Today I watched the DVD of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes -this is the second time I've seen the movie, since I originally caught it on it's cinema release. I remember thinking that this wasn't really Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, but that it was a good film. Watching it on DVD I'm not so sure and felt the film did tend to drag in the middle section. Also I'm not convinced all that fast editing and jump cuts benefited the movie. It certainly didn't feel like Sherlock Holmes. On the plus sides some of the shots of Victorian London were superb and this is the case even on the small screen.
It started me thinking of the recent BBC series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes. Now the BBC series was set in the modern day and did away with one of the most iconic Holmes accessories, his pipe. Think of Holmes in profile and you see that pipe and deerstalker. And yet the BBC series, to me, felt more like traditional Holmes than the Ritchie movie.
Basil Rathbone though is another favourite of mine, but in all fairness some of his movies were as unlike Doyle as the Guy Ritchie movie. And yet for some peculiar reason the Rathbone films seem more like real Holmes movies than the Guy Ritchie one - least, to me they do. Why is that? Is it because I grew up watching reruns of the Rathbone movies on TV and that I probably knew the Holmes character through those films, before I ever read the original stories? I'm not saying I dislike the Ritchie movie because I don't, but I've definitely revised my opinion since watching it for a second time.
Maybe it's a generation thing and future viewers will see Robert Downey as the definitive Sherlock Holmes, though somehow I doubt this.
Sherlock Holmes, least the TV and film version, is like James Bond - we all have our favourites and speaking of James Bond, we musn't forget that Roger Moore also played Sherlock Holmes in the TV movie, Sherlock Holmes in New York. I've never seen this myself but from what I've read, I haven't missed much.
There have of course been many other actors who have taken a stab at the part - in face ever since William Gillete (Doyle's own favourite) trod the boards with his Sherlock Holmes plays, actors have been clamouring to play the part. From the plausible Christopher Plummer to the unlikely Charlton Heston.
So who is the perfect Sherlock Holmes?
Damned if I know.