Midweek Sherlock Holmes Links Roundup (October 1st - October 4th, 2011)
Better Holmes & Gardens reviews the little known “The Sherlock Holmes Animated Collection” (1983) - a set of animated adaptations of Holmes stories voiced by Peter O’Toole. The Sherlock Holmes Animated Collection was recently made available on DVD and features A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, Hound of the Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear. I greatly respect the Better Holmes & Gardens blog and was a little worried that I was about to read a glowing/fawning review of the animated series (personally, I have yet to actually make it through an entire episode - and I’ve tried many times). Thankfully, the gist of her review is this: “my husband found me dozing, sprawled across our sofa, with the remote hanging limply from my hand. The film that was scrolling, unseen, on our television screen was a volume from the 1983 “Sherlock Holmes Animated Collection,” and my husband was, frankly, appalled at the sight.” Haha!!! Amazing. I feel (and have done) the same exact thing! The review attempts to put a finger on exactly why the animated episodes are so, well, boring, but I think there’s just too many reasons, e.g. the famous and essential opening scene (Sherlock: ”You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”) from STUD is omitted! Why?! It’s a cartoon and they can draw Holmes and Watson at any age. Anyway, you should probably avoid these four animated adaptations; also a word of thanks to Better Holmes & Gardens for the good laugh.
Alistair Duncan esteemed Sherlockian/Doylean author and blogger, weighs in on the GSHD by proposing that the so-called Great Debate is best thought of as ‘debates’ plural: the first question being which side is more faithful to the original source material and the other question being which side has done the most to muster new interest in Sherlock Holmes. Mr. Duncan’s reasoning is solid and rational (no Cumber-crush is going to swing his vote!) with the added bonus of parsing up the Great Debate into two discernible and digestible chunks. One can only hope that the rest of the debaters are as civil and logical.
Broomfield is an online mulitmedia resource from Colorado. Why did this obscure site catch my eye this week? Fellow Sherlockian, blogger and author of The Crack in the Lens Darlene Cypser has a thirty minute video/audio interview. Check it out.
The Sherlockian E-Times published their September 2011 issue last weekend and it’s chocked full of excellent book offers, the sad passing over the Reichenbach of Nashville Scholar of the Three-Pipe Problem, Bob White, pictures from a Molly Carr book signing, a few classic (and sadly no longer available) Sherlockian E-Times merchandise (cf. below for pictures of what a few lucky Sherlockians picked up twenty years ago), report and images from the July 14, 2011 meeting of The Hansom Wheels from the Columbia, SC, a few Sherlockian games and puzzles, info about ‘Old Time Radio’ and more.
[Two truly amazing pieces of merchandise that are sadly no longer available from The Sherlockian E-Times store. I would kill to wear that most handsome scarf!]
Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press (aka Peter Blau) just posted his September 2011 edition. A digital copy of the newsletter can be found at The Baker Street Blog via Scribd. As always, Mr. Blau’s newsletter is essential reading for goings on in the Sherlockian world and beyond.
The Baker Street Blog challenges it’s readers to view or re-view the 1970 Holmes adaptation by legendary director Billy Wilder entitled The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (absolutely no relation to the Vincent Starrett book of the same title). I will continue to be baffled in regards to why more Sherlockians are not ardent fans of this quasi-canonical tour de force. Yes, Watson could be played a little less ‘wacky’ and the first plot might have been a bit more substantive (remember the film was originally conceived as a 3 or 4+ hour film consisting of four individual tales - too bad the majority of that was never filmed, or they could have released the Director’s Cut of ALL Director’s Cuts) but Private Life is one of the single best (big screen) film attempts at Holmes ever made. Robert Stephens plays an excellent ‘real’ Holmes in ’the real Holmes behind the Watson-penned Strand stories’ technique; or as it would be billed today: Sherlock: Uncut! A year after the Wilder film Stephens donned the roll of Max Carrados ”a fictional blind detective in a series of mystery stories and books by Ernest Bramah” set during Victorian period London. Stephens as Carados appeared in a 50-minute adaptation of “The Missing Witness Sensation,” an episode of the 1971 TV series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes based on the book anthology of the same name (which you should also check out).
[Max Carrados played by Robert Stephens who also played Holmes in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Billy Wilder.]
The Paris Review contains an excerpt from Michael Dirda’s new book On Conan Doyle. A Pulitzer Prize–winning critic and longtime book columnist for The Washington Post, as well as a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, On Conan Doyle by Michael Dirda (“Langdale Pike”), is to be published by Princeton University Press in November. From the publisher’s site: “Combining memoir and appreciation, On Conan Doyle is a highly engaging personal introduction to Holmes’s creator, as well as a rare insider’s account of the curiously delightful activities and playful scholarship of the Baker Street Irregulars.” I hope I get a review copy soon - Mr. Dirda’s book sounds quite delightful!
[An image of ACD I’ve never seen. Very nice cover design.]
London W1 has a short piece celebrating the Russian Sherlock Holmes series from the early 1980s appropriately called ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’ featuring Vasily Livanov as a more enigmatic, devious Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Watson (playing the part almost as an anti-sidekick of sorts) whom embodies the Watson of the Canon better than almost any screen (big or small) adaptation (apologies to Burke and Hardwicke, but Solomin is just such a bad ass). For any of you who haven’t seen this series, I suggest acquiring it by any means necessary. It’s not available on DVD (in the states anyway) so try compounding/commuting/committing a felony and look for the torrent.
Bookish Adventures includes a great still of Toby, Holmes and Watson from SIGN among a few other assorted Granada favorites. Click on image for original source:
[Toby, one of the great unsung heroes of the Canon.]