Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review - "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking"

Rupert Everett (left) and Ian Hart (right) as Holmes and Watson
in 2004's "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking"
After a second transmission of 2002's "The Hound of the Baskervilles," the BBC showed interest in bringing the detective back to the television screen. Richard Roxburgh, who'd starred as Holmes in "Hound" was not interested in returning to the role and so Rupert Everett stepped into the shoes of the world's greatest detective for "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking," a pastiche made-for-television movie released in 2004.

Dr. John Watson (Ian Hart) is worried for his friend Sherlock Holmes (Rupert Everett) who has disappeared into an opium den for days and has no returned. To take his friend's mind off his drug addiction, Watson suggests a case to the detective. A young woman has been discovered on the banks of the Thames, a silk stocking tied around her throat. At the mortuary, Holmes discovers that the young woman is in fact an aristocrat's daughter. When the daughter of George Pentney (Jonathon Hyde), another aristocrat, is abducted, Holmes is certain that this is the work of the same man. Together with the aid of Scotland Yard, his friend Watson and Watson's fiance, the great detective will track down this multiple-murderer.

To anyone who read my post about 2002's "Hound of the Baskervilles," they will know that I was not entirely keen on that production. (http://the-consulting-detective.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-sherlockian-guilty-pleasure.html) While there were some redeeming qualities to this production, it was by no means the epitome of Sherlockian entertainment. However, I still wanted to track down the follow-up film made two years later and found that "Silk Stocking" had some very interesting surprises.

Rupert Everett as Holmes
As noted above, the plot line for "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking" was an entirely new pastiche. However this plot sounds more like a story from an episode of "CSI" rather than a Sherlockian mystery. The biggest problem is that the story is not a traditional mystery. Holmes has no suspects to question or clues to sift through. The detectives must rely entirely on psychoanalysis and intuition to solve the mystery. This plot is so far removed from anything even remotely connected with Arthur Conan Doyle. In a disjointed and different setting for a Sherlock Holmes mystery as this, an actor who could pull off the role was needed. Sadly, Rupert Everett acts as both the film's greatest asset and hindrance.

Looking much more like the detective than his predecessor, Richard Roxburgh, Rupert Everett at least has that to his advantage. However, Everett is so underwhelming as the detective, he hardly makes an impression on the viewer. Everett whispers every line as those the movie were filmed at a library, and he comes off as being cold and unlikable. Once more, Holmes' relationship with Watson is presented as a strained one. Again, Ian Hart does come across as a likable Watson, and one wishes that he could have been partnered with an actor the caliber of Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone. Other actors like Jonathon Hyde and Michael Fassbender turn in good performances, but nothing out of the ordinary.

What is perhaps the greatest injustice towards Doyle is the direct contradictions made to Doyle's work. Sherlock Holmes is presented as an opium addict, something the original Holmes never was. Doyle's Holmes agreed with Dr. Watson stating that opium was a dangerous drug not to reckoned with. Furthermore, Holmes also ends up using his seven-per-cent solution of cocaine during a case. Furthermore, Dr. Watson is presented as being on the brink of marriage to an American psychologist - not, I repeat not a canonical fact.

It made sound as though all I have done is drag this movie through the mud during this review. Once more, the production values are beautiful, with a fog-drenched Victorian London looking very impressive. Rupert Everett, though an underwhelming and unlikable Holmes, does the best he can with the script provided and Ian Hart makes for an enjoyable Watson. I give "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking" a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, sounds about right. I think this was the movie where at one point a telephone call is made before one of those thriller-ish scenes takes place, despite it not being possible at the time. I can't remember Everett as Holmes, but I remember thinking this was one of the least awful continuations I'd come across -- not particularly *good*, per se, but certainly far above some of the other ones I've come across.

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  2. Nick, let me know if I can send you a review copy of my latest sherlock -

    Based on a real event in Albert Einstein's life.

    - for all who enjoy the classic Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

    First review: http://inserbia.info/news/2014/01/sherlock-holmes-and-the-mystery-of-einsteins-daughter-review/


    Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter by Tim Symonds

    In late 1903 Einstein's daughter 'Lieserl' disappears without trace in Serbia aged around 21 months. As Holmes exclaims in the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter, "the most ruthless effort has been made by public officials, priests, monks, Einstein's friends, followers, relatives and relatives-by-marriage to seek out and destroy every document with Lieserl’s name on it. The question is – why?"

    ‘Lieserl’s fate shadows the Einstein legend like some unsolved equation’ Scientist Frederic Golden Time Magazine



    Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter is available at www.mxpublishing.co.uk/engine/shop/product/9781780925721 or www.amazon.co.uk/Sherlock-Holmes-Mystery-Einsteins-Daughter/dp/1780925727. Review copies contact Steve Emecz at mxpublishing@btinternet.com.


    Tim Symonds was born in London. He grew up in Somerset, Dorset and Guernsey. After several years working in the Kenya Highlands and along the Zambezi River he emigrated to the United States. He studied in Germany at Göttingen and at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in Political Science. Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery Of Einstein’s Daughter was written in a converted oast house in 'Conan Doyle country', near Rudyard Kipling’s old home Bateman’s in East Sussex and in the forests and hidden valleys of the Sussex High Weald.
    The author’s other detective novels include Sherlock Holmes and The Dead Boer at Scotney Castle and Sherlock Holmes and The Case of the Bulgarian Codex.
    He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


    Holmes on justice (The Resident Patient): “Wretch as he was, he was still living under the shield of British law, and I have no doubt, Inspector, that you will see that, though that shield may fail to guard, the sword of justice is still there to avenge.”

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