A Holmes by any other name

20 Feb

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As I’ve said, it’s interesting to compare Holmes as he is portrayed in different media. Most versions (that I’ve encountered, anyway) seem to capture the confident, aloof, intellectual Holmes. Opinion seems more divided on the morose, introspective, troubled Holmes; he remarks to Watson in one of these stories that he is his only friend. He seems almost bipolar: at times sitting catatonic, curled in his armchair or hiding under his hat, deep in thought; at others, filled with what Watson (as the narrator) describes as the thrill of the chase, he is full of vim and vigour, eyes bright and tail bushy. Er… if he had a tail.

Robert Downey Jr. turns him into a superhero. I haven’t had a chance to see Benedict Cumberbatch, but he allegedly gives a fairly accurate modernised portrayal. Basil the Great Mouse Detective focuses on the manic phase.

Hugh Laurie (as House, MD) seems to capture the dichotomy, with the added twist of misanthropy. He certainly captures the feeling that Holmes understands people and knows how to get them to react the way he wants, but because/in spite of this he can’t really relate to them on a personal level.

Woah, heavy note to finish on: Sherlock Holmes is a psychopath.

Well, no, not really. He’s more like Dumbledore: a manipulative so-and-so, but uses his powers for good, and does actually care about people. He just believes he knows better than everyone else, and that they won’t do the right thing if he – oh, I don’t know – told them what was going on.

</rant> 😉


Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


4 responses to “A Holmes by any other name

  1. rainymondaymorning

    February 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Yay! You still exist!

    And I agree with your points – I enjoyed Robert Downey Jr’s portrayel, though that was mainly because it was Robert Downey Jr (and having Jude Law tagging along didn’t hurt either). From what I’ve read of Sherlock Holmes, I think Benedict Cumberbatch has done the best job that I’ve seen. And your link between Holmes and House is very valid – it would be interesting to see Laurie take on Holmes. Or maybe if Holmes and House were on the same case and see who could solve it first…

    • knightowl

      February 22, 2011 at 8:34 am

      In a sense, House is Holmes, but it would be cool to see an “old-timey” episode where he plays somewhat closer to the original.

  2. Tom

    March 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Benedict definitely comes at it from the House side of things — the misanthropy is full force. But he’s awesome.

    I have the series if you would like to see it.

    • knightowl

      March 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm

      If I could borrow it off you, that would be cool, thanks!


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