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Cult | News | 22 February 2005

Sherlock Holmes

Review: Jeremy Brett's sleuth reissued on DVD.

Jeremy Brett is brilliant and infuriating, much like Sherlock Holmes himself. He'll captivate you with his barking delivery of an amazing conclusion - then ruin it all by waving his hands like Kate Bush summoning the rain.

Capricious and childish, this vast boxset (41 hours of detection) captures Brett's amazing performance. Annoying he may be, but he's sometimes the only thing worth watching - some episodes are remarkably slow, and the shows without him are desperate things. Like Rathbone before him, you feel you really are watching Sherlock Holmes. Compare Brett to Rupert Everett - who wasn't so much playing Holmes as sulking near him.

Overall, this box-set is an amazing achievement - every episode looks fabulous, and the serious style of storytelling is commendable. There's the added bonus of some surprising cameos (Jude Law! In drag! Phwoar!).

It's only when reading Alan Barnes's marvellous Sherlock Holmes On Screen (we keep on mentioning it for a very good reason) that you realise the chaos these programmes were made in. Brett was increasingly ill, budgets were all over the place, and the show suffered a mortal wound when schedulers tried to reformat it to make it more like Inspector Morse.

The shows have been polished for reissue on DVD, and come with animated leatherette menus. Each disc also includes a bafflingly mis-targeted advert warning Youth against stealing movies from the internet. But hang on - we're not actually doing that. We're middle-aged, and are settling down to watch a cosy old TV show that we've bought. Stop shouting.

Send us your comment now. We'll publish the best on this page.

Susanna Leberman
I love the dark sex appeal that Brett exudes. I love that his Sherlock is a man of the victorian times: powerful, a bit odd, and a bit addicted, after all, England did go to war over opium. This is a smart show that takes its time, relishing the destictive 19th century flavor of mannerisms, dress, relationships between friends, men and women, and various classes of people, such as the street urchines. Watson is also brilliantly played. It all fits so well.

Sairah Hussain
Jeremy Bett is definetly the Sherlock Holmes, he is the classic representation of a classic character and therfore,its difficuly for any other actor to fulfill such a role the way Jeremy Brett did. Remakes cannot outshine the classics.

I really like the version of Holmes by Rubert Everett, his performance is remarkable! The story is so amazing, I am looking forward to see more!

Tim Bailey
Brett, like Hickson, throws down a challenge. To be on a par with their interpretations an actor would have to be very good, very good indeed. To do better will take a genius.

Nol Stephenson
Brett IS Holmes. Nobody else comes close. Brett is to Holmes what DeNiro is to Neil McCauley.

Jeremy Brett made Sherlock Holmes his own in this box set. A keen fan of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Brett's portrayal of the great detective is the benchmark for all others. The methodology the man has applied to create the balance of logic & emotion that the character offers, to this day, remains unsurpassed.

Vicki Allardice
His performance has gone too long underrated and unacknowledged. Jeremy Brett was THE Sherlock Holmes
I hope this comes to the States. I really want this set. Right now, these individual episodes are scattered all over the place (NEVER all in one store!) and can be difficult to track down. A box set of EVERYTHING is worth having!

Craig Fisher
I love jeremey Brett's take on Sherlock Holmes, so much more in keeping with the manic character from the books than the almost Spocklike logic freak everyone seems to think of. I'll be getting this set.

Marc Hocking
I originally purchased these in a series by series format issued only by HMV released by Cinema Collection. They are terrific. None were slow, and all fantastic. Jeremy Brett was the only actor to have pulled the character off, and no-one else has since except, perhaps, Ian Richardson in his role as Dr Joseph Bell! I cannot reiterate enough that everyone should buy this! Marc

Alan Snelson
As far as I am concerned Jeremy Brett is Sherlock Holmes. In the same way that Tom Baker is Doctor Who. This series was the best thing that Granada or ITV have ever made. Only just finished collecting the original DVD's. Don't think I will buy the new boxset just yet.

Morgan Jeffery
"Compare Brett to Rupert Everett - who wasn't so much playing Holmes as sulking near him." What exactly is this supposed to mean? I honestly can't work out what sense that sentence makes.

I think that your reviewer is way off the mark. Jeremy Brett's performance is far more understated (although he is occasionally flamboyant) than he gives credit for. Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes and after watching him it is simply impossible to imagine any other actor playing the part. This is strangely a problem that haunted Doctor Who after Tom Baker left. I accept that some of the Stories and Adaptions are better than others. I would point out, however, that the high quality production values of this TV series were always self evident.

Phil Allely
I always like the way Jeremy Brett portrayed Sherlock Holmes in his adventures as the great detective. This dvd boxset may be expensive, but as the subject matter is such a superb set of period dramas it really is a good way to spend your hard earned cash.



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