It’s Elementary: The Timeless Appeal of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes has been an intriguing character since he made his debut in 1887. His appeal continues to this day. Check out his many incarnations at the Port Jefferson Free Library.

Sherlock Holmes, the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  first appeared in 1887. While Conan Doyle stopped writing his adventures in 1914 Sherlock’s appeal continues to this day. The original works can be found in the Port Jefferson Free Library’s collection. Check them out today:The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

While he is quite popular on the page Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, his friend and assistant have been popular on screen as well. According to the Guiness Book of World Records he is the most portrayed movie character. Seventy five actors  have played Holmes in over 211 films.

One of the most well known early films starred Basil Rathbone, who also portrayed Holmes on the radio. 14 Black and white films were made between 1939- 1946. This set contains the complete run of all the films: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection

In 1984 Britain’s Granada television resurrected Holmes. Jeremy Brett  played Holmes and Watson was played by David Burke and Edward Hardwicke. Burke was Watson for 13 episodes (Series 1) and left the show to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. Hardwicke played the part until the series concluded. The show ran for a total of 41 episodes and included adaptations of most of the short stories and two television movies.  The movies brought the novels The Sign of the Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles to the Small Screen. Brett’s Holmes has been considered one of the, if not the definitive performance of Holmes. Here is a selection of the DVDs:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

In 2010 Sherlock returned to the small screen Sherlock Season 1 and Series 2. In this incarnation Sherlock was brought into the 21st Century. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes combines both the famed reasoning and skills with modern technology. Holmes texts and Watson blogs about their adventures. The fact that such an update works and works so well is a testament to the timelessness and appeal of Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing. The only complaint made about this adaptation by the fans is that the the series need to be longer with more episodes!

Sherlock Holmes has also made it to the big screen recently in two Guy Ritchie directed films (with a third to come) Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Robert Downey Jr is Holmes and Jude Law plays Watson, who is something of slightly bumbling foil to Downey’s fast moving, almost manic Holmes. While Holmsian purists dismiss the films as sharing little with the novels, there are some similarities in terms of plot and characters. The films are perhaps best appreciated by those who like seeing Robert Downey Jr. and like a good fast paced action flick with a sprinkling of history. Not perhaps the best adaptation, but entertaining fun nonetheless.

Sherlock Holmes’ appeal continues to this day! Check out his many incarnations at the Port Jefferson Free Library! Need help finding any of the items listed in this article? Call 473-0022, click here or stop by any of our services desks. One of our librarians will be happy to help you find what you need!

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