Who is the man with the magnifying glass who captured our attention so long ago and has kept it ever since? This man, a genius yet who didn’t pay attention to some of the most commonplace details around him. A fictional character, a myth, an icon, a legend, and more.
Elementary, my dear. Well of course, it’s Sherlock Holmes.
Arthur Conan Doyle, himself a doctor and the creator of Holmes, created this world-wide known “consulting detective” in the late 1800’s. Both Doyle and Holmes, and naturally Mr. Watson, have become household names throughout the decades since.
Furthermore, who are the actors behind these characters, some who have portayed them so brilliantly?
Played by many actors in both film and theater, it is said that Holmes is not an easy character to play. A mystery himself, he’s intriguing and charming and yet aloof oftentimes. Of all the actors who have portrayed the famous detective, my personal favorite is Jeremy Brett. He brought good looks and acting genius, as well as humor to the role, and created a multi-dimensional character of the famous sleuth. With the help of Edward Hardwicke and David Burke (both who played Watson and both themselves superb actors), the two challenge seekers of Holmes and Watson made their way into many chateaus and hearts. The Granada series of Sherlock Holmes is reportedly closely based on the books by Conan Doyle, giving an extra layer of authenticity to the roles and cases to be solved.
If you watch the Granada series, you’ll no doubt become fascinated by Jeremy Brett. He was a classical actor, trained under the great Sir Laurence Olivier; Brett was a talented singer, and one who struggled with personal challenges throughout the filming of Holmes, perhaps longer, although the diagnosis (manic depression, or Bipolar disease) did not come until later years, as far as I have read. He had additional health problems, as well, and was a constant smoker.
Brett’s performance is uncompromised by his ailing health, however, in the latter years of the production, yet some would dispute this. Personally, I see his performance as of great effort by the actor to his craft.
If you are interested in watching Sherlock Holmes mysteries, I highly recommend the Granada Series, which was in production from the ’80s to the ’90s, the series and a few full-length movies, such as, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” They are available through Amazon, YouTube, DVD collections, and more.
If you are interested in Jeremy Brett, he played many other roles, in addition to Holmes, and I would say they are worth watching, although some I do like better than others. He did a version of, “Rebecca,” which is chilling, and he did the delightful, “My Fair Lady,” with Audrey Hepburn. In the operetta, “The Merry Widow,” you can watch his singing performances, which are very enjoyable. Another notable role was playing the writer and poet Robert Browning in “The Barretts of Wimpole Street.”
The world lost a great actor in 1995 when Jeremy Brett died however he left an outstanding film legacy and a portrayal of Sherlock Holmes—one not to be forgotten.
And that is no mystery.