Conan Doyle fans: What is your favorite adaptation of SHERLOCK HOLMES?

I wrote “Conan Doyle fans” rather than Holmes fans because I am specifically interested in the opinions of people who have read and liked the original Holmes stories by the creator. Of course I am not the boss of you; if people who’ve never even heard of the Strand want to pipe in, I can hardly stop you and shan’t try.

To reiterate: Persons who fell in love with Sherlock Holmes because of the original novels and short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle: What stage, cinematic, and television adaptions doyou like most? Least?

Jeremy Brett as Holmes. No question and no equal.

Seconded. Jeremy Brett is the quintessential Sherlock Holmes in my book, and Edward Hardwicke is the quintessential Watson.

I’m such a big fan of the BBC Sherlock series I probably shouldn’t even post here. It was that show that got me to read all the stories, instead of just a handful - I’m not really a fan of mystery.

I’ll see myself out.

Brett is the best, agreed. Basil Rathbone is a beloved version, long engraved on my memory as Holmes, but the scripts (and Watson) leave quite a bit to be desired. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are mind-blowingly good as well. Nicol Williamson and Robert de Niro were pretty good in The Seven Percent Solution.

But: Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing’s version of The Hound of the Baskervilles was ploddingly dull, as, alas, was the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore version (which never even began to be as funny as it should have been).

I do like the Cumberbatch Holmes, but it’s not the original character. I missed the Brett, so of those I’ve seen I guess it’s Rathbone.

Though I did like Arthur Wontner’s version in Murder at the Baskervilles

Having grown up with the books and eschewed television as a child, I can’t judge myself, but apparently the Russian series is considered the most authentic by the cognoscenti. And rated by Conan Doyle’s daughter, Jean.
A paradoxical situation considering they were produced by Maslennikov under a soviet regime which officially despised the past and non-mass culture, and undistorted by the regime’s diktats; however marxism itself rarely left the 19th century…

I enjoyed the original stories partly because they were so original. :wink:

So although I agree that Jeremy Brett was faithful to the books, I strongly prefer two different treatments:

  • ‘Sherlock’ series on the BBC by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, starring Benedict Cumberbatch
  • ‘Sherlock Holmes’ films produced by Guy Ritchie, starring Robert Downey Jnr.

I also like The Seven Percent Solution, but I think it was Robert Duval not de Niro, but of course, not by Conan Doyle. I am one that does not like Brett. I much prefer Rathbone. Of his I would have to say “Valley of Fear” even though it had nothing to do with the original story/novella.

Heh, thread over. Second post. :smiley:

Agree on Jeremy Brett. I think the Cumberbatch/Freeman is wonderful.

I think Basil Rathbone was the best Holmes qua-Holmes, IMHO, but unfortunately the plots and dialog were atrocious.

I knew the first response would be this, so add me on as well.


So as to expand the discussion a bit, why is your fave your fave?

I loved Jeremy Brett because he captured Holmes’ eccentricity (which others have done, too), but more than that, his passion and vulnerability. And his face was so expressive and mobile. You could watch the emotions ripple across his face like the play of light across water.

The BBC Sherlock. For me, its genius is that while it updates the setting, it somehow is even more authentic to Conan Doyle’s original characters. It makes me feel like I’m watching Holmes and Watson come to life in a way that no other portrayal does, including Jeremy Brett’s version.

Jeremy Brett’s Holmes, Martin Freeman’s Watson.

Brett, of course. Surpassing excellent. We will not live to see a better.

Allow me to plug Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady, with Christopher Lee and Patrick Macnee. Not the greatest…but quite nice. (Pay attention to the music! Brilliant!)

Another offering, yet weaker, with more flaws, is Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stockings. Faulty, flawed, and yet with a nice touch here and there. One of the more interesting sequences is when Holmes can’t solve the mystery, and is increasingly frustrated by it. A very realistic scene, tragedy upon tragedy: Holmes is punished for his hubris, and, of course, the next victim is in terrible peril. For drama to work, the hero cannot always win.

(Holmes, of course, did not always win. “The Adventure of the Yellow Face” cannot be surpassed as a moral lesson for those afflicted by pride.)

Has to be the BBC Sherlock for me. There’s a warmth and wit brought to the characters that dare I say it, surpass the novels.

I’ll stick my neck out here and be the sole dissenting voice about the Brett version. Whilst I enjoyed the series enormously when it first came out, watching the reruns there is a faint whiff of ham in the air.

I await my inevitable beating.

Whatever ordinal number we’re up to, that.

Jeremy Brett, no question. But I adore the new BBC one too!

Well, maybe… But which interpretation didn’t slice a bit of ham? Heck, which other interpretation would you claim did it less? Rathbone? C’mon! Cumberbatch? Get real!

If you’re saying Brett wasn’t perfect…I think we’ll agree. And “The Sussex Vampire” re-interpreted as “The Last Vampyre” was horrible! Just horrible, and I say that as a fan of Roy Marsden. So, yeah, no disagreement: even Homer nods. (And says “D’oh!”)

But if you’re saying someone else did a better job… Waal, son, looks like you, 'n me ‘n this six-foot length o’ wood are gonna have a li’l three way conversation out ahind the woodshed.