Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I must have missed this. . .


On 25 January 2012, Luke Williamson announced on his father's official web site that Nicol Williamson had died on 16 December 2011, aged 75, after a two-year struggle with esophageal cancer.[9] The news was released late as the actor did not want any fuss to be made over his death. According to Luke, Nicol Williamson died peacefully.

I know I didn't appreciate his Holmes till seeing it many years after I first watched it.

Nicol Willaimson as Holmes.


The Holmes Behind the Modern Sherlock

Shout! Factory
In “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” (1976), Nicol Williamson, center, embodied the Sherlock Holmes reimagined by Nicholas Meyer.

We’re lousy with Sherlock Holmeses right now: the Robert Downey Jr. version on the big screen, the competing television interpretations of Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) and Jonny Lee Miller (“Elementary”) and all the Holmes-inspired geniuses in current and recent TV shows like “The Mentalist,” “Psych,” “House” and “Monk.” So “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” released this week in a new Blu-ray and DVD package, enters a crowded market.

Shout! Factory
From left, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin and Nicol Williamson in “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” directed by Herbert Ross.
But its Sherlock deserves special consideration because he’s the father of all those modern Holmeses. Besides being a clever comic mystery with an absurdly talented cast, this 1976 film — based on Nicholas Meyer’s playful novel imagining the meeting of two great Victorian detectives, one of whom is Sigmund Freud — established the template for all the twitchy, paranoid, vulnerable, strung-out Holmeses to come.
It may be hard to countenance now, but for much of the 20th century there was just one Sherlock Holmes on screen: the hawk-nosed British actor Basil Rathbone, whose Shakespearean elocution and commanding physical presence defined the English-speaking world’s most famous detective in 14 movies in the 1930s and ’40s.
The Rathbone Holmes, familiar to generations of late-night TV viewers, could be energetic and impetuous, but he was decidedly rational, and his behavior was always in bounds — there was not much evidence of the Bohemianism and eccentricity the character exhibited in Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. Humor in the films was supplied by Nigel Bruce’s clueless Doctor Watson, a lovable buffoon who was always bewildered by the case at hand.
In his novel and his screenplay, Mr. Meyer reacted against the Rathbone films’ ossified notions of Holmes and Watson, giving the story a postmodern spin while in some ways returning the characters to their Conan Doyle roots. “ ‘The Seven-Per-Cent Solution’ is not a Sherlock Holmes movie,” he says in an interview included with the new release (Shout! Factory, two discs, $26.99). “It’s a movie about Sherlock Holmes. That’s different.”
The main difference, of course, was Mr. Meyer’s inspired idea of having the fictional Holmes (Nicol Williamson) work on a case with Freud (Alan Arkin), an encounter that takes place in the chronologically plausible year of 1891. To bring about their meeting, Mr. Meyer took a detail from Holmes’s background — his habitual use of cocaine, legally available in Victorian England — and made it the engine of the story, having Watson transport the hallucinating Holmes to Vienna in the hope that Freud, a fellow user, can work a cure.
It was that decision that propelled Holmes into the modern world, making him the model for today’s variously troubled Sherlocks, as well as an early example of the recovery-story hero. Williamson carried out this radical refashioning in a performance that was simultaneously manic and starched, marvelously comic but rooted in real pain.
“This is a movie about the inside of this man’s character and how he got to be who and what he is,” Mr. Meyer says in the interview. “You’re not meeting Holmes in a normal, high-functioning, operational mode.”
His intuition that a flawed Holmes would have comic appeal is signaled in a line barked by Freud, when the psychiatrist and the detective argue over who is to blame for a bad turn in the case: “What is this egocentric streak of melodrama that does not allow anyone to share in your triumphs or disasters?”
Tracing the history of the detective as hero is not the only reason to watch “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” which holds up quite well as entertainment; as directed by Herbert Ross, it’s a deft and unusual mix of light comedy and globe-trotting caper. It supplies the expected satisfactions of instantaneous deduction, cultured repartee between Holmes and Freud and allusions to Conan Doyle’s work, as well as a long and exhilarating chase across the European countryside involving real steam locomotives.
Mr. Meyer’s story, which would now be called meta, is couched as an alternate explanation for the period between Holmes’s supposed death at the hands of James Moriarty (recounted in Conan Doyle’s “Final Problem”) and his resurrection (in “The Adventure of the Empty House”). The hiatus that begins with Holmes’s drying out extends into a case involving a pasha, a baron and a redheaded temptress, during which Holmes instructs Freud in the mechanics of detection and gives him some ideas about the meaning of dreams.
The redhead is played by Vanessa Redgrave, one of the adornments of a supporting cast that includes Laurence Olivier as a drolly timorous Moriarty and, most surprisingly, Robert Duvall as a steadfast, levelheaded Watson, written by Mr. Meyer in conscious rebellion against the Nigel Bruce portrayal.
By the end of “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” Mr. Meyer’s Holmes has diverged from his descendants in one important way: having done time with Freud and saved Europe from war, he is well adjusted and ready to face the world. For the current crop of Holmeses, dependent on future TV seasons or movie sequels, that kind of recovery is a nonstarter.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

As if he isn't busy enough. . ..

Sherlock Holmes to play Assange in WikiLeaks movie

In a poetic touch, Benedict Cumberbatch, a TV Sherlock, will play Julian Assange in "The Fifth Estate," a DreamWorks Movie about the good ship WikiLeaks and all who sailed in her.

Benedict Cumberbatch (left) as a young Assange with more hair.
(Credit: Frank Connor/DreamWorks)
It can't be easy to create a movie in which the hero is seen by some as the villain.
Yet that is the difficult task for the production team behind "The Fifth Estate," a movie whose filming has already begun.
This DreamWorks opus traces the rises, falls, and drips of pathos surrounding Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks enterprise.
The Associated Press reveals that Assange will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch, one of the many who have impersonated Sherlock Holmes on film.
Cumberbatch is quite posh, so he should quite easily be able to express that touch of superiority that Assange often delivers.
The movie isn't an everyday expose of Assange's life confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Instead, it focuses on the excitements around WikiLeaks' creation and the effect it had on contemporary society. It is told through the eyes of Daniel Domscheit-Berg, an early Assange colleague. He will be played by Daniel Bruhl, who was in "Inglourious Basterds."
The movie isn't an everyday expose of Assange's life confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Director Bill Condon is well-versed in the biting nature of a movie's subject matter, having previously directed "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn."
He insisted to the AP that this movie would simply "explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age."
Assange seems to be a more fertile subject for filmmakers than even Steve Jobs. While two Jobs movies are currently in some stage of creation, there are apparently three Assange films in the making.
This one is due out in November -- which, sadly, may be sooner than Assange himself is.

credit where credit is due.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The reviews are in Episode #12 Elementary- Missed Opportunity.

Was 'M' going to be Moriarty or someone else. I think that was the big question going into this weeks episode.
And I also think a collective sigh of relief went out from the Sherlockian world that 'M' did not turn out to be Moriarty.
So with the relief we felt that this ex-football player is not going to be the cerebral Moriarty what else good came out of this episode?

Not much I'm afraid.
I did not come up with a whole lot of canonical references, and I am looking forward to reading some other blogs to see what I missed.
But here are the few I caught.
There was of course the many references to bee's.
The hook hanging someone up could be from RESI. But the story did not explain why 'M' was killing his victims.
'M' being ex-military.
The use of irregulars.
A reference to fees charged for work. In this case, Watson's fee for working with Sherlock.
The baton use on 'M' could refer to Holmes' ability in single-stick.
Holmes' being judge and jury, although rather extreme in this case.
His knowledge of anatomy.

I hope there are more that I missed. (I'm going to check buddy2blogger here in a min. to see if he caught more.)

The acting was very good in this episode. And I like the fact that 'Watson' came up with her own reasons for staying.

I still don't get the need for a hooker in each episode.

Now, what went wrong.
This story introducing 'M' could have been such a great story line. But instead of following a deductive path to first 'M' and then his connection to Moriarty we find that all this is really Moriarty's doing and Sherlock has deduced nothing to get to any conclusions.
He did not really discover 'M', and he sure didn't find the connection to Moriarty. Both were given to him. So much could have been done with Sherlock following leads to discover 'M' was only an instrument in Moriarty's larger plan.
The story is getting a little to caught up with why Holmes and Watson are the way they are and not good interesting cases.

This time I give the story only

because I think it's heart is in the right place, but not the writing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have not seen episode #12 yet. . .

so I am not reading anyone else's opinion's till I do, and then I will get back to ya.
I know, I know. . . you can hardly wait.

I really wanted to like it. . . .but

The premise was good, and the promise also.
'A last conversation between Holmes and Watson about life together and all they shared.'

After the first few pages I was hoping the book would end quickly.
To much back and forth about mistreatment's and behaviors, habits and contradictions, only to be dismissed with an, "Sorry I treated you that way, but I do respect you in the end." or "After all these years I forgive you, but why did you treat me like that."

You could tell that the book was about making amends and saying things that should have been said long before. And I don't think these two men would have left it this long.

Where the book should have shown brevity it didn't and where it shouldn't it did. 
Mr Ruffle fell into the same trap many do trying to write Doyle, who could say so much with so few words;  trying to out Doyle, Doyle.

Mr. Ruffle was trying to make a mystery about the individuals involved in the conversation, but for me it did not work. And until the very end, the minor characters, and their story,  were pointless.

The book did get better about two thirds of the way in, but never reached what it could have.
The ending did show a great deal of sensitivity, but to much was left for the reader to decide, and since he left no such ambiguity about his conclusions else where in the book, it did not work for me at the end.

Rarely do I wish that I had not gotten a hard copy of a Sherlock Holmes book for my collection, but I am glad I just got this in the  kindle one.

David Ruffle is a talented writer, and you can tell he loves his subject and has respect for the material.

I will read another of his books, hoping for better, but again, will buy it in Kindle.

I give the book; 

, because of the respect Mr Ruffle shows in his writing for Holmes and Watson.

Give me Holmes in the Sussex Downs and Watson coming to visit.

Just my opinion.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

And 'Sherlock's' reviews, same source. . .

Season One.

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars

Season Two

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

This is how 'Elementary' is doing in Amazon reviews. . .

The Science of Sherlock Holmes

The science of Sherlock Holmes

Jonathon Keats, contributor
(Image: Everett Collection/Rex)
The ace detective continues to enthrall us, as two new books, The Scientific Sherlock Holmesby James O'Brien and Mastermind by Maria Konnikova, show
THE death of Sherlock Holmes, as related in the December 1893 issue of The Strand Magazine, was met with sadness and fury. Fans wore black armbands to mourn their favourite detective, thrown from a cliff in mortal combat. They also sent scathing letters to Arthur Conan Doyle, who had written off Holmes to concentrate on more "serious" fiction.
A decade of literary failure persuaded the author to admit his error, averring that Holmes had actually survived. He would appear in 33 more stories by the time Conan Doyle died in 1930, but even that misfortune didn't mean the end for Holmes. Most recently he has been the subject of two TV series set in the present day: Sherlock, from the BBC, and Elementary, produced by CBS.
Two new books also capitalise on his undying fame, and suggest reasons for his appeal across genres and generations. In The Scientific Sherlock Holmes, chemist James O'Brien presents him as a pioneering forensic scientist. In Mastermind, psychologist Maria Konnikova poses him as a master of mindfulness. While each book has serious flaws, together they offer some valuable insights into the Sherlock Holmes phenomenon, and how it relates to the rise of popular science.
In Conan Doyle's opinion, science was what set Holmes apart from other fictional detectives, who typically solved crimes by chance. The author, who had trained as a physician, boasted of giving Holmes "an immense fund of exact knowledge". The majority of O'Brien's book is an assessment of whether this knowledge really was immense and exact, and how much of it is still accurate.
Holmes fares better here than in past appraisals, notably Isaac Asimov's 1980 claim that he was a "blundering chemist". O'Brien shows that he had a surprisingly advanced understanding of certain chemicals, such as barium bisulphate, which many turn-of-the-century chemists didn't believe existed, and that his famous test for blood, by detecting haemoglobin, was perfectly viable.
He also shows that Holmes was on the cutting edge of forensic techniques, from fingerprinting to tracking criminals with dogs. The first Holmes story involving fingerprints dates to 1903, two years before they were first successfully used by the police. His first story to employ a tracking dog dates to 1890, 13 years before they became popular with real-life investigators.
All of this would be little more than literary trivia were it not for another observation made by O'Brien. Conan Doyle's interest in science waned with age, as he embraced spiritualism. While he never imposed these beliefs on Holmes, the later stories contain far less science than the earlier ones. O'Brien finds that 60 per cent of the forensic science takes place in the first half of the Holmes canon, and that every story in which he performs chemical experiments predates 1904. He overlays this with reader polls that have overwhelmingly favoured the earlier stories, and concludes that the correlation between scientific content and reader interest is "surely no coincidence".
Though his certainty seems overstated, O'Brien is persuasive when he says that science gives the stories a sense of plausibility and an authenticity that prior detective fiction lacked. Conan Doyle's fiction appropriates the authority of Victorian science; Holmes's forensic investigations allow readers to vicariously experience his scientific achievements in a setting more thrilling than a university laboratory. He is the Ernest Rutherford of crime, pursuing murderers instead of protons.
Of course forensic techniques are only part of the equation. Holmes applies the scientific method to everything he encounters, surmising where people have been and what they have done by logical deduction. His astonishing insights, and how he achieves them, are the subject of Mastermind.
"I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic," Holmes tells Watson in the very first story, "and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose." This quaint analogy "may not be far from the truth", Konnikova says. By her 21st-century interpretation, the hippocampus is the entryway, where information is initially placed, and long-term storage is achieved by the process of consolidation. Part of what makes Holmes so good at what he does is that he is scrupulous about what he lets into his attic and how he organises it. His talent for deduction derives from keen observation combined with a memory primed to associate fresh input with prior knowledge.
Half of Konnikova's task is to describe his thought processes in terms of present-day psychology. The other half is a primer on how to employ Holmes's techniques yourself. To attain his power of observation, for instance, requires the sort of focus you can practise through meditation. To reason as effectively as he does requires that you be aware of your biases.
If all of this sounds vague, it's because Konnikova is seldom specific. Whereas O'Brien tends to get lost in details and to run off on tangents, Konnikova offers only the quickest gloss on complex issues in neuroscience, and dishes out advice that hardly depends on psychology or Holmes. She does make an interesting point when she claims that Holmes is perennially popular because "he makes the most rigorous approach to scientific thinking seem attainable". The very existence of her book shows his appeal as a self-help guru. But surely he also engages us as a man in need of help himself.
That's the line taken in both recent TV programmes. CBS presents Holmes as a recovering drug addict; the BBC as an autistic savant. While each show departs significantly from Conan Doyle's Victorian milieu, they are true to Holmes's "dual nature" (as Watson dubs it): the hyperintelligence and morphine dependence that together make for such a vivid character.
Sherlock Holmes is a work in progress. We may be fascinated by the forensics and impressed with his deductive reasoning, but it's the detective's vulnerability that moves each generation to cast him in their own image.
Jonathon Keats's new book Forged: Why fakes are the great art of our age will be released this month

Midwest Sherlockian dies

Bob Burr of Peoria Il died last night.

I will get more details as they come in.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ode to Nicholas Rowe. . .

This week I was able to watch, once again, 'Young Sherlock Holmes' thanks to Amazon Prime.

Although a fun film, it was hardly remarkable, only receiving Oscar nods in a technical category.

It's biggest fault is that after a pretty good start, it fell into a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' like story arc.

The sets were wonderful, CGI groundbreaking and the cast was acceptable.

The writer went on to do great things with Harry Potter, and the director has gone on to do many good movies.
All three lead actors continue to make movies, but have, for the most part, had, well, unremarkable careers.
What I would like to discuss here, and I feel I should discuss something about this movie since my wife was kinda forced to watch it last night, is the portrayal of Holmes by Nicholas Rowe.
Nicholas was 19 at the time the movie came out, having read for the part while still in university.
He had only acted in one movie up till this point.
His build embodied a stature you could imagine Holmes having while young and still in college. He was tall, and had very angular features. He easily had what could be described as a hawk like nose.
He had long dramatic fingers, very violin worthy.
He walked with a certain impatience and he played well an individual that had lots of energy and impatience.
His mannerisms easily pulled off concentration and briskness, and he more than ably delivered his lines.
I think you could have easily pictured him working over test tubes when first introduced to Watson some years later.
As has so often plagued actors who have played Holmes, he was saddled with a weak story and if not bad writing, at least non-canonical.
Alan Cox, the actor chose to play Watson, was expected to play a Watson along the lines of Nigel Bruce's version. And we have all come to know how hard it is for Sherlock to be credible along side that. He was hardly steadfast and reliable.
I think Nicholas Rowe's performance would have been more memorable if he had been given a truer mystery in story and less action adventure, which we had kinda come to expect in the mid-80's.
Next time you have time for a mindless evening, watch it again and see what you think.

Yet another slide show. . . .


Friday, January 4, 2013

And from the same source. . .

Contact Music dropped a bit of a bombshell this week when announcing that Dame Judi Dench has been contacted to play the role of Mrs Hudson for an upcoming TV adaptation of Sherlock Holmes: “The Oscar winner is in talks to portray the super snoop’s loyal employee Mrs. Hudson in a new show based on her journals, called A View From The Landing At 221B Baker Street. The script has been penned by British comedy writer Barry Cryer and his son, Bob, and the pair is adamant the Bond actress is the perfect person for the job. Cryer tells Britain’s Daily Mail, “It’s all at a very early stage but it would be brilliant if Dame Judi were to play Mrs. Hudson. She would be ideal.”

This is interesting. . . and make good use of it!!!

Welcome to in 2013!! Mr Ray Wilcockson started the new year with a bang by announcing that the calendar for the year 1895 is identical to that of 2013, a happy coincidence which I hope to make use of throughout the next 365 days. Observe thecalendar for 1895 below and then compare it to a calendar for 2013 (eg. Vincent Starrett’s birthday, October 26, falls on a Saturday on both calendars). Now all I need to do is find an intact vintage calendar from 1895 and hang it on my wall.  


Without a Clue - Elementary episode #11 - 'Dirty Laundry'

After several weeks of trying to rally the troops in support of this show, 'Dirty Laundry' seems to have taken a swipe at my resolve.

I prepared and watched this episode in hopes of coming up with revelations like the ones I felt I had found in the episode before Christmas.

It very much reminded me of some of the Canonical tales that detractors like to argue that Watson did not write.
I would not fight that argument on this episode.

I could argue, weakly I'm afraid, that this episode was written in such a way as to make it seem that 'Sherlock' handled the case the way he did to allow Watson more involvement as a way of showing her that she wanted to continue working beside and with him.
When I first heard that 'Holmes' was going to offer 'Watson' an apprenticeship to continue to work with him, I though if handled well it could be a good way to handle 'Watson's' remaining. It however was not handled well. And 'Watson' will probably want to leave even more after this one. As will Gregson and Bell.
They need to find a way for Joan to come to this conclusion on her own. And with Holmes acting even more the slob, I feel it will become very hard to find a plausible way to make that happen. (The slob thing I believe is a way of trying to connect to the canonical fact that Holmes' papers and such would be scattered when working on a case. However, missing the point that in personal habits, he was very neat.)

I think 'Holmes' talents were displayed in the least appealing way so far of all the stories.

And I also feel the writers are really hung up on the hooker thing.

I think both actors are still doing great with what they are given, and it is the writers that are letting them down.

I am really reaching to think that this story may reference the Second Stain a little, with the stain being hidden and with it involving international intrigue, but like I said, it is really reaching.

And the fact that 'Holmes' just happened to have the 'magic key' that unlocked the hidden photos was writing facts to help a story you don't know how to get out of. (You can't come up with anything better than invisible ink?? Probably most crime scenes now use UV lights as standard practice.)

Still love the show,
but give this episode only ;