|Silent but sensational - a German take on The Hound of the Baskervilles|
Gillette to Brett V, held last weekend on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington, IN, was another wonderful symposium in this series devoted to media adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. Organizers Steven Doyle and Mark Gagen, of Wessex Press, only do this every three or four years. When they do, they make it count.
More the 120 Sherlockians from the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom gathered to hear eight world-class speakers and view three films. It was a gathering of friends. Rather than trying to summarize the event, I’ll tell you what I learned from each speaker.
Nicholas Utechin: A numbers of actors who don’t look like each other can nevertheless look like the Sidney Paget illustrations of Sherlock Holmes. He showed photos of actors and asked us to vote yes or no – doe he resembles Paget’s Holmes?
Ashley Polasek: Technology helps to determine how scenes are recorded on film, which in turn influences how the story is told. She showed examples from three televised versions of “The Six Napoleons,” and explained the difference in a way that even I understood.
Glen Miranker: Silent movies could be really good, and just as sophisticated as what’s in your neighborhood theater today. He showed the last silent Sherlock Holmes film made, a German version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The was only the second public U.S. showing of a film lost for decades. And it was wonderful!
Leslie S. Klinger interviewing Robert Doherty: In creating a story season-long story arc for Elementary, the producers focused each season on a different character. Doherty, creator of the show, said his biggest regret was not doing more with Moriarty.
Terence Faherty: The Sherlock Holmes radio programs featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce fixed them in the public mind as Holmes and Watson more than the films.
Charles Prepolec: Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, who became great friends, appeared in three movies together before they actually met. Cushing was Holmes and Lee was Sir Henry Baskerville in the Hammer Films 1959 version of The Hound, which we saw on the big screen Saturday evening. Cushing later made a second version of The Hound.
David Stuart Davies: Jeremy Brett was a kind man who completed a phone interview with Davies even though he was quite ill. “Don’t worry about me!” he said cheerfully in an excerpt we heard. A year later he was dead. During the short interview, Brett said he wished he could have remade The Hound (like Cushing) and done better with is.
Jeffrey Hatcher: The author of the Mr. Holmes screenplay and the Holmes & Watson stage play is a very, very funny man.