22 thoughts on “A Historical Sherlock Holmes – No, Not That One!

  1. We were watching some of these the other day and I was thinking the costumes were good and deserved a frock flick :-)
    Trystan, you can take my share of Austin, Bronte and all their ilk (I really don’t get the appeal) and give me your share of Holmes and all the other wonderful sleuths, OK?

    1. It’s got snappy dialog & great visuals, & the ‘mystery’ isn’t hokey or really much of a mystery — it’s more of a drama with this specific one. Prob. why I liked it a lot. I watched a few others that were more typically ‘Holmes figures out obscure clues & solves mystery’ & that didn’t interest me as much, tho’ this series does have high production values throughout & Brett is great.

  2. Brett was the best Holmes ever! He did not hesitate to play Holmes’ lack of likability, and the writers were wise in not trying to give Holmes a soft side.

  3. To this fan. the Brett Holmes is the closest to canon. This story kept true to Conan Doyle, as the series so often did. The GIF of Brett swinging that cane reminded me of his turn as Freddy Aynsford-Hill in the film of My Fair Lady. Yes, that was him singing “On the Street Where You Live!”

    1. I’m pretty sure that was him lip-synking to someone else singing On the Street Where You Live … yes, the IMDB says it was Bill Shirley

      1. True, but I’m not sure why, because his voice was AMAZING! Maybe because he was a baritone and not a tenor? But look up him singing “She Moved Through the Fair” on some sixties talk show… I had chills, in the best possible way!

    2. Vincent Price once asked Brett why he played Holmes so unlikable, and Brett answered, “Vincent! have you ever read the stories?” As you said, Brett’s Holmes was the truest to the written canon.

  4. Rathbone got the short end of the stick with the contemporary settings and Nigel Bruce’s awful Watson, which leaves Brett the absolute front-runner for Holmes. I always appreciated the fact that the Granada series always had him dressed appropriately for whatever time, place and activity he was involved in. Of the two modern Sherlocks, each has its merits and faults. Finally, “Elementary” is now putting less emphasis on his addiction. On the other hand, they have saddled him with a rotten father, (superbly played by Australian actor John Noble) and a slimmed-down and amorous Mycroft. (He and Watson had a thing — if you’re not familiar, Lucy Liu plays Joan Watson, MD — not the first time Watson has changed gender).

  5. Jeremy Brett is the only real Sherlock Holmes! Accept no substitutes!

    (and so glad they did a good job on the details)

  6. The elegant and fascinating Mr. Brett was def! the best Sherlock. The series is excellent, hope you will view more episodes–no ghastly 80s-speak, cheap costuming or weird hair. Seems all very authentic, so probably not that much to comment on.. But Jeremy could really rock a frock coat.

  7. Jeremy Brett was my favorite Holmes. I also loved the dark gritty sets in this series. I am so glad to find out that the costumes were as good as I thought they were!

  8. I ADORE Jeremy Brett’s Holmes! There were several different writers and directors over the course of the series, and some I definitely like better than others, but Brett himself is always impeccable, and was always pushing for closer adherence to the original stories.

  9. Well, I’m disappointed :P (I was the one who asked for an analysis of the Sherlock episode, or one of them.) I haven’t actually seen the Jeremy Brett version (though I definitely mean to, since this isn’t the first time I’m hearing about how awesome he is) but I read most of the original Sherlock Holmes stories back in high school, and loved them. That’s why I resisted seeing Steven Moffat’s Sherlock for a long time. But now that I have, I love that version too. What’s ingenious about it, I think, is the way the writers interpret the original stories while adapting them to 21st century. They’re never “the original Sherlock Holmes, only this time everything is taking place in the modern times”; instead, the writers just take elements from the original stories and put them in a new story inspired by something in the Sherlock Holmes canon. I think it’s really clever what they’re doing. As a viewer you’re constantly going “Aha! I recognize this!” but the mystery itself is always something new. Of course the basic premise seems even less realistic in our times than it might have in the 1890s, so the series has a somewhat wacky, tongue-in-cheek feel to it, and they gave Sherlock Holmes all the “insufferable genius” flair that is en vogue nowadays. Still, his personality seems somewhat more grounded than other, more serious modernization attempts such as House M.D., which is another reason why I like this show. Despite all his eccentricity and awkwardness, Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is actually (more or less) capable of functioning as an adult (as did the original Holmes, and as would befit an actual genius, I think). Benedict Cumberbatch might not have made as good a classic Holmes as Brett, but he’s killing (no pun intended) as the 21st century Sherlock, and the acting in general is really, really good. I also appreciate how Moffat and his team didn’t choose to turn this into a regular series with 10 or more episodes every season and one season per year, because that would risk the balance they’ve achieved between using the canonical material and being original. Obviously there are some downsides to this as well, for example I’m somewhat dissatisfied with the fact that each season (or series, as the Brits call them) is woven around an “archenemy plot” with independent cases having much less significance and almost always having to be tied to the main plot. Despite all that, BBC’s Sherlock remains a delicious experience for a Sherlock Holmes buff like me.

    Sorry, I could go on and on about this forever. Also, the special episode isn’t “inexplicably” set in Victorian times, you’ll see if you watch it to the end :) Thank you for this review, by the way.

  10. I’ve literally been watching this 90’s (and has a place in my heart as I’d watch it on PBS with my mom and at a time where me and her didn’t always get on, this was something we could come together on and enjoy) and in bits it can seem dated but its really stood the test of time and Jeremy Brett is always who comes to mind when I think of Sherlock and Edward Hardwick when it comes to Watson. Hardwick also appears in the Poirot series a few years later. But the costuming is actually pretty spot throughout the whole of the series and if it was on Netflix I’d probably watch it all the time. Like I do Poirot quite a bit and even with a such long running series. (the last episode aired I believe a year or two ago) the design and costuming is always consistent and lovely. Captain Hasteings and Ms. Lemon always having very smart and lovely clothes.
    But I am glad you got to see some of Jeremy Brett as Holmes.

  11. I do love Jeremy Brett as Sherlock he’s probably my favorite so I wanted to ask two things:
    1. Could you review the Scandal in Bohemia episode? i simply love that one especially because Gayle Hunnicutt plays a Perfect Irene all the while wearing some fabulous esembles.
    2.Could you try his version of Rebecca (1979)? i like that one but i have no idea if the wardobre is right yet He and Joanna David are wonderful, Anna Massey gives room to all her veiled rage on her ex as Mrs. Danvers I was surprised to find him charming as Max this character usually repulses me until near the ending but this time i could understand the girl’s fascination for him.

    1. Holmes has the distinction of being the most filmed fictional character ever. And some of the spinoffs are interesting. I just saw “Enola Holmes,” about a younger sister of the Holmes brothers. Part of the tension arises from the fact that the ultraconservative Mycroft and the more liberal Sherlock have diametrically opposite views on her rearing. (The mother, Helena Bonham Carter, has done a runner). But the kid has the ferocious Holmes intellect and goes her own way, abetting a young runaway peer and eventually helping engineer a major government overturn along the way.

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