Well, pursuant to my last post about the unfortunate disappearance of the complete Granada playlist from YouTube, I did manage to find the finale of the first season of The Return of Sherlock Holmes elsewhere on YouTube, so I am happy to report that I can, at the very least wrap up this third season of the Granada series with my review of "The Six Napoleons." And what a finale it was!
Of all the episodes I've watched thus far, this one may be the most entertaining. It really has it all: a lengthy opening scene in Italian, featuring a knife fight(!); Jeremy Brett in top form, as well as an admirable performance by Colin Jeavons as Inspector Lestrade; and a plot that follows the original story quite closely, while maintaining a flow of storytelling that works remarkably well. And to top it all of, there's humor...lots and lots of humor! Indeed, this was by far the most enjoyable and funny episode I've seen in the Granada series.
When I say that Jeremy Brett was in top form in this episode, there is no better example than the final scene in the rooms at 221B, when Holmes acquires the last of the six busts of Napoleon. After a very humorous sequence in which he purchases the last bust from a very finicky chap, he proceeds to set up his smashing of the bust with the same kind of flourishes one would see from a master illusionist. He even pulls the tablecloth from under the tea set that is on the table, lays it out, and then...BANG! his walking stick crashes down on the final bust. Priceless.
The original story is certainly very entertaining, but this TV adaptation perfectly captures many of the things we love the most about Sherlock Holmes stories: the banter between Holmes and Watson, Holmes always one step ahead of the local constabulary, and Holmes's delight in details that seem meaningless to others, but that turn out to be the heart of the case. I shall share the link to the video I watched, in the hopes that it won't disappear from YouTube any time soon. Enjoy!
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 Mr. Sherlock Holmes.