That includes films from Basil Rathbone’s defining decades-long run accessorized with the deerstalker hat, Robert Downey Jr.’s blockbuster take, and Sherlock‘s modern spin with Benedict Cumberbatch. Critics Consensus: Guy Ritchie's directorial style might not be quite the best fit for an update on the legendary detective, but Sherlock Holmes benefits from the elementary appeal of a strong performance by Robert Downey, Jr.
Critics Consensus: Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows is a good yarn thanks to its well-matched leading men but overall stumbles duplicating the well-oiled thrills of the original. Critics Consensus: Mr. Holmes focuses on the man behind the mysteries, and while it may lack Baker Street thrills, it more than compensates with tenderly wrought, well-acted drama.
Critics Consensus: Nola Holmes brings a breath of fresh air to Baker Street -- and leaves plenty of room for Millie Bobby Brown to put her effervescent stamp on a franchise in waiting. The adventures of Doyle’s iconic detective proved a craze from the start, and since then, no character has been as reproduced and adapted in film, television, stage, and the printed word.
I’d long been intrigued by the idea of Sherlock, but wasn’t really spurred into reading the stories until we had Michael Sims on the podcast to talk about Arthur Conan Doyle and the creation of his archetypal sleuth. Some entries in the series are definitely better than others; for one thing, the final two published collections, His Last Bow and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, are universally regarded as lesser material.
Almost every story (outside those in The Case Book) is in the public domain; click the title of each to read them for free online! Scotland Yard investigator Lestrade (we never learn his first name) invites Holmes to consult on the case; though the budding detective initially feigns reluctance, his intellect won’t let him turn down the chance to solve a mystery.
Using the length of a novel rather than just a short story, and without the need for much expository ramp-up, Conan Doyle is able to fully explore the depths of the most head-scratching case in the series. Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead near his manor in the craggy moors of southern England.
There’s no outward evidence of murder, but there are suspicious signs, including the frozen look of horror on Baskerville’s face. There aren’t many clues to work from, except for an old legend about a monstrous hound that has attacked Baskerville heirs for generations.
Placed by “THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE,” it announced that “All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind and above the age of twenty-one years” were eligible for a well-paying but nondescript job. Wilson showed up for the interview, was declared to have just the right hue of red in his locks, and was set to work copying the encyclopedia.
Though he takes a central role in only this one story (he’s reminisced about in others), no Shylockian villain is as nefarious as Professor James Moriarty; “He is the Napoleon of crime,” Sherlock tells Watson. On the eve of an important horse race, a prized thoroughbred, Silver Blaze, has gone missing, his trainer has been murdered, and some sheep in a nearby pasture have been found lame.
The famous exchange about “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” in fact inspired an excellent novel which used that line as the title. Some better-written Holmes stories are somewhat predictable, and some better plot lines aren’t as well written or structured; “The Silver Blaze” is one of those that combines all the best elements of Doyle’s work.
The beauty of the Sherlock Holmes stories is that you’re sure to find one with a tone that appeals to you; there’s quite a range on a scale that runs from fun and playful to dark and twisted. The charming Miss Violet Hunter visits Holmes and asks his opinion on taking a job as a nanny which, though it pays well, also comes with a number of peculiar conditions, including cutting her hair short and wearing particular clothes.
This is another of Doyle’s more playful stories and involves the most memorable female character of the entire series; in Sherlock’s eyes, “she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex.” Holmes takes the case, thinking it’ll be a piece of cake to trick the woman and retrieve the photograph.
This story has as memorable a start as you’ll find in the canon: a young lawyer, John McFarlane, comes into Holmes office knowing full well he’s going to be arrested and charged with murder. We also see a fuller picture of Lestrade in this story; rather than just begrudging competition, the relationship between him and Holmes seems to flourish into real comradeship.
He buys seedy letters and photographs and then sells them to whoever the highest bidder is, regardless of whose lives are destroyed in the process. Holmes is enlisted in the fight against Silverton by Lady Eva Blackwell, who’s keen on retrieving some compromising documents.
Silverton is as dastardly a fellow as London has ever seen, and though Holmes is aware of him, he hasn’t had the chance to nail down evidence of his breaking the law; this is his opportunity, and he leaps at it. The reader gets the gift of clever disguises, a false engagement, breaking and entering, safe-cracking, and as surprising an ending as you’ll come across in these stories.
Inspired by a story Doyle heard from his friend, the sportsman and journalist Bertram Fletcher Robinson, about the legends surrounding a seventeenth-century squire, The Hound of the Baskerville is one of the best -known Sherlock Holmes cases, featuring supposedly demonic hounds on atmospheric Dartmoor. Until this story, he was the star of two short novels, A Study in Scarlet (1887) and The Sign of the Four (1890), and known to a small group of readers.
After the short stories began to appear in The Strand, he became one of the most famous fictional characters in the history of literature. SherlockHolmes’s quick eye took in my occupation, and he shook his head with a smile as he noticed my questioning glances.
“Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labor, that he takes snuff, that he is a Freemason, that he has been in China, and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately, I can deduce nothing else.” “I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort, straightened it out again.
The case will require Holmes not only to save his client’s life but to solve the mystery of how her sister died two years ago. Like many of the Sherlock Holmes stories, the British Empire lurks in the background (Dr Boycott had met the girls’ mother out in India, and has a menagerie of exotic animals from that country), and in this connection, the story also reveals a debt to one of the first detective novels, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone.
Perhaps best -known for Holmes’s famous line about ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night-time’ (used by Mark Had don as the title for his bestselling novel), ‘Silver Blaze’ is the first story in the second collection of classic Sherlock Holmes stories, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893). The story concerns a missing racehorse and sees Holmes donning his famous deerstalker to investigate.
I put the question, with a hint that it was my companion’s modesty which made him acknowledge his brother as his superior. The mystery itself revolves around a Greek interpreter named Mr Meals, who is engaged in a rather cloak-and-dagger way to translate for someone who is being held captive by some sinister criminals.
Its code-themed story probably inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Gold-Bug’, ‘The Dancing Men’ is one of Holmes’s greatest code-breaking triumphs. Mr. Hilton Cubist of Riding Thorpe Manor in Norfolk, and husband to a nervous wife, tells Holmes a series of stick figures have started to appear chalked up on the window-sill of the house.
It’s also noteworthy for being the one Sherlock Holmes story penned by Doyle to feature the evil criminal mastermind, Dr James Moriarty, ‘the Napoleon of crime’. With hundreds of movies and series already crowding the Sherlock Holmes canon, it takes expert sleuthing to determine which rank above the rest.
The Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Roger Johnson called the newly restored flick “a wonderful treat.” The first small-screen American take on Conan Doyle’s stories starred Ronald Howard as Holmes and H. Marion Crawford as Watson.
Multiple Shylockian admitted to having a soft spot for this “hilarious” reimagining that flips the personalities of its dynamic detective duo, featuring Ben Kingsley’s Watson as the brain and Michael Caine’s Holmes as the bumbling student. For one of the most recent big-screen adaptations, Linger paid particular kudos to Jude Law, who plays “one of the very best Watson sever” opposite Robert Downey Jr.'s Holmes.
Having been portrayed on screen in excess of two hundred and fifty times, producing any list of film titles featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (who first appeared in print in 1887) is no easy task. Billy Wilder’s (who directed and co-wrote) film outing starring Robert Stephenson as Holmes and Colin Blakely as Watson is something of a cult favorite.
The plot comprises two separate stories the main one of which involves the apparent sighting of the Loch Ness monster and the covert building of a submarine. Whilst the plot(s) sound interesting, and the performances are certainly fitting, the finished article is understandably a little disjointed and veers too far into parody.
An interesting addition to the list as the lead character, a widowed millionaire, (played by George C. Scott) actually only believes himself to be Sherlock Holmes. Based on the play by James Goldman (who also wrote the screenplay), the story focuses more on the relationship/interaction between the two leads as ‘ Holmes follows a series of impossible clues.
The psychological spin and Holmes search for a ‘Moriarty of the mind’ makes the film in some ways comparable to elements of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. Despite the loyal cult following the film has now gained (the U.S. band taking the title for their own name) Goldman always felt the play never quite worked.
Famous mouse detective Basil is assisted by Dr Dawson to foil a plot by arch villain Rattan to take over England using a mechanical queen. Basil in the film is voiced by Barrie Ingham with Vincent Price well suited to supplying the tones for arch villain Rattan.
It followed on from the financial disaster that had been the previous year’s The Black Cauldron, Basil the Great Mouse Detective was a thankful success at the box office, despite the failure of its predecessor leading to the slashing of its own budget during production. However, regardless of the engaging plot, the treats for both Holmes and film fans, fine voice performances and a score from Henry Mancini, this final traditional cell animation from Disney does betray itself with evidence of financial caution and corner cutting.
Although the thrilling final ‘Big Ben’ clock tower action sequence (possibly drawing from 1979’the Thirty Nine Steps) does feature Disney’s first use of CGI animation (The Black Cauldron was however the first to be released) as part of its impressive moving clock cog scenes, this does leave one to speculate if more CGI had been planned in with the original budget. The teaser trailers for director Guy Ritchie’s first Holmes film which featured Sherlock stripped to the waist bare-knuckle boxing, and then describing via narration and slow-motion replay the effects his blows were having on his opponent, sent purists into fits of disdain.
However, the finished film starring Robert Downey Jr with Jude Law as Watson is a commendable production and enjoyable Victorian adventure. The plot follows an investigation into a ritual killing which develops into a grander quest to prevent a mystic taking over the British Empire by supernatural means, this comes to a thrilling conclusion set on top of a partially constructed Tower Bridge in London.
The film was followed by a sequel ‘ Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows’ in 2011, this arguably lacked the same balance of action and plot and weighed too heavily on stunts and spectacle. ‘ Holmes is going to solve the crime!’ Declares a jolly schoolboy from a side window of an English boarding school, and indeed he does, as a teenage Homes (Nicholas Rowe) becomes acquainted with new boy John Watson (Alan Cox) as the duo take on an underground Egyptian cult in snowy Victorian London.
Visuals aside, there is some genuine character and depth to the script, the young Holmes of this story possesses all the powers of deduction fans are familiar with but here he is frequently emotional and impulsive with the outcome of a romantic subplot going someway to explain the cool nature of the older Sherlock.