Several weeks ago, I learned about an alternate history universe called Ill Bethisad, created by many fans of a constructed language called Brithenig (it's the result of a linguist's thought experiment: how would Latin have developed in the British Isles if the Holy Roman Empire had maintained more control?). On the Ill Bethisad website, there's a rather detailed entry on an alternate version of Conan Doyle's detective stories, wherein Sherlock Holmes was never the famous detective, but "Inspector Watson" was the iconic literary character. That inspired me to write the article published on I Hear of Sherlock. Enjoy!
Things in middle Tennessee, where I live, have been particularly crazy since March 3, which is when the expanded review I did of Sheerluck Holmes & The Golden Ruler was posted on the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere website. We had a tornado rip through TN in the wee hours of March 3. My family was unharmed, but a wide swath of the area was not so fortunate. I apparently missed the fact that my review had been posted at IHOSE. So please forgive me if I haven't been particularly vigilant about this blog since then!
Anyway, enjoy the review! And if you get a chance during all of the coronavirus social distancing, you may consider giving the VeggieTales parody of Holmes a watch (especially if you have small children).
See below for YouTube video of the film...
This article doesn't really give a whole lot of information, so I'm taking it with a grain of salt. But I would like to go on record as saying, I think a fifth season of Sherlock is a horrible idea. Not only are Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch simply too busy to really make a new series work logistically, the end of the fourth season strongly implied an end to the narrative of the show. Trying to take it beyond that ending is ill-advised, in my opinion. I guess we'll see if it ever comes to pass...
Sherlock Season 5 article
This article from Variety.com gives a tiny hint as to the work happening on the next installment of the Sherlock Holmes film series starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. The third film in the franchise will be directed by Dexter Fletcher, who finished Bohemian Rhapsody (the Queen biopic) after Bryan Singer was fired, and who directed Rocketman (the Elton John biopic). (He also played a guest role on the excellent British comedy series, Rev. He was quite good as an actor in that.)
Even though I was not exactly happy with the second film in this franchise, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), I will be interested to see what Fletcher brings to the table, as well as seeing how Downey Jr. and Law do with their roles after so many years have passed.
Several years ago (probably before I began this blog), my in-laws got a VeggieTales video for my daughters entitled Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler. (The video came out in 2006, but my children probably received it sometime after 2011.) I had forgotten about the DVD until I recently stumbled across it. For anyone who hasn't heard of VeggieTales, it is one of the more successful properties in Christian/family entertainment history. Many VeggieTales videos have been parodies of popular culture icons, such as The Wizard of Oz (Wizard of Ha's), Indiana Jones (Minnesota Cuke), Lord of the Rings (Lord of the Beans), and of course, Sherlock Holmes (Sheerluck Holmes).
I just gave it a watch, and it's actually a pretty enjoyable Holmes parody, that uses Sheerluck Holmes (portrayed by Larry the Cucumber) and Dr. Watson (portrayed by Bob the Tomato) to teach a fun lesson about...wait for it...the Golden Rule. ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.") The parody borrows an idea from the film Without a Clue, portraying Watson as the true brains of the operation, who gets frustrated by Holmes's disregard of his role in solving all the cases. The characters frequent a pub (of sorts) called "Doylie's," although, this being Christian media, milk seems to be the only beverage served. Meanwhile, Sheerluck's Calabash shaped pipe only blows bubbles. The characters frequently say, "The game's afoot!" (Of course they do!) As you can see from the cover design of the video, the deerstalker cap and Inverness cape are present in Sheerluck's design, while Watson is given mutton chop whiskers and a bowler. In a non-Holmes-related joke, a duo of police officers, named "Fish" and "Chips" show up throughout the video. If you want to keep small children entertained with something that won't put you to sleep, you could do worse.
NOTE: If you like, you can read an expanded review of this film that I wrote on I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.
I found this article about the presumed birth date of Mr. Sherlock Holmes interesting, Of course, there's nothing new here for most Sherlockians: Watson (or Conan Doyle) never told us exactly when Sherlock's birthday was. The topic apparently never came up.
Still. it's fun to speculate when the great detective may have been born, as well as why he seemed so fond of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. So, even though it may all be just speculation, many happy returns on this Epiphany and your birthday, Mr. Holmes!
At long last, I finally finished watching Billy Wilder's 1970 film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I have a distant memory, from sometime around the time I first started reading the Holmes stories, of my grandfather expressing his disapproval of what he'd heard about the film: I think he was complaining that the rumor was that the film implied some sort of impropriety in Holmes and Watson's relationship. (I'm quite certain my grandfather never actually watched the film, and by the time he was telling me about it, it must have been about a decade old.)
Anyway, I rather liked the film, by the end. Some of the opening sequences, with Watson and some Russian ballerinas were a bit silly, and sometimes Robert Stephens's portrayal of Holmes was a bit on the effete side. But Christopher Lee's Mycroft Holmes was excellent, and the Holmes/Watson duo was pretty well done by Stephens and his Watson, Colin Blakely. Sure, Blakely was a bit on the comic side, but not annoyingly so, as Nigel Bruce often tended to be. Geneviève Page was delightful as Madame Valladon/Ilse von Hoffmanstal, a character who contained echoes of the famous Irene Adler.
Meanwhile, it's nice to see a Sherlock Holmes film shot by a real master director like Billy Wilder. And the score by Miklós Rózsa was lush and beautiful. Overall, I found the film considerably better than I always thought it would be. I'm glad I read the entry on the film in Alan Barnes's handy guide, Sherlock Holmes on Screen. He writes quite positively about it, finally making me want to see it. As it is available as part of Amazon Prime Video, I didn't even have to pay to rent it! I think many Sherlock Holmes fans would enjoy this film immensely. I know I did.
I hope everyone had a lovely New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Now that we are past the holiday, I have time to observe that a couple interesting things happened yesterday: one, not related to the theme of this blog (but interesting nonetheless), is that George Gershwin's famous "Rhapsody in Blue" entered the public domain. As a musician, I am fascinated by that news. More pertinent to the theme of this blog, however, is that three more stories from The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes have entered the public domain: the Adventures of the Sussex Vampire, the Three Garridebs, and the Illustrious Client. I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere did a great article about the copyright issue, as well as a special podcast episode.
In a few short years, the entire Canon will be in the public domain, and then, I suppose, the game will REALLY be afoot!
Meanwhile, if you would like to watch a fabulous performance of "Rhapsody in Blue," you can do no better than this one from 1976: Leonard Bernstein, playing the piano solo AND conducting the New York Philharmonic!
I missed this article back in July (probably because I was too busy turning 50 on that very day). Anyways, I think I had hear several months earlier that a film adaptation of the Enola Holmes book series was underway, with Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown in the title role. Looks like Henry Cavill is going to be playing Sherlock Holmes, and Helena Bonham Carter as Holmes matriarch, Eudoria Holmes. Could prove interesting; I may have to check out the books before the movie comes out.
More proof that the Sherlock Holmes train is not running out of steam anytime soon!
This morning I finally finished the journey I began way back in Fall of 2012, shortly after the CBS series Elementary first began. As I recall, I didn't initially like the show: I had been so impressed by the BBC's Sherlock, and I just didn't think Jonny Lee Miller's version of Holmes was as compelling as Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as the same character. I also thought that the "Watson is a girl" premise of Lucy Liu's character was too gimmicky. But I gave the series a second chance, and I'm glad I did. Over the course of Elementary's seven (six and a half?) seasons, I now believe that Miller and Liu were able to inhabit their roles as the famous detective and his loyal sidekick to an extent that no other actors have been able to achieve.
And as far as the way the creators of the two shows wrapped up their series, I think the finale of Elementary was far more satisfying than the mess that wrapped up season 4 of Sherlock. (Yes, I know there continue to be little hints that maybe, just maybe, the BBC may pick up Sherlock again. But that season 4 finale really felt like a series finale.) By the end of the BBC series, Sherlock and Watson had become little more than parodies, whereas the end of the CBS series seemed to be to be completely appropriate to the characters we had come to know and love across the years.
Just in case there is anyone reading this who took even longer to finish Elementary than I did, I won't give any spoilers. Suffice it to say that I also enjoyed many of the little tidbits that were mixed into the last half season. References to the Garridebs, or Ronald Adair, were entertaining gifts for longtime fans of the Sherlock Holmes canon. Elementary provided such references from time to time, but it seems to me that they included significantly more canonical "shout-outs" in these last several episodes.
I see that the series actually ended in August of 2019, so I guess it didn't take me too much longer to watch the entire series than it should have (four months late is better than never, I guess). I guess I'm fortunate to live in the age of Hulu, so I could binge watch the series in a handful of extended viewing sessions. Overall, despite a very few episodes that I didn't enjoy as much, I think Elementary was one of the most successful Sherlock Holmes adaptations ever to grace the screen. This Sherlockian has found it immensely satisfying, at least.
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN. And a longtime fan of Sherlock Holmes.