Sherlock Holmes Strikes Again

Barbara Vey -- September 28th, 2012
Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone

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Yes, I read all the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes books.  No, I could never guess who did it or how.  But I loved them all the same.  Over the years I followed Basil Rathbone embody the very essence of Holmes with his deerskin hat, distinctive coat, pipe and violin.  The bumbling Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) I didn’t really get.  Was he helpful or just comic relief?

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Recently, I’ve enjoyed other incarnations of the brilliant detective.  I adore Robert Downey Jr.’s take on Holmes.  Unkempt and unhinged.  And his relationship with Jude Law’s Watson brings friendship to a whole new level.  Friends will stick with you no matter what and this Watson’s loyalty comes through time and time again no matter what craziness Holmes puts him through.  A bit cartoony, but in a good way.  It makes the abrasive character more appealing.

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The British series, Sherlock, played by Benedict Cumberbatch has only had seven episodes in three seasons.  I’m hooked!  This time he is in present day and using cell phones, computers and all the latest gadgets, but it’s still his power of observation and deduction that gets things done.  He’s still a tortured soul, but the job always comes first.  This time around Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) was injured in Afghanistan.  The series starts with their first meeting, so you get to watch their complicated relationship unfold.  This series is brilliant and it’s on my “just can’t wait for the next” one list.

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Last night I watched Elementary, the latest Sherlock Holmes incarnation with Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and in a nice twist, Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson.  Again this takes place in the present and Holmes has just gotten out of rehab (can’t get much more 2012 than that).  Watson is hired by his father to watch him (and administer random drug tests) for six weeks.  Immediately, there is a murder to solve and I found it entertaining to watch the chemistry between the two.  It was obvious Watson didn’t want to be dragged into the investigation, but it wasn’t long before she was hooked and finding clues.  Although it was just one episode, it was interesting enough for me to come back for more.

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I know there have been a lot more adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes character and I’m sure there will be many more.  He’s complex, fascinating and intriguing.  He’s a tortured soul who needs understanding and his brilliance only makes him more grating.  I admit that I’ve watched the Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch versions more than once because they are so complicated that I miss things the first time through.  This is no chore, just plain fun.

 

What is your favorite portrayal of Sherlock Holmes?  Or are you a “the book is always better” person?

 

Bottom Line:  My favorite…Sherlock.  Elementary, my dear Watson.

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