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Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

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3 hours ago, HerlockSholmes said:

... 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. 

King's Watson is Nigel Bruce's at his ineptest, that's for sure.  Maybe Rathbone's Holmes just naturally comes with him as a set.

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3 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

King's Watson is Nigel Bruce's at his ineptest, that's for sure.  Maybe Rathbone's Holmes just naturally comes with him as a set.

You might have hit the nail on the head there Carol. The kindly, avuncular, honest, decent,  (if not very bright) figure. Pretty much every character Bruce played in moviesfrom the very few that I’ve seen.

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11 hours ago, Sheerluck said:

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.

I'll have to agree with that, especially in the earlier seasons. (I'll probably get stoned for this :P but I never could really get into the later episodes.) But it's Rathbone I always picture as Holmes. Him, and for some reason, Nicholas Rowe. That movie must have made more of an impression on me than I realized....

 

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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

... it's Rathbone I always picture as Holmes. Him, and for some reason, Nicholas Rowe. That movie must have made more of an impression on me than I realized....

You do realize that Rowe played Holmes twice -- once in Young Sherlock Holmes, and then years later when the elderly Mr. Holmes goes to see a movie based on his life, Rowe is playing him again.

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13 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I'll have to agree with that, especially in the earlier seasons. (I'll probably get stoned for this :P but I never could really get into the later episodes.) But it's Rathbone I always picture as Holmes. Him, and for some reason, Nicholas Rowe. That movie must have made more of an impression on me than I realized....

Yes, Rowe was a wonderful Holmes.

12 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

You do realize that Rowe played Holmes twice -- once in Young Sherlock Holmes, and then years later when the elderly Mr. Holmes goes to see a movie based on his life, Rowe is playing him again.

I thought that it was a very good idea to use Rowe for that.

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17 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I'll have to agree with that, especially in the earlier seasons. (I'll probably get stoned for this :P but I never could really get into the later episodes.)

No stoning here, I totally agree. The first two series' were phenomenal. Then Brett's health began to fail, and so did the writing. The 'adaptations' weren't as faithful either. Oh well.

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So who do you think was the best SHERLOCK HOLMES: BASIL RATHBONE, or JEREMY BRETT? 

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53 minutes ago, Douglas said:

So who do you think was the best SHERLOCK HOLMES: BASIL RATHBONE, or JEREMY BRETT? 

My vote goes to Brett.

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Of those two, my vote would have to go to Brett also.  I had seen some of the Rathbone movies on TV and liked them well enough, but when the Brett series came on the air, I was just blown away.  In my opinion, Rathbone *played* Holmes, whereas Brett *was* Holmes.  (Kinda like my opinion of Shatner vs. Pine as Kirk.)

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Yes, my choice would be JEREMY BRETT, as SHERLOCK HOLMES; although, of course, BASIL RATHBONE was very good! 

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3 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Of those two, my vote would have to go to Brett also.  I had seen some of the Rathbone movies on TV and liked them well enough, but when the Brett series came on the air, I was just blown away.  In my opinion, Rathbone *played* Holmes, whereas Brett *was* Holmes.  (Kinda like my opinion of Shatner vs. Pine as Kirk.)

Well said, Carol; I agree. 

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I'd have to go with Brett also … if the criteria is "true to canon." I think nearly all of them bring a different perspective to the stories, though, or a different emphasis, some of which I actually enjoy more. But if someone asked me "what is Sherlock Holmes really like?", I'd point them to the Brett series.

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Oddly enough, I had never read any of the original stories.  I suppose I had gotten my idea of Sherlock Holmes mostly from the Rathbone movies.  And yet Brett struck me as the real deal.  (Which is, come to think of it, also analogous to my Star Trek experience -- my first impressions of Kirk came from William Shatner's performances, and yet Chris Pine immediately struck me as more authentic.)

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21 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

You do realize that Rowe played Holmes twice -- once in Young Sherlock Holmes, and then years later when the elderly Mr. Holmes goes to see a movie based on his life, Rowe is playing him again.

I did, actually … because someone around here (you, maybe?) pointed it out awhile back. :smile: I wish I'd known it before I saw the movie, though, I think it would have increased my enjoyment of the film. Not that I didn't enjoy it plenty already.

25 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Oddly enough, I had never read any of the original stories.  I suppose I had gotten my idea of Sherlock Holmes mostly from the Rathbone movies.  And yet Brett struck me as the real deal.  (Which is, come to think of it, also analogous to my Star Trek experience -- my first impressions of Kirk came from William Shatner's performances, and yet Chris Pine immediately struck me as more authentic.)

Exactly.

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None of you will be surprised that I go for Brett too. I think that he added more depth to the character and certainly more drama and quirkiness. That’s not  to detract from Rathbone’s masterful performance though. It would have been great to have seen Rathbone in a more faithful to the originals series. We certainly can’t blame Brett for the scripts that he had to work with.

When the best Holmes are ever discussed or put into polls Brett usually comes first (especially with Holmes Societies) but Rathbone is always up there; occasionally winning. I’ve seen a few recent ones though where BC has won. Brett, Rathbone And Cumberbatch are often the only ones that people are familiar with. There are certainly a few major performances to add to any list. Douglas Wilmer, Peter Cushing, Arthur Wontner to name but three. As most posters on here are primarily Sherlock fans I often wonder which other interpretations they might have seen and what they thought of them?

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I guess I qualify as mostly a BBC Sherlock fan.  In the years before that show aired, I was already familiar with Rathbone to some extent and had watched Brett faithfully when his episodes were on the air (and I've already commented on them).  I don't believe I had seen any of the others you mention, at least at that time, partly because I don't live in the UK.

Since then I've seen Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Downey Jr., of course, which were both fine.  I enjoyed Elementary in particular, but only the first season or two, after which the writers started to deviate from what I had liked most about the show (sorta like BBC Sherlock in that regard).  I would find it difficult to compare these two (or Cumberbatch) to Rathbone and Brett, because their adaptations don't strike me as quite the same genre.  You know, which do I like better, bananas or pickles?

I've also seen an episode of one of the Russian series, which I liked but have not pursued, possibly because I don't particularly enjoy watching shows on my computer.  And a few movies, including Young Sherlock, The Private Life, Smarter Brother (which I believe featured Wilmer as Sherlock?), and the one where Watson (Ben Kingsley) is actually the brains of the operation.  And Ian McKellen as Mr. Holmes, of course, which I liked, but of course it can't really be compared to the others.  In fact, since these have all been effectively one-shots for me, I can't really compare any of them to Rathbone, Brett, et al.  Sorry!

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20 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I guess I qualify as mostly a BBC Sherlock fan.  In the years before that show aired, I was already familiar with Rathbone to some extent and had watched Brett faithfully when his episodes were on the air (and I've already commented on them).  I don't believe I had seen any of the others you mention, at least at that time, partly because I don't live in the UK.

Since then I've seen Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Downey Jr., of course, which were both fine.  I enjoyed Elementary in particular, but only the first season or two, after which the writers started to deviate from what I had liked most about the show (sorta like BBC Sherlock in that regard).  I would find it difficult to compare these two (or Cumberbatch) to Rathbone and Brett, because their adaptations don't strike me as quite the same genre.  You know, which do I like better, bananas or pickles?

I've also seen an episode of one of the Russian series, which I liked but have not pursued, possibly because I don't particularly enjoy watching shows on my computer.  And a few movies, including Young Sherlock, The Private Life, Smarter Brother (which I believe featured Wilmer as Sherlock?), and the one where Watson (Ben Kingsley) is actually the brains of the operation.  And Ian McKellen as Mr. Holmes, of course, which I liked, but of course it can't really be compared to the others.  In fact, since these have all been effectively one-shots for me, I can't really compare any of them to Rathbone, Brett, et al.  Sorry!

That’s fine Carol no need to apologise. You can’t watch everything. Just out of curiosity which Russian series did you see an episode of? Was it the very recent one or the 1980’s Livanov Holmes?

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On 4/8/2019 at 10:59 AM, HerlockSholmes said:

None of you will be surprised that I go for Brett too. I think that he added more depth to the character and certainly more drama and quirkiness. That’s not  to detract from Rathbone’s masterful performance though. It would have been great to have seen Rathbone in a more faithful to the originals series. We certainly can’t blame Brett for the scripts that he had to work with.

When the best Holmes are ever discussed or put into polls Brett usually comes first (especially with Holmes Societies) but Rathbone is always up there; occasionally winning. I’ve seen a few recent ones though where BC has won. Brett, Rathbone And Cumberbatch are often the only ones that people are familiar with. There are certainly a few major performances to add to any list. Douglas Wilmer, Peter Cushing, Arthur Wontner to name but three. As most posters on here are primarily Sherlock fans I often wonder which other interpretations they might have seen and what they thought of them?

One wonders what Sir Arthur would have made of Jeremy's portrayal of the Great Detective.   Brett used the Canon as his Bible, and it's very evident that he viewed playing Holmes as both the greatest privilege, and greatest burden, of his or any actor's career.  Carol is right when she says Jeremy *became* Holmes . . it seems at times during his illness that Brett himself could not distinguish himself from his most famous character.  Definitely a symbiotic relationship there.

I wouldn't call this a quibble, merely an observation as to why JB might not be some people's visual representation of Holmes . . I think he is in fact pretty spot-on insofar as Conan Doyle's description, with a much more pleasing baritone voice than the 'reedy, peevish' register described by ACD.  Imagine having to tolerate all of SH's irritating quirks and imperiousness AND an irritating voice too.  It'd be very like living with Sheldon Cooper (love Jim Parsons and I love Sheldon, but *that* was the voice for SH--barring the slight Texan accent) that I believe ACD heard when he was writing SH . .anyway, despite JB's impressive 6-foot height (6'1" maybe, Herl would know) and classically trained thespian pipes, he does not quite project the aura of size one expects of SH.  Maybe because David Burke was such a strapping specimen.  JB feels a bit more will o'the wisp at times.  When I envision Holmes, he has many of Jeremy's characteristics, the voice to be sure and his agility, and the patented twitchy smiles and barking laughs.  My Holmes is a bit more . . relaxed in himself, I suppose.  Maybe it's all the fussy Victorian clothing JB was forced to wear.  His SH is at times a bit . .well, fey.  

In my Mind Palace, SH's ears do not stick out making him resemble a bat., either, though one could argue that Sir Arthur might disagree.   :)

The most elusive quality in SH are those extraordinary gray eyes . . it's hard to find an actual representation of them in the real world.  Jeremy's eyes were blue but a very interesting changeable blue, sometimes nearly green.  

I think Shaun Evans of "Endeavour" has actual grey eyes.  Not for nothing is he playing a modern riff on Holmes.

I think Basil's eyes were brown, weren't they?  Black and white film makes everything appear more mysterious and otherworldly.  A bit more strapping-framed, was Basil.

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1 hour ago, Hikari said:

One wonders what Sir Arthur would have made of Jeremy's portrayal of the Great Detective.   Brett used the Canon as his Bible, and it's very evident that he viewed playing Holmes as both the greatest privilege, and greatest burden, of his or any actor's career.  Carol is right when she says Jeremy *became* Holmes . . it seems at times during his illness that Brett himself could not distinguish himself from his most famous character.  Definitely a symbiotic relationship there.

I wouldn't call this a quibble, merely an observation as to why JB might not be some people's visual representation of Holmes . . I think he is in fact pretty spot-on insofar as Conan Doyle's description, with a much more pleasing baritone voice than the 'reedy, peevish' register described by ACD.  Imagine having to tolerate all of SH's irritating quirks and imperiousness AND an irritating voice too.  It'd be very like living with Sheldon Cooper (love Jim Parsons and I love Sheldon, but *that* was the voice for SH--barring the slight Texan accent) that I believe ACD heard when he was writing SH . .anyway, despite JB's impressive 6-foot height (6'1" maybe, Herl would know) and classically trained thespian pipes, he does not quite project the aura of size one expects of SH.  Maybe because David Burke was such a strapping specimen.  JB feels a bit more will o'the wisp at times.  When I envision Holmes, he has many of Jeremy's characteristics, the voice to be sure and his agility, and the patented twitchy smiles and barking laughs.  My Holmes is a bit more . . relaxed in himself, I suppose.  Maybe it's all the fussy Victorian clothing JB was forced to wear.  His SH is at times a bit . .well, fey.  

In my Mind Palace, SH's ears do not stick out making him resemble a bat., either, though one could argue that Sir Arthur might disagree.   :)

The most elusive quality in SH are those extraordinary gray eyes . . it's hard to find an actual representation of them in the real world.  Jeremy's eyes were blue but a very interesting changeable blue, sometimes nearly green.  

I think Shaun Evans of "Endeavour" has actual grey eyes.  Not for nothing is he playing a modern riff on Holmes.

I think Basil's eyes were brown, weren't they?  Black and white film makes everything appear more mysterious and otherworldly.  A bit more strapping-framed, was Basil.

I’m unsure what ACD would have made of Brett’s performance? I’m unsure if he ever saw a talking Sherlock Holmes, apart from on stage of course, with Clive Brook becoming the first talking Holmes in 1929 with Doyle dying in 1930? As Brett’s performance stood out so much when he first appeared how much of a culture shock would he have appeared after Norwood and Gillette? Sir Arthur might have considered him over the top but I certainly think that he would have appreciated Wontner and then Rathbone.

Peter Cushing had the same dedication to faithfulness when he played Holmes. Forever trying to correct the scriptwriters and to preserve the real Holmes.

Your right Hikari, Brett was 6” 1’ and Rathbone had brown eyes. It’s strange but Brett doesn’t give the impression of being tall.

As far as who was the visually the best Holmes; the one that resembles Paget’s drawings the most, Arthur Wontner usually gets the vote.

https://www.google.com/search?q=arthur+wontner+sherlock+holmes&safe=strict&rlz=1C9BKJA_enGB704GB704&hl=en-GB&prmd=inmv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi72PSZz8PhAhWfVBUIHdmEAYEQ_AUoAXoECAsQAQ&biw=1024&bih=1257#imgrc=SIA6mHBjkqmR0M

https://www.google.com/search?q=arthur+wontner+sherlock+holmes&safe=strict&rlz=1C9BKJA_enGB704GB704&hl=en-GB&prmd=inmv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi72PSZz8PhAhWfVBUIHdmEAYEQ_AUoAXoECAsQAQ&biw=1024&bih=1257#imgrc=WV-rqWmKPxqlZM

 

 

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58 minutes ago, HerlockSholmes said:

As far as who was the visually the best Holmes; the one that resembles Paget’s drawings the most, Arthur Wontner usually gets the vote.

Totally agree with this! (I mean in still photographs.)

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5 hours ago, HerlockSholmes said:

That’s fine Carol no need to apologise. You can’t watch everything. Just out of curiosity which Russian series did you see an episode of? Was it the very recent one or the 1980’s Livanov Holmes?

I'm not sure, but you'll be able to tell me:  It was the one where, when Watson first arrives at Baker Street, he addresses several elderly women in turn as "Mrs. Hudson?" -- only to find that she's actually a sexy younger woman.

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That’s the newer version. It was ok but I thought Watson stole the show. Sadly the actor that played Watson is now dead. He was found lying in his apartment with a head wound. The 1980’s one is certainly worth watching with Vasili Livanov as Holmes. Vitally Solomin who played Watson died of a stroke at 60. It’s not lucky to play Watson in a Russian Holmes series. Livanov is still going strong at 83. Probably the oldest living Holmes actor. 

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2 hours ago, Pamela said:

Totally agree with this! (I mean in still photographs.)

You can still see his Holmes movies on YouTube or buy them cheaply. He made 5 but one is missing. Aptly called The Missing Rembrandt.

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21 minutes ago, HerlockSholmes said:

You can still see his Holmes movies on YouTube or buy them cheaply. He made 5 but one is missing. Aptly called The Missing Rembrandt.

Thanks, I'll make a note of that.

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On ‎4‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 10:59 AM, HerlockSholmes said:

As most posters on here are primarily Sherlock fans I often wonder which other interpretations they might have seen and what they thought of them?

I think I've seen about the same ones Carol mentioned. Of those, I think I liked Young Sherlock the best. Also the Great Mouse Detective (one of my favorites :smile: ) I also remember liking the 7 Percent Solution, although I'm not sure it would hold up now. 

I've never been able to sit through an entire episode of Elementary. I didn't much care for the first RDJ Holmes, but I liked the second one more than I thought I would. Downey's just a really good actor; I keep forgetting that, because he's in so many frothy things. But he's truly fun to watch.

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