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Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

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A piece of trivia that occurred to me just now - did you know that Rathbone was actually older than Bruce?

I did..! :P
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My first Holmes as a child, Basil Rathbone.  The movies would be shown on weekend television back then.  I didn't quite like the time jump from the 19th Century to the 20th but I understood it was due to World War II and these were made at that time.  These movies had great atmosphere, particularly The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Wonderful.

 

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Same here, except the WW2 setting didn't bother me because I didn't know any better ... and in fact, I was young enough that I didn't even realize it WAS WW2, I think. Mostly I remember my Dad and I watching them on the weekends, my Dad really loved them. And the Brett version. I'd love to know what he would have thought of the current one.

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I just completed a binge-watch of my Basil Rathbone collection, and I have to brag on it. It is THE collection to have!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Sherlock-Holmes-Collection/dp/B000EXZFRQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1488565277&sr=1-1&keywords=basil+rathbone+sherlock+holmes+collection

 

All 14 films are here. The 12 Universal films have been restored and remastered, and are really beautiful. Six of the films have commentaries, all of which are great. I've had mine for years (the cover art is a bit different), and I'm pretty sure I paid more. I can't believe this price, only $55.38! That's a steal for all this.

 

Seriously, folks, for a real Rathbone fan, this is a treasure.

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After he'd given up playing Holmes on film and on radio Rathbone was persuaded to play Holmes on t.v. one more time (after he'd appeared in an unsuccessful Holmes stage play written by his wife Ouida). It was called The Adventure Of The Black Baronet and it was aired in 1953. Nigel Bruce wasn't in it due to ill health (he died in October of that year). An actor called Martin Green played Watson. The story was written by Conan Doyle's son, Adrian. By all accounts it wasn't anything to write home about and most felt that Rathbone was 'going through the motions.' It would have been great to see though. It hasn't survived. It's unlikely that it was even recorded at the time so it's not something that's going to show up (like the Gillette movie did a few years ago.) You can read the story though in a collection called The Exploits Of Sherlock Holmes; jointly written by Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr ( Carr also wrote a biography of Doyle.)

 

You can now get 4 of the Rathbone/Bruce movies colourised. I can't remember them all (I'm not near my collection at the moment) but one is Terror By Night. I think The Woman In Green is another. I prefer the black and white myself but it's interesting to see them in colour. I've been trying to find out if they will colourise the rest but no luck so far.

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I love old b/w movies, I don't like to see them colorized. Be nice to see them cleaned up, though ... the last Rathbone Holmes I saw on TV, it was so smeary you could hardly make out any details.

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I love old b/w movies, I don't like to see them colorized. Be nice to see them cleaned up, though ... the last Rathbone Holmes I saw on TV, it was so smeary you could hardly make out any details.

Cleaned up, you say? Then this is the collection for you! It is an incredible treasure! Check it out ...

 

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Sherlock-Holmes-Collection/dp/B000EXZFRQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1504783171&sr=1-1&keywords=the+complete+sherlock+holmes+collection+basil+rathbone

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I have a different box set to Pamela's and they're excellent quality too. Isn't it a bit strange that you can get excellent versions of the movies and yet the tv companies (with millions to spend) show the poorer versions.

They've also fairly recently released the surviving episodes of the Douglas Wilmer(who as you know appeared in Sherlock) series on DVD which is really good.

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I've just checked. My box set is called The Definitive Collection. It has some good extras which are that a few of the movies can be watched with a 'commentary.' I've just looked on eBay, one is selling for around £12 including postage! I paid £35 for mine

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I think it's to do with licensing fees and such, is the reason the, er, poorer stations show the poorer quality stuff. A lot of the channels we watch this stuff on here are "sub-channels", they don't have any original programming, they just broadcast whatever they can get for free or almost nothing. Some of the old stuff is pretty good, though, I tend to watch them more than the high-end channels!

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It's a bit strange though considering you can see Gillette's 1916 silent Holmes movie and the quality is amazing!

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You've probably all seen this but not everyone is aware of it

 

https://youtu.be/D9EG9XwuiDQ

 

Hope the link works.

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I think it's to do with licensing fees and such, is the reason the, er, poorer stations show the poorer quality stuff. A lot of the channels we watch this stuff on here are "sub-channels", they don't have any original programming, they just broadcast whatever they can get for free or almost nothing. Some of the old stuff is pretty good, though, I tend to watch them more than the high-end channels!

 

I suspect it's also a matter of what do they already own.  For example, when PBS runs anything from Series 1 or 2 of Sherlock, they apparently still show the hacked-up 82-minute versions -- partly convenience, I suppose (they don't have to bother acquiring the full 90-miinute versions) and partly economics.

 

It's a bit strange though considering you can see Gillette's 1916 silent Holmes movie and the quality is amazing!

 

I may be misremembering, but wasn't that film extensively cleaned up and remastered?

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I think it's to do with licensing fees and such, is the reason the, er, poorer stations show the poorer quality stuff. A lot of the channels we watch this stuff on here are "sub-channels", they don't have any original programming, they just broadcast whatever they can get for free or almost nothing. Some of the old stuff is pretty good, though, I tend to watch them more than the high-end channels!

I suspect it's also a matter of what do they already own. For example, when PBS runs anything from Series 1 or 2 of Sherlock, they apparently still show the hacked-up 82-minute versions -- partly convenience, I suppose (they don't have to bother acquiring the full 90-miinute versions) and partly economics.

It's a bit strange though considering you can see Gillette's 1916 silent Holmes movie and the quality is amazing!

I may be misremembering, but wasn't that film extensively cleaned up and remastered?

It was Carol. And Mark Gatiss contributed towards it

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tumblr_ow9ujuSwEP1tmci27o1_400.gif

 

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368e8217da9fd92529bac3a4d3ef837b.gif

 

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1 hour ago, Sheerluck said:

This didn't get a mention in The Guardian or The Times. That's just wrong. Am I going to have to resort to the Mail now? 😱

I certainly hope not Sheerluck.👎

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On 11/22/2018 at 4:56 AM, Artemis said:

tumblr_ow9ujuSwEP1tmci27o1_400.gif

 

I think Basil is looking particularly Sherlocky here.

 

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15 hours ago, HerlockSholmes said:

That is a good one, Herl.

I don't think Bas had a bad shot as  Holmes, really.

https://www.google.com/search?q=rathbone+holmes&rlz=1C9BKJA_enGB704GB704&hl=en-GB&prmd=nimv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiP3Yih9LThAhWDqHEKHdgKC9oQ_AUoAnoECAwQAg&biw=1024&bih=1257#imgrc=KycEq7BhK3G1nM:

I can totally get why David Marcum is a Rathbonian; he grew up on these movies.   His issue with Jeremy Brett is, as I recall, 'too neurotic'.  Mr. Brett had the advantage of the opportunity to do a more fully-rounded portrayal, with time to develop SH's character, as opposed to running around via a time machine catching Nazis and otherwise playing silly buggers.  Basil Rathbone cut a fine figure as Holmes, though.  I"m sure Sir Arthur would complain that both he and Jeremy Brett were far too handsome.  Maybe if Jeremy Brett had played SH on the big screen, some of the neuroticism would have dissipated.

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Basil will always be, to me, the real face of Sherlock Holmes. :smile: 

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On 4/4/2019 at 2:16 PM, Hikari said:

That is a good one, Herl.

I don't think Bas had a bad shot as  Holmes, really.

https://www.google.com/search?q=rathbone+holmes&rlz=1C9BKJA_enGB704GB704&hl=en-GB&prmd=nimv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiP3Yih9LThAhWDqHEKHdgKC9oQ_AUoAnoECAwQAg&biw=1024&bih=1257#imgrc=KycEq7BhK3G1nM:

I can totally get why David Marcum is a Rathbonian; he grew up on these movies.   His issue with Jeremy Brett is, as I recall, 'too neurotic'.  Mr. Brett had the advantage of the opportunity to do a more fully-rounded portrayal, with time to develop SH's character, as opposed to running around via a time machine catching Nazis and otherwise playing silly buggers.  Basil Rathbone cut a fine figure as Holmes, though.  I"m sure Sir Arthur would complain that both he and Jeremy Brett were far too handsome.  Maybe if Jeremy Brett had played SH on the big screen, some of the neuroticism would have dissipated.

It interesting to speculate how different the overall effect or appeal of the Grenada series might have changed had Rathbone have played Holmes instead of Brett (given a time machine of course.) Apart from the first two movies Rathbone was playing in movies that barely touched on the Canonical stories and, much as I’m fond of Nigel Bruce, he spent some of his screen time in the role of ‘straight man.’. He was superb in The Hound so wouldn’t it have been great to have seen him in faithful reproductions like the Grenada series? It would certainly have been different but it’s difficult to judge how different. It would still have been a great series. 

I love Rathbone as Holmes. He was my first Holmes. It took a towering performance by Brett to knock him off the number one spot on my list.👍 

ps. I’ve mentioned before that it’s strange that whenever I read a Holmes story (whether Canonical or a pastiche) I hear and visualise Brett accept for when I’ve read Laurie King’s Holmes And Mary Russell stories (King gets the names the wrong way around - an oversight I’m sure😃) when I hear and see Rathbone. 

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Like many people of a certain age, Rathbone was my first Holmes and his features are indelibly linked in my mind as the 'true' Sherlock Holmes. As a kid, it was my mum that loved Sherlock Holmes (indeed all mysteries) and whenever one of his films was on the telly you couldn't get a look in. Fortunately for me, I was enamoured with Holmes right from the start.

While Rathbone is the 'look' of Holmes, it is Brett that embodies the character the best to me. I'm not sure if it was Brett that inhabited Holmes or the other way round. In either case, Brett is probably the best canon Holmes we'll see for some time to come.

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