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Sherlock Holmes 2009 - New Film and Background

Updated on June 8, 2013

William Sherlock Scott Holmes

Watson and Holmes on the trail.
Watson and Holmes on the trail. | Source

Sherlock Holmes Again!

In 2009, Robert Downey Jr. was cast as the self-instructed detective William Sherlock Scott Holmes, while Jude Law became a new iteration of John Hamish Watson, M.D. for another turn at the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle legacy of mystery in the streets of London.

At the same time, Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) took on the role of Sherlock Holmes and Will Ferrell became Dr. Watson for a comedy version, Somehow, Cohem might be more convincing that Downey Jr.

Beginning some 80 years previously in theaters, Basil Rathbone played Holmes in 14 films from the 1930s and 1940s, which eased the anxieties fo World War II for moviegoers. In fact, some of these films targeted the Nazi regime and pronounced Allied victory over it. This is the Holmes and Watson I have most enjoyed until the latter part of the 20th century brought to us:

Jeremy Brett portrayed the manic-depressive Holmes in a BBC TV series during the 1980s - 1990s until the actor died too soon at age 59. He was himself diagnosed with manic-depression (now bipolar diorder) and advocated for its treatment and awareness of the disroder. This Holmes and Watson were just as charming and engaging that those of WWII vintage and I was aghast at losing them. An then I began to read the original Sherlock Holmes stories and then to find the pastiche genre, some of it very good.

Frank Langella made a remarkably believable Holmes on stage. Today, House M.D. on television is a take on Holmes and Watson and the infernal puzzles they must solve (House - Holmes, Wilson-Watson).

Holmes Back from the Dead - The Empty House/BBC

Basil Rathbone

The Holmes Chroniclers

Every above-average literary and film franchise seesm to have a fanclub and a set of chroniclers. For example, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Sherlock Holmes. Fanzines emerge, written by devoted fans that have something to say about or through the characters of the franchise that they so admire.

Chroniclers fill in backstories and compose timelines that are gobbled up at literary or science fiction conventions and often become quite valuable, The Star Trek Compendium and the Star Trek Chronology first editions are amlong these, to a greater or lesser degree.

The Sherlock Holmes version of this phenomenon is supported by a variety of websites, including the comprehensive

The web portal about the Great Detective: Sherlockian.​Net. --

This website holds more subdivisions than can be described, but one of my favorites is the compliation of vampire related Holmes stores that have emerged that I will detail very briefly below. This does not even include the comic books:

  • The Probability Pad. T.A. Waters. New York: Pyramid Books, 1970. Dracula and some sort of time-warp ala Dr. Who.
  • The Holmes-Dracula File. Fred Saberhagen. New York: Ace Books, 1978. Holmes and Dracula.
  • Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula: The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count. Loren D. Estleman. Doubleday & Co., 1978. Dracula and many of the Doyle characters.
  • The Incredible Umbrella. Marvin Kaye. Doubleday & Co., 1979. Holmes, Moriarty, and Dracula are met by another detective.
  • Dracula’s Diary. Michael Geare & Michael Corby. Beaufort Books, 1982. Baker Street in the pages of the count's diary.
  • The Dracula Caper. Simon Hawke. (No. 8 in the “Time Wars” series.) Ace Books, 1988.
  • Anno Dracula. Kim Newman. Carroll & Graf, 1992. Queen Victoria marries Dracula. Holmes in a concentration camp.
  • A Night in the Lonesome October. Roger Zelazny. AvoNova Books, 1993. Excellent science fiction writer!
  • The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes and the Father of Lies. C.J. Lutton. Baker Street Publishing, 1994.
  • Séance for a Vampire. Fred Saberhagen. Tor Books, 1994. Watson and Dracula work together for good.
  • The Tangled Skein. David Stuart Davies. Calabash Press, 1995.
  • "The Adventure of the Missing Coffin" by Laura Resnick. (In: Sherlock Holmes in Orbit. Mike Resnick & Martin H. Greenberg, eds. Daw Books, 1995.)
  • Mouse and the Master by Brian M. Thomsen. (In: Sherlock Holmes in Orbit. Mike Resnick & Martin H. Greenberg, eds. Daw Books, 1995.)
  • The Vampire Serpent: Sherlock Holmes’ Tales of Terror #3. Kel Richards. Beacon Books, 1997.
  • “Places for Act Two!” by Bradley H. Sinor. (In: Dracula in London. P.N. Elrod, ed. Ace Books, 2004.)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Longacre Vampire. Val Andrews. Breese Books, 2001.
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula. Stephen Seitz. Mountainside Press, 2006. Holmes and Watson battle Count Dracula. Mrs. Watson and Holmes are in danger. NOTE: This is my favorite of the group and is one that could bring back a whole new series of Holmes and Watson mysteries for the 21st century.

The Best Holmes Chronology

SHERLOCK HOLMES OF BAKER STREET

-- W.S. Baring-Gould

William. Baring-Gould was an executive at Time Inc. and a respected Sherlock Holmes investigator and chronicler. The author was one of the most knowledgeable about Sir Arthur Conan Dolye's creations and a scholarly writer, rather than a popular author. However, the popular audience enjoyed his chronicles as well. Such works included:

  • The Chronological Holmes, 1948; in the Baker Street Journal.
  • The Chronological Holmes, revised, 1955
  • Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, 1962
  • The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, 1967
  • Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street, 1969

It is Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street that I have recently found in an antque bookstore, read, and enjoyed. When some writers set out to create a backstory or to chronicle a character set, they do it half way, leaving gaps and errors. However, Baring-Gould was conscientious and detailed from beginning to end.

This book contains additional scenes for the famous Doyle stories, along with footnotes, references, and a complete chronology and timeline in the back of the book that extends from 1944 through January 6, 1957 - both Holmes' birthday and the date of his death. Sherlock Holmes was then 103 years old.

The book is extraordinary. It is researched more thoroughly than many writers weould even imagine so to do, except for certain futurists and sci-fi fans.  

Baring-Gould Innovations

The author added these events to the Holmes canon and other writers and readers accepted them:

  • Holmes travellied through Europe as a child.
  • James Moriarty had been his mathematics tutor, but gave up trying to teach him anything early on.
  • Holmes toured America as an actor in his early 20s.
  • Mycroft Holmes was joined by a third brother, Sherrinford (found in Doyle's earliest notes for A Study in Scarlet).
  • Watson went to the aid of a brother in San Francisco, set up a medical practice and married Constance Adams (from Doyle's unpublished play "Angels of Darkness").
  • Jack the Ripper was very close to Holmes.
  • Mycroft Holmes was the top leader of British Intelligence.
  • A famous American consulting detective is the child of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler.
  • Holmes lived to 103 by consuming "royal jelly" from the bees he raised in his Sussex retirement.

The Annotated Sherlock Holmes of 1967 would be the only one of the author's books that could be better than this one.

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    • Misterlak profile image

      Misterlak 

      8 years ago

      Good information! x

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for your insights, someonewhoknows. I think many people wish Holmes to be real.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 

      9 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Sherlock Holmes always reminds me of the inscrutible saying - "if a tree falls in the forest and their is no one there to hear it fall, does it make any noise."The answer of course is yes.That would be like saying if there is no one in a room to sit on a chair or lye down in a bed that they have no purpose.Or if someone wrote a hubpage and no one came to read it,means it has no meaning.

      There is reality in fiction and fiction in reality,the difference is fiction mimics reality.Reality cannot mimic fiction only prove it to be true rather than fiction.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      The Lastrade book I picked up is in the middle somewhere, so I think you can start anywhere.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Okay I'm excited now! Thank goodness they're making a comeback. I'm gong to have to check out that Trow series! Sounds exciting. Do you need to start at the first one? Or does it matter? I'm loving the Detective agency books and LOVING them!

      By the way, the second video on this is no longer available (I hate that when that happens!) so I thought I'd pass that along so you could replace it.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Larry, thanks for suggesting the Scott movie - I hadn't realized it was about Holmes. It sounds like quite a film to enjoy! I hope you continue to derive many hours of pleasure from Holmes, Watson and all the rest.

      Cheers!

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 

      9 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Patty...Thank you for this refreshing and interesting Hub on Sherlock...I started reading Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories when I was 9 or 10 years old...great escapism, full of characters from all over Europe... My favorite Holmes story is " The Man with the twisted lip "...It is unique because there's no villain and no crime was committed...

      For a real treat get the film " They might be Giants " with George C Scott as a delusional Holmes and Joanne Woodward as his psychiatric Doctor Watson in a Quixotic romp chasing an imaginary Moriarty in New York City...A totally unexpected collaboration between the two...

      Thanks again for stirring up forgotten memories....Larry

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I feel the same way, Frieda! Even more Holmesian books and films are on the way. I've a new book to review as soon as I receive/read it. In addition, I've discovered the Lestrade mystery series by MJ Trow - I was so engrossed that I stayed at the store until closing time without realizing it, and bought the book. It's not new, but new to me. What fun!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      You're kidding me! Where have I been?! Fantastic! I'm so excited. I don't know what to do with myself now. Oh wow thanks for writing this. I'm a major fan of mysteries, especially Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Marple, Midsommer Murders, etc. etc. so this is so up my ally. Thanks again Patty.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Great abotu House, isn't it? - Students are doing papers about it as we speak :)

    • MtnMan56 profile image

      MtnMan56 

      9 years ago

      Awesome hub! Great research and writing.The pasr about House MD intrigues me.Thanks!

    • Netters profile image

      Netters 

      9 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

      I love the old Sherlock Holmes movies. Thanks Patty! Great hub.

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Great information thanks. I haven't seen the new film yet but want to!

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