Young/Old Sherlock Holmes

In 1985, when I was seven, there came a movie that would be my obsession for many a year: Young Sherlock Holmes.

I adored everything about this movie. The special effects were, at the time, out of this world. The story was amazing. And I already loved Sherlock Holmes.

This will be a shocker to (none of) you, but I was raised on PBS. So I was already well familiar with Holmes, as played by Basil Rathbone, and I was becoming increasingly familiar with the Sherlock who will forever remain my quintessential Sherlock, Jeremy Brett. He first played Holmes in 1984, and, for me, he will always be the closest Holme’s to Conan Doyle’s ever created.

Watching Young Sherlock Holmes, then, offered a lot of insight into the depictions of Holmes I already knew: how he came by his method, why he wasn’t married, etc. But there was thing that bothered me. Granted, the young Sherlock Holmes was, indeed, young, but he also has so much energy in that film. He’s so alive, and physical, that I couldn’t see him growing up into the Holmes I “knew” from television.

And that’s where the newest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes comes into play. I went and saw it recently, and I adored it. It’s great fun, with amazing visuals, and RDJ and Jude Law have fantabulous chemistry together.

But what I really loved about that film is that this new Sherlock Holmes is the clear sequel to that movie I loved as a child, the Young Sherlock Holmes; Robert Downey Junior’s Holme’s is that little boy (whom I admit I had a bit of a crush on) all grown up.

That certainly wasn’t Guy Ritchie’s intention when he made the film, and he probably never even saw Young Sherlock Holmes. But that’s what the film felt like, to me. And that’s why, even without the bustles and the carriages and the like I would have loved it. That same energy and joy that infused the character of young Sherlock Holmes is in this Sherlock Holmes, and it made the film a pleasure to watch.


And in Other News . . .


Locus has weighed in on Tempest Rising, saying, “From small-town hijinks to otherworldly intrigue, this is a fun start to a new series, and a promising first novel.”

And finally, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay area, I will be attending this public event, at Borderlands Books,  hosted by io9.

Posted by Nicole Peeler

Author, Professor, Lover, Fighter

6 thoughts on “Young/Old Sherlock Holmes”

  1. I just saw Sherlock Holmes yesterday. Loved it and plan to see it again. I must admit that I never saw Young Sherlock Holmes, but will look for it.

  2. Oooh, good review! I should check out Young Sherlock Holmes as well — I suspect I'd like it. 🙂

    The first Sherlock Holmes film I remember impacting me was, embarassingly enough, a TV pilot called alternatingly 1994 Baker Street and Sherlock Holmes Returns. It was a time travel sort of story — Holmes cryogenically freezes himself to return in modern day to solve crimes — and I remember a poignant moment when he realizes that the whole wing of forensics has been developed, and that his method is no longer so unique as it once was. That pathos always appealed to me — that even in his heyday, Holmes is sort of alone in the world, because there's no one like him, and that were what makes him special removed from him, he'd have to confront it — and I think the new film captured that pretty clearly in the Watson/Holmes relationship. Now, whether that's cannon or just too much emotion for the devotees to the short stories is, of course, up for debate!

  3. I loved "Young Sherlock Holmes" too! I watched it over and over, and the effect were great, as you said. I'm so glad to read your thoughts about the new movie as I am going to see it tonight and was feeling a bit ambivalent about it, but you have eased my mind. Thank you!

  4. Oh, the crush I had on the young Sherlock Holmes! I've seen the same actor pop up on British TV every now and again ('Let Them Eat Cake' and one of the 'Midsomer Murder' telemovies, just in case you're interested).

    I am still yet to see the latest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, but I suspect I'll love it.

  5. Qwill: It's ancient and probably will make you giggle at the special effects. But they TERRIFIED me as a child. But yes, I highly recommend it . . . I think I actually did see it a few years ago and it stood the test of time.

    Alana: You should definitely check out YSH and I SWEAR to god I saw that same pilot . . . As for the canonicity of Holmes, I think at some point he stopped being a character on the written page and became a cultural entity that we all own. How many people have you met who even know he's a story from a novel? Very few nowadays do . . . and yet everyone knows who Sherlock Holmes is. 😉

    Zia: It was SO GOOD! I'm so glad you liked it to! And I DID enjoy the new movie. It's not terribly deep but the choices were interesting, and not entirely off kilter. Holmes is, after all, supposed to be a martial arts expert. And I particularly enjoyed Jude Law's Watson. He did a fantastic job. Let me know what you thought of it if you saw it!

    Gillian: ME TOO! And I adore Midsomer Murders. I am going to have to IMDB him and see if I've seen that episode . . . Thanks for the heads up!

  6. My son, who is 16, loves Sherlock Holmes books, and my parent's gave him a big volume a couple years ago. I need to get YSH for him. He's afraid to see the new movie because he says that isn't how he thinks of Holmes. I love talking books with him. My husband and I are going to a movie and dinner this weekend and we can't decide between SH and Avatar. We don't get out a lot. LOL I'm really torn.

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