Author Topic: The Sherlock Holmes thread  (Read 3077 times)

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Online vandermolen

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The Sherlock Holmes thread
« on: November 03, 2017, 11:55:30 PM »
Last night I watched a very entertaining film on DVD, 'The Seven Percent Solution' it is not based on anything written by Arthur Conan Doyle but on an ingenious book by an American writer. In the film Sherlock Holmes (Nicol Williamson) is tricked by Dr Watson (Robert Duvall, complete with bizarre English accent) into going to Vienna to see Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin - brilliant!) to get treatment for his cocaine addiction and, of course, gets mixed up in solving a mystery. I thought it was great fun, part drama, murder mystery, adventure and comedy.
So, I thought I'd open a Sherlock Holmes thread where you can discuss anything you like about the fictional detective. My daughter made my visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London recently, which was fun although odd visiting a museum to a fictional character. I also live very near the town of Crowborough where Arthur Conan Doyle lived ( his house is now an old people's home). There is a statue of Conan Doyle in the town. Some of the stories are set locally including the English sections of 'The Valley of Fear', which is mainly set in an American mining community and features an agent of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The Hound of the Baskervilles, both the book and the Basil Rathbone film are favourites and, of the short stories I like The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton when Holmes and Watson become burglars. Anyway this is a general thread for any aspect of Sherlock Holmes. I can't find an earlier Holmes thread but sorry if one exists.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Holden

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 12:45:41 AM »
Sherlock Holmes was based on a true person that Doyle met at the Edinburgh Infirmary in 1877. ACD was his clerk and he was very taken with Dr Joseph Bell's powers of observation. Bell had the ability to deduce facts about his patients from otherwise unremarkable details.
Cheers

Holden

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 12:47:53 AM »
Sherlock Holmes was based on a true person that Doyle met at the Edinburgh Infirmary in 1877. ACD was his clerk and he was very taken with Dr Joseph Bell's powers of observation. Bell had the ability to deduce facts about his patients from otherwise unremarkable details.
Yes, an interesting point.
Thanks.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Jo498

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2017, 12:58:55 AM »
I loved the stories as a boy and teenager (and at that age one finds at least some of them even scary). Around 2011 I became aware of the TV series with Jeremy Brett and I liked this a lot (it is one of two series I actually found worth buying on DVD and keeping, the other one is Jeeves and Wooster.) Brett is visibly aged and too stout in the last few but overall it is a great performance and overall a superb series. So around that time I re-read a few stories (one can get most of them for free for kindle). Not all of them hold up all that well, I am afraid, but many can still be an enjoyable read. While I seem to recall that as a kid I was particularly fond of the longer stories, I found them less interesting later, except maybe the "Hound" which is the best of the four novellas.

(Probably an unpopular opinion but I did not much care for the more recent "modernized" series (only saw the first handful) with Cumberbatch and even less for the steampunkish pseudovictorian movie with Robert Downey jr.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2017, 04:29:02 AM »
I loved the stories as a boy and teenager (and at that age one finds at least some of them even scary). Around 2011 I became aware of the TV series with Jeremy Brett and I liked this a lot (it is one of two series I actually found worth buying on DVD and keeping, the other one is Jeeves and Wooster.) Brett is visibly aged and too stout in the last few but overall it is a great performance and overall a superb series. So around that time I re-read a few stories (one can get most of them for free for kindle). Not all of them hold up all that well, I am afraid, but many can still be an enjoyable read. While I seem to recall that as a kid I was particularly fond of the longer stories, I found them less interesting later, except maybe the "Hound" which is the best of the four novellas.

(Probably an unpopular opinion but I did not much care for the more recent "modernized" series (only saw the first handful) with Cumberbatch and even less for the steampunkish pseudovictorian movie with Robert Downey jr.)
Interesting points - thanks.

I couldn't stand the much praised recent TV series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. I found it insufferably knowing and smug. My students loved it. Bring back Basil Rathbone!

Douglas Wilmer was my favourite TV Holmes and he did some fine audio-book readings of the stories. Just bought the DVD of his TV Holmes series.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 04:34:00 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Biffo

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2017, 04:48:16 AM »
Bring back Basil Rathbone!


The Basil Rathbone movies were my introduction to Sherlock Holmes as a boy and I loved them. I now have several of them on DVD and find them entertaining but rather quaint. I don't have The Hound of the Baskervilles from that series but have always enjoyed it when it has been shown on TV. Later I read several of the stories but never got hooked on them, unlike a schoolfriend who seemed to know them all off by heart. I have downloaded a 'complete' (probably isn't) Sherlock Holmes on to Kindle but haven't got far with reading them.

The TV series with Jeremy Brett is excellent and pretty much definitive as far as I am concerned. The movies with Robert Downey Jr are entertaining but pretty silly. The updated version with Benedict Cumberbatch started off well but eventually became tedious and self-regarding. Peter Cushing was an excellent Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles but like many Hammer films the production values were a bit creaky.

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2017, 05:13:08 AM »
The Basil Rathbone movies were my introduction to Sherlock Holmes as a boy and I loved them. I now have several of them on DVD and find them entertaining but rather quaint. I don't have The Hound of the Baskervilles from that series but have always enjoyed it when it has been shown on TV. Later I read several of the stories but never got hooked on them, unlike a schoolfriend who seemed to know them all off by heart. I have downloaded a 'complete' (probably isn't) Sherlock Holmes on to Kindle but haven't got far with reading them.

The TV series with Jeremy Brett is excellent and pretty much definitive as far as I am concerned. The movies with Robert Downey Jr are entertaining but pretty silly. The updated version with Benedict Cumberbatch started off well but eventually became tedious and self-regarding. Peter Cushing was an excellent Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles but like many Hammer films the production values were a bit creaky.
Very much agree with this analysis Biffo. The Hound of the Baskervilles in the Basil Rathbone series is my favourite SH film of all time. For one thing it's the only one set in the correct historical period as most of the others were set in World War Two as far as I recall with Holmes and Watson battling Nazi agents etc. I recently bought an excellent remastered DVD of the Basil Rathbone HOB film, which is excellent not just for the picture quality but also because of the analysis and discussion in the 'extras'.

Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hound-Baskervilles-DVD-Basil-Rathbone/dp/B01COZGLGU/ref=sr_1_12?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1509801240&sr=1-12&keywords=Hound+of+the+Baskervilles
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 05:17:48 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline aligreto

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2017, 05:58:52 AM »
I also grew up watching and enjoying those wonderful Basil Rathbone films. I think that I have read most of the Conan Doyle Holmes books. However, I much preferred the G. K. Chesterton character and stories based around Fr. Brown. Holmes and Fr. Brown are two very different characters and, although I like both, my preference was always for the self-deprecating Fr. Brown. I did, however, always enjoy the process of logic with both characters; I just comes down to personal preference, as with most things  :)
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Offline Jo498

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 08:13:21 AM »
I probably saw one of the Basil Rathbone films as a kid a long time ago.
I dimly recall that we also once got to watch an old Sherlock Holmes film (Hound of Baskerville) in English class at school, this seems so quaint but even in the late 1980s this was considered a treat for the last lesson before holidays or similar situations.

The Brett series is pretty close to perfection, also great supporting cast, costumes and overall authentic victorian atmosphere, except that in the later parts Brett appears too old; he probably is too old all the time but makes it up with his intensity. Holmes is usually portrayed "ageless" middle-aged (~mid-40s) but in the stories he is fairly young (I'd guess late 20s) when Watson meets him in "A study in scarlet" and he is probably in his mid/late 30s in most stories. (I think I also preferred the more dynamic first Watson of the Brett series to the later although he is good enough.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Biffo

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 09:02:42 AM »
Very much agree with this analysis Biffo. The Hound of the Baskervilles in the Basil Rathbone series is my favourite SH film of all time. For one thing it's the only one set in the correct historical period as most of the others were set in World War Two as far as I recall with Holmes and Watson battling Nazi agents etc. I recently bought an excellent remastered DVD of the Basil Rathbone HOB film, which is excellent not just for the picture quality but also because of the analysis and discussion in the 'extras'.

Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hound-Baskervilles-DVD-Basil-Rathbone/dp/B01COZGLGU/ref=sr_1_12?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1509801240&sr=1-12&keywords=Hound+of+the+Baskervilles

Thanks for the link. This Wikipedia article explains the discrepancy between HoB and the later films - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes_(1939_film_series) . Briefly, Rathbone made 14 SH movies, the first 2 a full length features for 20th Century Fox. Universal Studios bought the rights and updated the stories to the 1940s, issuing them as B movies. Rathbone eventually quit as he thought they were become repetitive.

Offline Hollywood

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 12:29:37 AM »
I grew up watching the Universal Studios produced Sherlock Holmes films on TV and loved them all. Basil Rathbone is my all time favorite Holmes portrayer. Whenever anyone mentions Sherlock Holmes, I automatically think of Rathbone. It's wonderful being able to watch and enjoy a film that was made at a time when computerized special effects in Hollywood films were still a long way off in the future. Even if Holmes never actually said this, I can still hear Rathbone saying that it's just "Elementary, my dear Watson". Ah, the good old days... 8)
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Online vandermolen

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 12:39:35 AM »
I also grew up watching and enjoying those wonderful Basil Rathbone films. I think that I have read most of the Conan Doyle Holmes books. However, I much preferred the G. K. Chesterton character and stories based around Fr. Brown. Holmes and Fr. Brown are two very different characters and, although I like both, my preference was always for the self-deprecating Fr. Brown. I did, however, always enjoy the process of logic with both characters; I just comes down to personal preference, as with most things  :)
I've never read any Father Brown so this has encouraged me to do so.
Thanks.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2017, 12:43:52 AM »
Thank you guys for the responses and Biffo for the explanatory link. I've see. A few of the Brett series and enjoyed them I also liked the HOB film with Peter Cushing as Holmes. Have just ordered 'Murder by Decree' which I think I saw at the cinema in which Holmes solves the 'Jack the Ripper' case.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Jo498

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2017, 02:23:20 AM »
Something I loved about some Holmes cases already as a kid is when he just sits in his comfortable flat, smoking, sending telegrams to stir something up or some street urchins to get some bits of information and then solves the cases by putting these together without ever leaving. (Of course, this way of detecting was "perfected" by Stout's Nero Wolfe who only leaves in emergencies or to win a contest with his orchids but he has Archie for the leg work.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline aligreto

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2017, 03:40:20 AM »
I've never read any Father Brown so this has encouraged me to do so.
Thanks.

A different reading experience but a worthwhile one. I would be interested to read your thoughts when you do read some of the stories.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2017, 04:33:10 AM »
Although I like most things British, I really find most of the English language versions quite dull (perhaps with an exception of a movie or two). I see Rathbone (or Brett or any of the old timers) in his SH outfit, and I can't change the channel fast enough. I haven't seen the most recent Cumberbatch version.  I do enjoy the books!
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Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2018, 03:59:44 AM »
I recently started reading selected stories of Sherlock Holmes, with several short stories in it and one novel (The Sign of the Four). Before starting on this collection I had read The Hound of Baskervilles and a couple of summers before The Valley of Fear. Just read Silver Blaze from above-mentioned collection which I enjoyed even though I guessed many things in it beforehand. Next, I am tackling The Adventure of the Speckled Band, which Doyle thought his best Sherlock Holmes story.
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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2018, 04:15:04 AM »
I recently started reading selected stories of Sherlock Holmes, with several short stories in it and one novel (The Sign of the Four). Before starting on this collection I had read The Hound of Baskervilles and a couple of summers before The Valley of Fear. Just read Silver Blaze from above-mentioned collection which I enjoyed even though I guessed many things in it beforehand. Next, I am tackling The Adventure of the Speckled Band, which Doyle thought his best Sherlock Holmes story.

The Speckled Band is a classic, although I personally found it to be quite static and the most intriguing character only gets one brief appearance at the end of the first act. I thought that was a bit of a shame, but in the end there is pretty much just the right amount of everything that makes a standard Sherlock Holmes story, nothing more and nothing less.

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2018, 04:24:22 AM »
Charles Augustus Milverton is one of my favourites of the short stories and very well read by Douglas Wilmer on an old Penguin audio book.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: The Sherlock Holmes thread
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2018, 03:39:39 AM »
Recently finished The Sign of the Four.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo