Archive for sherlock holmes

Dressed to Kill (1946)

Posted in Mystery with tags , , on January 8, 2012 by mike k

Although the film is set in the 1940s, the character of the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes, is definitely Victorian. Based, very loosely, on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s  stories ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ and ‘The Adventure of Gloria Scott’ Holmes and Watson are hired by Watson’s old friend, Edmond ‘Stinky’ Emery, is the victim of a thwarted robbery at his home. Although his home is filled with valuable, antique, music boxes, the thieves, in question, are more interested in an wooden music box manufactured by prisoners in Dartmoor prison.  Emery is later found murdered and Holmes, while working with Scotland Yard, discovers that the music box is one of three boxes . Each box, it seems, plays a different version of the old Australian tune, “The Swagman”.  Holmes learns that the different versions are actually a hidden code which reveal the location of 5 pound plates which were stolen from a bank seven years earlier.  The rogue who stole them, of course, being the prisoner who made the music boxes.   A gang of thieves attempt to stop Holmes from finding the boxes but they are eventually foiled in their endeavors.

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Dressed to Kill is one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone as the lead and Nigel Bruce is wonderful as Dr. Watson. The plot is quickly paced and for an old 1940s film, as I know many groan at the thought of watching a black & white film, there isn’t a dull moment to be found throughout.

Although I much prefer to see Holmes and Watson in their native Victorian era, the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce series of films are a delight to watch.

See the trailer for the film below:

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Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

Posted in Mystery with tags on December 13, 2011 by mike k

Compared to the stories, the film is much more action oriented but as I love the character of Sherlock Holmes and am a fan of Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law I am really looking forward to seeing the movie.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Posted in Mystery with tags , , , , on November 13, 2011 by mike k

Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes in the 1959 Hammer Studios film version

 When I grew up, watching television was nothing like it was today. We didn’t have cable and we had to rely on locally broadcast television. For reception, my family used an arial antenna which sat on the top of our TV that we had to fumble with and place our bodies in strange and bizarre positions to make work. Unlike the 150 or so odd channels people have to choose from today, my brother and I were prisoners of the 3 network channels (ABC, NBC and CBS (which always came in kind of fuzzy)) and PBS.  That’s not a big choice to choose from and, in the immortal words of comedian Robin Williams, “if the President was on (giving a speech) you were screwed”.

I watched a lot of PBS when I was a kid. PBS relied on local donations to operate and as they could not afford the high priced cable programs that were then available, they purchased a lot of programming from across the Atlantic from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). If you didn’t mind watching programs such as Doctor Who, Benny Hill, Monty Python or Are You Being Served coupled with servings of Upstairs, Downstairs and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, PBS wasn’t too bad to watch. Personally, I’ve a love affair with British TV. I’m a routine watcher of BBC America and the new Doctor Who. Their television dramas and mystery shows are top notch.

Through PBS, I was introduced to the cinematic Sherlock Holmes. Mostly, Holmes was played by Jeremy Brett but ocassionally, viewers would be offered the treat of watching horror legend Peter Cushing, known mostly for playing Count Dracula’s nemesis, Abraham Van Helsing, don the hat of the erstwhile master detective. Cushing played Sherlock Holmes in the very first Holmes film in color in 1959; The Hound of the Baskervilles. He repeated his role as Holmes in 1965 and 1968 in the BBC series, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Cushing again played Holmes in old age in the 1984 BBC TV film, The Mask of Death.

While Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone are more famous for playing the role, Cushing tried to play Holmes as he appeared in Doyle’s stories. While Cushing added nothing new to the character of Holmes, he played the role intelligently and with great respect. A DVD of Cushing’s role as Sherlock Holmes can be purchased online from the BBC America shop.