First, here is what it is about:
“The King of Bohemia is being blackmailed by legendary opera star Irene Adler, threatening to destroy his reputation with photographic proof of their illicit affair. her ransom? The king’s hand in marriage. Watson believes a case of sexual blackmail is beneath the talents of Sherlock Holmes. But Holmes knows better, he knows the woman in question. Irene has much loftier ambitions, and when murder becomes part of the game, Holmes moves in on the extraordinarily cunning songbird.The Royal Scandal – The King of Bohemia is being blackmailed by legendary opera star Irene Adler, threatening to destroy his reputation with photographic proof of their illicit affair. her ransom? The king’s hand in marriage. Watson believes a case of sexual blackmail is beneath the talents of Sherlock Holmes. But Holmes knows better, he knows the woman in question. Irene has much loftier ambitions, and when murder becomes part of the game, Holmes moves in on the extraordinarily cunning songbird.”
I have always thought “Scandal in Bohemia” was one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s weaker stories that just did not translate well to today.
Mainly for two big reasons:
1. The King of Bohemia wants to keep his identity a secret – he comes dressed like this:
A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height, with the chest and limbs of a Hercules. His dress was rich with a richness which would, in England, be looked upon as akin to bad taste. Heavy bands of astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat, while the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-coloured silk and secured at the neck with a brooch which consisted of a single flaming beryl. Boots which extended halfway up his calves, and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur, completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand, while he wore across the upper part of his face, extending down past the cheekbones, a black vizard mask, which he had apparently adjusted that very moment, for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character, with a thick, hanging lip, and a long, straight chin suggestive of resolution pushed to the length of obstinacy.
2. He had his picture taken with another woman not his fiance.
With some retooling, the writers of SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE ROYAL SCANDAL altered the following changes:
1. The King appears dressed in a beard and glasses and wig and a simple suit.
2. Irene Adler actually sleeps with the king.
During their session of love making and the like, she snaps photographs of the act. It turns out her bedroom was a converted photography studio with a hidden camera.
If those photographs got out and this was Victorian Europe, that could have brought down the King of Bohemia easily.
So I liked it.
Let’s talk Matt Frewer as Sherlock Holmes.
Frewer has always been one of those actors that has made a name for himself in the geek communities (Max Headroom, Watchmen, The Stand, and Orphan Black), so for him, he did it well. He is considered Pre-Age of Cumberbatch (see my theories here).
He didn’t add to the Sherlock Zeitgeist of modern tropes with drug addiction, Cumberbatch pompousness, does he have Asbergers?
It is a straight forward, playing the kind of deduction who wants to solve a crime and see justice served.
And sometimes, as a Sherlock fan, I just need that.