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'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.