Other than the amazing cast of this film, there’s nothing extraordinary that sets it apart from other adaptations. That’s why I’d just like to talk for a minute about the original text itself. The novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the first Holmes novel written after his supposed death in The Final Problem. It was set before the events of that novel. It wasn’t until two years later in “The Adventure of the Empty House” that Doyle brought Homes back saying that he had faked his death. Kind of cheesy, but the response to Holmes literary demise caused quite a scandal for its day.
Holmes is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the MOST portrayed movie character with over 70 actors playing him in over 200 films. This 1959 version starring Peter Cushing as Holmes was the character’s first appearance in color!
Holmes has contributed to other areas of our cultural literacy giving us such phrases as “The Game’s afoot” and “Elementary, my Dear Watson.” Holmes is far from a role model, however. He uses cocaine in injections and morphine between cases when he’s bored. Watson says he eventually weaned his friend off the stuff, but Holmes will always be an addict.
His attitude towards women was far from open minded. In fact he even got engaged once to a woman just to get information about a case. His nemesis, Irene Adler, was a constant thorn in his side due to the fact that he could never make peace with the idea that she had bested him.
Holmes’ deductive logic has proven exemplary for investigators in real life. He’s also know for employing disguises and for his acting ability in situations that call for it. Both Holmes and Watson carry pistols and they both fire at the Hound in this narrative. Several stories refer to Holmes’ ability to bar-knuckle box, use a sword, and even his cane as a weapon. He’s described as a student of Chemistry along with some other eccentric side interests…like his ability to decipher different brands of cigarette ash. He plays the violin well and knows a whole lot about botany, astronomy, physics, anatomy…the list goes on. Holmes is the quintessential Renaissance Man.
And for that reason…I salute him and his creator for giving the literary world engaging narratives that will continue to intrigue readers and viewers in the future.