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Redux-Sherlock Holmes

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Has there ever been a more redoubtable character than Holmes? According to the Holmes Museum website he has been played on screen more times than any other fictional character. Created just before the birth of cinema, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective has drawn moviegoers across the world and for nearly 100 years. . At CPL he turns up across all formats---dvd, bookcd, book, graphix novels, e-books---for every age (adult, YA and J)---and in several different languages. There are over 300 listings in all! Lets take a look at some of the best that CPL has to offer on dvd.

For me there is no one who personifies Holmes better than Jeremy Brett in the wonderful Granada Television productions. Brett played Holmes fourty times between 1984 and 1994. He is supported by Edward Hardwicke as an equally engaging Watson. Brett's performances show a great respect for the character he is playing, as well as for his audience. When he learned that his Sherlock Holmes was very popular with children he was troubled with the fact that Holmes was a cocaine user. Brett then sought and obtained permission from Arthur Conan Doyle's daughter to have Holmes overcome his addiction, signified with Holmes burying his syringe in the episode The Devil's Foot.

The new Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Junior, Jude Law (who appeared in a small role in one of the Granada productions) and Rachel McAdams is definitely worth a look, although you will have to wait awhile due to the high number of holds. This has a younger much more physical Holmes than we are used to but Downey plays it well. Strong plot, excellent CGI's for a dark and moody London and enough to likely bring you back for the planned sequel. Rumours abound that Brad Pitt will play arch nemesis Moriarity.

Now for the most original interpretation of Holmes---Without a Clue. In this retelling Watson is really the mastermind and Holmes is merely an actor hired to play the famous detective. This has some great laughs, played to perfection by one of our favourite Movie Maniacs regulars- Michael Caine---with Ben Kingsley as the long suffering Watson.

From funny to terrifying---this is a repeat of a recommendation by Mat from Oct 2008 (only the third thing we ever posted). It is the excellent Murder by Decree. Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer), aided by his loyal Dr Watson (James Mason) investigates London's most infamous case, Jack the Ripper. Holmes and Watson uncover a rich conspiracy involving Freemason lore, corrupt officials and anti-monarchists. This multiple Genie Award winning film features fantastic camera work, strong performances and a wonderfully suspenseful atmosphere.

A few of the many other actors who have donned the deerstocker cap include John Barrymore (silent), Peter Cushing, Rupert Everett, Sir Ian Richardson, Johnathan Pryce, Charlton Heston, Basil Rathbone and Edward Woodward. And if anybody remembers Max Headroom from the 80's tv series, even Matt Frewer.


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