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Friday
Jan042008

The Holmes Classification and Jeremy Brett

jeremy%20brett.jpgMany winters ago I offended an acquaintance when, in a moment of unforgivable cavalierness, I declared the Sherlock Holmes stories to be "works written for children."   Rarely have I made a comment that I so regret.  In point of fact, I had loved the stories as I suppose all young boys do, and was particularly taken by the magnificent screen embodiment of Holmes by the late and sensationally talented Jeremy Brett.  If you have never seen these productions, which ran on PBS's Mystery! from 1984 to just before Brett's death in 1995, I cannot possibly recommend them more highly.   Of the 56 stories and four novellas, rediscovered and readored by me the last few years, 41 episodes (with one episode combining elements of two stories) were filmed and are viewable on 21 discs.

1) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 1, 1984): “A Scandal in Bohemia”; “The Dancing Men”; “The Naval Treaty”; “The Solitary Cyclist”
2) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 2, 1984): “The Crooked Man”; “The Speckled Band”
3) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 3, 1984): “The Blue Carbuncle”; “The Copper Beeches”
4) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 4, 1984): “The Greek Interpreter”; “The Norwood Builder”
5) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 5, 1984): “The Resident Patient”; “The Red–Headed League”; “The Final Problem”
6) The Hound of the Baskervilles (1984) 
7) The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 1, 1986): “The Empty House”; “Abbey Grange”
8) The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 2, 1986): “The Second Stain”; “The Six Napoleons”
9) The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 3, 1986): “The Priory School”; “Wisteria Lodge”
10) The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 4, 1986): “The Devil’s Foot”; “Silver Blaze”; “The Bruce–Partington Plans”
11) The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 5, 1986): “The Musgrave Ritual”; “The Man with the Twisted Lip”
12) The Sign of Four (1987)  
13) The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 1, 1991): “Lady Carfax”; “Thor Bridge”
14) The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 2, 1991): “Shoscombe Old Place”; “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”
15) The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 3, 1991): “The Illustrious Client”; “The Creeping Man”
16) The Eligible Bachelor (1992, based on the story “The Noble Bachelor”)
17) The Last Vampire (1993, based on the story “The Sussex Vampire”)
18) The Master Blackmailer (1993, based on the story “Charles Augustus Milverton”)
19) The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 1, 1994): “The Three Gables”***; “The Dying Detective”
20) The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 2, 1994): “The Golden Pince-nez”; “The Red Circle”
21) The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Disc 3, 1994): “The Mazarin Stone***/ The Three Garridebs”; “The Cardboard Box”

For now I will spare you the disquisition, but the spurious (***) authorship of both "The Three Gables" and "The Mazarin Stone" has long been a topos for Sherlockians.  All these discs are available for rental or purchase from the usual suspects.  Brett's performance in My Fair Lady also reminds me that I saw a fine version of the same classic the other night at the Kennedy Center.

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