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|Index||18 reviews in total|
Don't get me wrong; Jeremy Brett and David Burke do their normal first
rate acting jobs, the horribly written screenplay and plot give them a
poor vehicle for their skills.
Most of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories in the Granada series hold true to the original. Sure maybe some of the dramatizations are over the top, still they stick to Sir Doyle's original story and allow Brett and Burke to give flesh to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Unfortunately the last vampyre (left lower case on purpose) was written so poorly with TV type scenes and situations that even Basil Rathbone would have been embarrassed to play Sherlock in. He__, even Huckleberry Hound would have been embarrassed.
Preserve the image of Brett and Burke doing an incredible job of bringing Holmes and Watson to life; do not watch this episode.
The hard-core Holmes fans will be apoplectic since this is probably a
pastiche, technically, just based on the Doyle characters and not on one
his original Sherlock Holmes tales ... it's just too far from "The Sussex
Vampire" to be legitimately derivative. However, even as a diehard fan of
the original works, I enjoyed tremendously this little adventure, though
first time I watched it with some interruptions I was a bit confused as to
what was real and what might just be some imaginative fantasy of a
character. The second time around it was clearer, but one does have to pay
close attention and not fiddle about on the phone at critical times.
We purists have to learn to be more accepting of departures from the sacred canon of Doyle and not just immediately dislike something because it's not exactly one of the stories we've re-read so many times. When it goes a bit far, jumping time periods and such (as with Basil Rathbone's "fighting the Nazis" plots), that's one thing -- but an otherwise well-done drama like this, faithful in every way to the characters, the Victorian time period, and Doyle's spirit, we should sheath our pedagogical long knives and simply enjoy good work for what it is. And I believe this is just that. Two of my friends who have never been particularly interested in Holmes stories thought that this was a great, ripping tale and are now reading the whole canon since developing an appreciation for the characters. When the departures begin to include nudity and car chases we should certainly object, but this is easily close enough to the original work that all of us should enjoyit.
I echo the earlier comments that we hard-core Holmes fans should welcome
stories, or pastiches, when well-done and in keeping with the spirit of
Holmes and Doyle. This effort is a perfect example of why we should accept
some departures or "new," non-canonical material and not just criticize by
I also had a bit of trouble following the first viewing, mostly due to some interrupting phone calls, but for the second session I pulled the phone plug and it all made sense. Not a clear, straightforward plot as Doyle always gave us, but easy enough to follow if not distracted -- and definitely worth the effort.
I believe Doyle would have wholeheartedly approved, especially since his tale of the "Sussex Vampire" was arguably the lamest of all the canon. This is what Doyle COULD, and SHOULD, have done with the vampire theme.
I also draw the line at ludicrous time-jumps (like Rathbone's Nazi adventures), and I do not want to see Holmes fighting space-aliens, but offerings that are scrupulously true to Holmes' character and times are most welcome -- especially when this finely crafted and well-acted.
Ridiculous meandering around the possibility that Roy Marsden's
character might be a vampire like his forebears a century earlier -
only the Granada team could pull this off. The fact that they do, make
an entertaining tale and make the ending plausible, just goes to show
the level of thought that went into these adaptations.
I just couldn't resist 'Ghosts need not apply.' Hilarious. And Keith Barron is good as the bereaved father with the tempestuous wife from foreign lands. No need to sing the praises of this Holmes and Watson - both an absolute joy to watch. The feature film length episodes complemented the short TV episodes perfectly.
I recently ran across some Sherlock Holmes movies with Jeremy Brett as
Holmes. There is much to be compared between this Holmes and Watson to
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, whom I consider to be the very best
actors for the roles. This time Dr. Watson seems to be as intelligent
as Holmes, caring, but he is no lovable Nigel Bruce. Brett's Holmes is
morose and unenthusiastic (unlike Basil Rathbone). Why does Holmes even
want to be a detective here? He's a deep thinker and investigator, but
he doesn't love it. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce made their films
(and radio shows) quite exciting, and this is too routine in
comparison. However, this has plenty of suspense and vampire attacks
(or were they?).
This isn't exactly a travesty to "The Sussex Vampire", but it had so many twists and turns and additional characters that it left me confused (especially at the end). The show is way too long and slow-moving. The addition of John Stockton was necessary, but the movie should have been shorter. It isn't exactly a travesty to the original story, but they had to add more stuff since the story is quite short, if not the shortest Holmes story Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote! The cast was great, particularly Richard Dempsey as Jack, the disturbed elder son of John Ferguson. By far the youngest to have a sizable role, his stage presence was equal or better than the adults, especially his father (John Ferguson), who seemed nice and caring but had a violent temper. What happens to the dysfunctional Ferguson family in the end isn't faithful at all to the original story, but it is still very interesting and is well made to make up for its flaws.
I am a true fan of Mr. Holmes and the sublime Mr. Brett and have
read the entire "Canon" a few times.
Although this is barely based on the original story "The Case of
the Sussex Vampyre"it does have one very redeeming quality and
that is a superb performance by a truly underrated actor ,Roy
I love Roy as Adam Dalgliesh in the PJ James series and think he
was not only brilliant as this title character but gave an aura of sex
to the part that is missing in the original story.
You have to really watch this a few times to get the essence of the plot but after you do you might share my feeling about Roy Marsden.....he can bite my neck any time.
Generally, TeeVee versions of classic literature are disasters. Either
they try to stick to what's written which doesn't work because the
conventions of the media are so different.
Or they adapt to fit and in doing so forget the elements that made the thing attractive in the first place.
These "Britt Holmeses" have examples of both. This is the latter.
And even as TeeVee fare unconnected to a strong source it stinks. It is turgid and uninteresting in every respect save one. That's the remarkable fire that starts the thing. The fire itself isn't so much, but the building that burns isn't fake and it is a pretty noble place. That part is photographed well; there was no scrimping on this effect.
But other than one of Britt's characteristically dismissive handwaves there isn't a shred of interest here. And certainly no Conan Doyle.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
Passable mystery with Brett's Sherlock going head to head with Marsden, who is suppossedly taken for a vampyre. The thrills are few. Brett has exhausted Sherlock.
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