FIVE FAST THOUGHTS ON “SHERLOCK HOLMES” W/ WILLIAM GILLETTE (1916)

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William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes

On Oct. 18, TCM aired SHERLOCK HOLMES that starred actor William Gillette. Gillette played Holmes over 1,000 times on stage and now Sherlock fans of today are now able to see him! 

POINT 1: Gillette in the Pantheon

In this day and age, when anyone talks Sherlock Holmes, we think immediately of Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett. Gillette played Holmes over a 1,000 times on stage (according to the TCM intro) and by this film being found, his contributions to bringing Holmes off the page are now tangible.

POINT 2: Return to Bohemia

As is in seen in the plot, the story, I believe was written by Gillette, borrows liberally from “A Scandal in Bohemia” and other Holmes stories. For example a Germanic royal family hiring Holmes to retrieve items that would embarrass them, then Holmes starts a fire to see where the items were hid.

POINT 3: Edward Fielding – better Watson than Nigel Bruce

Since I started this blog, I have not hesitated to continue to voice my annoyance with Nigel Bruce. Yes, I see Fielding is only on screen a big, he doesn’t speak, but I still like his Watson over Bruce’s.

You do not make Holmes look smarter by making Watson look dumber!

POINT 4: Moriarty

Ernest Maupain was built like Marlon Brando circa-GODFATHER and carried himself in a spooky deviant manner. When compared to the “Moriarties” of today, but his was evil and just plain fun!

Here is a still from the 1916 movie with Maupain as Moriarty (left) with Gillette as Holmes (right).

POINT 5: WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

With the finding of this movie, it cements Sherlock’s iconography even earlier than the days of Rathbone. We get to see Sherlock from a different perspective and for Sherlock fans all over the world, this brings the Great Detective life once more.

Sure, it’s been said Sherlock is the most filmed character in cinema, but how cool is it we have one more Sherlock movie when the actors and director have long since passed?

Simply, Sherlock will never die.

This movie is proof.

BONUS:

So allow me to quote friend of THE SHERLOCK CONVERSATIONS, Jessica Smith Hodder:

“Oh my goodness, that was more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed. Looks like it was filmed yesterday, and not almost 100 years ago!  Wow…it was filmed 100 years ago next year! That is AMAZING when you think about it!”

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