Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Triumphant Return of Sherlock Holmes

Before CSI, Numbers and The Mentalist and all that other garbage, there was one man who had the power to detect the undetectable.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, after reading the facinating detective story Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe, became obsessed with creating a detective of his own. My favorite literary detective will always be Sherlock Holmes.

Accompanied by the ever-faithful, trusting Dr. Watson, Holmes set out to solve crimes of a most peculiar nature, using simple and unorthadox methods. From 1891 to 1893, Doyle had had his fill of the detective and decided to kill him off, regardless of the demands of him earning more money per story. In the story in which Holmes dies, The Final Problem, Holmes and his arch nemesis Dr. Moriarty fall to their doom, locked together in death.

The author got quite a bit of hate mail from this. His character had grown to such popularity that readers had written him mail which they addressed to 221-B Baker street, where Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have lived.

But the famous detective would not be silenced. Doyle penned a novel length book, The Hound of the Baskervilles to which Sherlock Holmes makes an appearence. But Doyle insisted that the book took place prior to Holmes' demise. The readers were pleased and Doyle went on to write The Empty House, another Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Sherlock Holmes was prone to playing the violin to help him think and rarley took proper care of himself. The only thing that surpasses his eccentricities is his genius.

So, the time has come once again for a movie to arrive. And I couldn't be happier. Many actors have donned the persona of Sherlock Holmes. The most notable actors being John Barrymore, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Basil Rathbone (my favorite), Michael Caine, Frank Langella, Christopher Plummer, and Richard Roxburgh. Gene Wilder even played the detective (really the detective's smarter brother. When asked if his brother was the famous detective, he would say, "His name was SHEER LUCK!")

Now, added to the list, in comes Robert Downey Jr. He's already embodied Charlie Chaplin, which was played to perfection. Just by watching The Singing Detective and Kiss kiss, Bang Bang; you can pretty much tell that he can handle himself in a mystery setting. Is there any role this man can't do?

I've read that Robert Downey read a lot of Holmes stories to prepare for the role. There is also more focus on Holmes' boxing and fencing abilities. Whether you are a longtime reader or admirer of the series or if this is your first time EVER hearing about a detective named Sherlock Holmes, he is sure to thrill you with his legendary return to the big screen. There hasn't been a Sherlock Holmes movie in over twenty years. That was too long, old fellow. So I say pick up your magnifying glass, hand me that pipe and join me because "the game is afoot!"

Coming Christmas Day.

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius . . ." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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