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Friday, September 5, 2014

Four Holmeses and Three Watsons

Nigel Stock as Dr. Watson

Not being much into movies and TV shows, even ones about Sherlock Holmes, I've been boning up on them to prepare for Gillette to Brett IV a week from today.

In recent weeks I've watched:

  • The three World War II propaganda films starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, and Sherlock Holmes in Washington all fail to solve the real mystery of all three - why Holmes's weird hairdo?

  • Murder by Decree, with Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason as Dr. Watson. Both great British actors demonstrated in this film why they are great British actors. I was especially fond of Mason's Watson, although he was too old to be Watson in the days of Jack the Ripper.

  • Episodes of the mid-1960s BBC "Sherlock Holmes" TV series, first with Douglas Wilmer in the starring role, and later with Peter Cushing. Both made admirable Holmeses, although Crushing was a bit long int he tooth by then. Nigel Stock was Watson.
Only the famous BBC series was to new to me, although it had been 35 years since I'd seen Murder by Decree. I found myself reaching for Kieran McMullen's The Many Watsons to see what he had to say about Nigel Stock. I think he nailed it:

"Stock plays Watson the way he was. Delightfully, he does an excellent job with Wilmer and even seems better with Cushing. While I believe that Wilmer is a better Holmes, there is a better chemistry between Stock and Cushing, so it's kind of take your pick."

Do I have to pick? I like all the Holmes and all the Watsons!

The Many Watsons is available from all good bookshops including in the USA Amazon and Barnes and Noble, in the UK Amazon and Waterstones. For elsewhere Book Depository who offer free delivery worldwide.In ebook format there is Kindle, iPad, Nook and Kobo.

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