Rode the tour omnibus back to Baker St. with Sherlock Peoria (OK, yes, I follow that blog! There, I came out of the closet and admitted it.) and found us comfortably ensconced back near the fireplace at 221b.
I sat down last night and watched the opening segments of Granada's adaption of Hound and came away very disappointed.
I am a Brett fan, and will always wish he had remained healthy enough, and enthusiastic enough to do all 60 stories in a way respectful to the Canon.
Hound by Granada is a very good example, during the opening segments, of good material given to a bad screen writer. While trying to capture almost four chapters from the Hound in one fairly short opening segment, it failed to deliver any of the Gothic atmosphere, history or suspense captured so well by Doyle.
Many of the great lines from the Canon are either painfully abridged or aborted all together.
The deduction and observations by Holmes are almost completely over looked and left out, sadly.
The examining of the historic document and telling of the tale is almost as an after thought to the whole introduction.
For me, in the Canon, these opening couple of chapters of Hound are everything we want from Holmes and Watson when they are in residence at 221b. We are invited into the sitting room to share in the observations by Holmes and the missed observations by Watson, with the sometimes humorous repartee between the two over these observations. We are also, usually, given images of the atmosphere and accouterments of 221b.
Luckily by the time Granada and Brett got to Hound we had become comfortable enough in their 221b that we were still mentally fill in what was lacking in photography. But even with that, the cinematography of that episode wasted the visual atmosphere of the location.
As Sherlock Peoria so correctly stated in his review of Chapter Three, Watson uses very few lines to describe to postures, movements,the tension or mood of it's inhabitants. We have to supply those images from our memories and imagination. Or rely on a faithful adaption of at. And Granada did not do that in this case.
I think I will continue to watch the Granada version while we ride the tour omnibus and see how the rest comes together.
With that said.
SP (Sherlock Peoria) also made a fine statement a few days ago about the perceived ages of Holmes and Watson at the time of the Hound and how cinematic portrayals can determine, for good or bad, our perception of the ages of Holmes and Watson at this times.
If we agree with the commonly excepted date of 1854 as being the year Holmes was born, it would make him about 35 years old at the time of Hound. (Depending of course, as James points out, when you place the occurrence of the story.) Not real young, but not old either. It could be argued that 35 in the Victorian age could be considered middle age. But one would not necessarily have to appear middle age or old.
The Rathbone version of Hound is sometime criticized for not so much being a Holmes story as an attempt at a love story with Holmes in it.
And although Brett had some good scenes in Hound, it was not his best work.
Where is this going you probably started asking about a half hour ago.
Carefully re-read, again, the dialog that takes place in these first few chapters of Hound, especially as they take place between Mortimer and Holmes.
And then imagine Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman delivering them.
The 'Sherlock' adaption of Hound, which is my favorite story, was a very big disappointment to me, and the waste of a great opportunity. I don't know how the story could have been done set in 2011, but I don't think how it was done was the right approach. But than can be argued another time.
My point is, if you imagine Benedict and Martin doing those lines in those first couple of chapters as we have come see them as Holmes and Watson, flamboyant and reserved, respectfully, I think we would have had one of the best opening episodes of a Holmes story yet. The humor and surprise and emotion would definitely come out.
So perhaps with all that said, we could consider these three adaptions as missed opportunities.
At least that is my take.
Of the three, the Rathbone one is my favorite.
Well, I better go get back on the omnibus before the tour leaves without me.
"Hey, B.K.! Wait up. I'm coming!"