Jeremy Brett, definitive Sherlock Holmes

Jeremy Brett as the definitive Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes. The name alone (for those whom are aware of it) typically strikes up such words as "mystery," "murder," investigations," and even "daft geek" for those like me whom are contributingly-fanatical, and "I have a tendency to overreact a little, and am often guilty of flippancy" amidst these sorts of things (eg: Pink Floyd, Mary Shelley, Poetry and "Language" in general, &c. --); a bit of a dogmatic-mushroom that grows out of my eyesockets -- the kind that one can step on, exploding plumes of smoke arising about the air afterwards. Perhaps I may be guilty of over-dramaticism, as well, admittedly operant and a bit woundy, but even sometimes the Sharpie "runs out" and becomes like a dormant, dead, clanging watch. In the wafture of my lingering interests, I often find myself in a bit of "dumb amazement," vailing amidst it all like some triumphant zephyr floating away in a roar of ustulation.

Thanks to Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, I've been a regular vignetting aligned in such a masterful collection of delicious tales. I recall the memory of reading my first Sherlock Holmes adventure ("A Case of Identity," I believe it was) and was rather decorum'd with a strangehold of such eccentric-wit and mystique that I haven't turned back since. I discovered The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes "years ago" (which seems like a repetitive phrase in my reach), or, perhaps I shall say that I was "introduced" to it by my wondrously-entertaining uncle, who had been watching the series since the '80's when it originally began airing. I was awe-stucken from the initial beginning with Jeremy Brett's portrayals as the-one-and-only. As one reviewer aptly and gorgeously put it, "Nothing before or since quite matches Brett's mercurial portrayal. It is exquisite. Not only is it the best representation of Holmes, but one of the most consistently mesmerising performances by any actor on any television production. Brett's diction perfectly suits Holmes's precise, logical mind; each word is said so perfectly that we are spoiled by eloquence and we hang on every word, the modulation that suddenly lifts to emphasise one word over another, to make revelations about an investigation or to reach into Holmes's melancholy." And further, "Under Brett, Holmes is arrogant, sly, misanthropic, pondering, but also vulnerable, empathetic and fragile. It is a human Holmes, but one still tantalisingly removed from most of us in his genius for linking disparate clues — ash in an ashtray here, a footprint there — to solve a mystery. It is this ability to hold together all the contradictions native to Sherlock Holmes that makes Brett's portrayal so compelling."

One of my favorite episodes has to be the "The Devil's Foot"; a particular adventuring quip of psychedelic-madness and bizarre events that provides one of the most memorable scenes of the entire show, in my opinion (though only lasting a little over one minute, but well-worth the waiting rabbit's tap) where Holmes begins hallucinating ("In the Granada Television version starring Jeremy Brett, a sequence is added showing Holmes burying his cocaine syringe in the sand during a walk on the beach. Apparently Jeremy Brett had become concerned about his character's drug habit, sought and received permission from Conan Doyle's heirs to have Holmes give up the habit. Also, the Granada version shows Holmes' hallucinations when exposed to the Devil's Foot poison. Holmes has visions of his parents and of Professor Moriarty in this sequence before being brought back to reality by Watson. When Holmes is reveived he calls Dr Watson by his first name "John.""). Naturally, every episode is worth viewing; I tend to want the entire DVD set, but right now the Presidents on the bills of U.S. dollars all mock me with the most insane of laughter, and considering that the "list is never-ending," I have a backlog of cracking walls waiting for a sandbag or two, so time will only tell. Luckily the shows are still televised.

(Other interesting information to note: The phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson" is often abstractly-attributed to Sherlock Holmes. However, nowhere in any of Doyle's books does Sherlock Holmes ever utter these oft-quoted words. As studied, the closest that Mr. Holmes comes to speaking these particular words is in the story "The Crooked Man," where, in the story, Dr. Watson [Holmes' former assistant, of course] has married and no longer lives with Sherlock at his flat at 221B Baker Street, London. When Holmes calls on Watson to ask for his help in solving a mystery, he makes a few deductions about his old friend. He observes, for example, that Watson still smokes the same pipe tobacco [from observing the ash on his coat] and that he is very busy. Watson then asks how Holmes knows this [which you think he would know better to ask such a silly question; this is Sherlock!] in which Holmes replies that Watson takes a hansom cab when he is busy and walks when he is not. Watson's boots are dusty enough to have been outdoors, but not dusty enough to have been out walking. Therefore, Holmes says, he must have taken a ransom. Therefore, he must be busy. "Excellent!" blurts Watson. "Elementary," says Holmes.)

Jeremy Brett, Sherlock Holmes

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