Sherlock Holmes Releases Today on DVD!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, gets an update with this adaptation of  Lionel Wigram’s comic book series by writer/director Guy Ritchie (RocknRolla) starring Robert Downey Jr., with Jude Law as a much younger, slimmer and much more appealing Dr. Watson. The supporting cast includes  RocknRolla’s Mark Strong as the film’s villain, Blackwood, and Rachel McAdams as  love interest, Irene Adler.
Though many have critisized the film for veering widely from Conan Doyle’s idea of the taciturn detective, Robert Downey, Jr. won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.
Rumour also has it that the costumes are incredible. Jenny Beavan, the Oscar-winning costume designer of “A Room With a View,” spoke to Vanity Fair about how she shied away from relying upon Holmes’s iconic props – the deerstalker, the pipe – when dreaming up costumes for Sherlock Holmes. In part Beavan said, “The whole thing about the perception of Sherlock Holmes as played by Basil Rathbone and many other great actors, it comes from a Sidney Paget illustration in the The Strand magazine. Conan Doyle published his stories weekly in a magazine, they were illustrated, and then Basil Rathbone adopted the deerstalker and the pipe and all that. It’s never in the Conan Doyle [books]. So, in fact, we weren’t taking any liberates at all–we were simply doing our version. The other was never Conan Doyle’s version; he never described any of that clothing. From [a sartorial] point of view, if you actually read the stories, it’s very all over the place.”

As to the sets, Visit Britian’s website includes a Sherlock Holmes itinerary that offers details about the movie’s key locations throughout the UK, as well as a slideshow of those spots with both day and night views. I can only hope the scenery is as spot on and atmospheric as it was in the Johnny Depp version of Sweeney Todd. Cor, but whennat ship drawed up ta them docks in the beginnin’, Oy didn’t half fink I were in Lunnon!

To learn more about the making of the film, click here.

To watch a movie trailer or play the Sherlock Holmes game on Facebook, click here.

And finally, here’s the new Sherlock Holmes/Robert Downey, Jr. figure unveiled at Madame Tussaud’s this past December.

Have you seen the film? Please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of Downey, Law, the costumes, the sets and the 21st century version of Sherlock Holmes. Gad, I love that suit. There’s just something about a standing collar and a cravat I can’t resist.


“Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty ”

Now that the Academy Awards are over and one of my favorite movies was shut out (and only nominated in one category), I want to alert everyone to see Bright Star, a lovely film directed by Jane Campion (The Piano, 1993). I know it’s not research, but we all love to watch movies. And there have been some very good ones lately – meaning in the last couple of years, such as The Duchess, and The Young Victoria (which did win one Oscar). Bright Star is the name of a poem John Keats (1795-1821) wrote to his true love, Fanny Brawne. Any lover of England, poetry, fashion, or film should adore it, though the ending is sad. And it has not a single explosion (except of emotion), not a vampire nor avatar, not a chase scene, no shooting, and no noisy soundtrack. It is beautiful and true.
The stars, Ben Whishaw as Keats and Abbie Cornish as Fanny, are excellent, as is Paul Schneider as Keats’ friend and mentor Charles Brown. The whole cast measures up admirably.

Although I am far from an expert on Keats, I found the film quite moving. And historically accurate, with beautiful settings and costumes. Except for one thing. As a good friend remarked, why didn’t they film it at the actual house where it all happened in Hampstead, just north of London? I visited the Keats House years ago and it is a treat! Here is the real house that Keats and Fanny’s family lived in.
But, there must have been a good reason the producers used a different house, far from the congestion of Greater London. In Keats’ time, Hampstead would have been quite rural.
Perhaps we research nuts are too picky!! The Hyde, Bedfordshire, right, is where Bright Star
was filmed instead.
Bright Star was nominated for the coveted Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival; its only Oscar nomination was for costume design. It has won several other awards and was nominated for many more, but it is a quiet and intelligent film, not the kind of flashy star-studded production that pushes Hollywood’s buttons and pulls in millions at the box office. But don’t miss it.            Victoria