realized that this was going to be no Jeremy Brett,I relaxed and enjoyed it. A little bit too violent. And the audio was a little hard to hear at points. But the whole family gave it an 8.

Allison Chase said...

I jump up & down anytime Hollywood makes a historical movie! Love the scenery, costumes - and the fact that without modern forensics, Holmes had to devise ingenius methods of solving crimes.

Did anyone else see the co-dependent relationship of House & Wilson in Holmes & Watson? :-)

marybelle said...

I'm a big Sherlock Holmes fan. I love the intrigued & the working out of apparent inconsequential clues.

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