|Index||7 reviews in total|
In The Greek Interpreter Sherlock Holmes finds his next client at the
Diogenes Club where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduces the character of
Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older brother. As played by Charles Gray,
Mycroft has every bit of Sherlock's deductive reasoning powers, but has
chosen to use that in a different though honest field of endeavor. He's
a career civil servant, but THE civil servant in the United Kingdom,
much like Nigel Hawthorne a century later in Yes Minister.
Much like the other tales that Conan Doyle has written, Jeremy Brett as Holmes gets a client with an unusual tale. A very mysterious man played by George Costigan with a unique foreign accent kidnaps Alkis Kritikos and brings him to a house where his talents as an interpreter are needed. Costigan and Nicholas Field are holding Anton Alexander captive and are torturing him. But since he only speaks Greek they need an interpreter to convey to him to sign some important document so that they will stop. Alexander's sister Victoria Harwood is also involved, but I can't say more than that.
Since the villains are identified right away this particular Conan Doyle story is not any kind of whodunit, but rather almost an action adventure as the brothers Holmes and David Burke as Dr. Watson race against time to affect a rescue. Their efforts are considerably hampered by Scotland Yard Inspector Oliver Maguire and their own respect for due process UK style.
George Costigan was extremely interesting as the villain. Since I'm not familiar with him over on this side of the pond, I was wondering whether he was imitating Peter Lorre or that was his natural voice. Either way he was one sinister dude.
Not too bad an entry in the Conan Doyle catalog of Sherlock Holmes stories.
The story while interesting and well paced and constructed is a somewhat weird one this time around. Not in the story itself but in some scenes such the interrogation scene. However, The Greek Interpreter is fascinating, and worth seeing for the introduction of Mycroft, who is a shrewd and very intelligent character and just seeing him with Holmes is what makes the episode well worth watching. The acting is very good as is expected, Jeremy Brett and David Burke are both brilliant, and Charles Gray is also excellent. There is also George Costigan and Nicholas Field, who make a sinister pair. The production values are wonderful, the music is at its most beautiful and haunting and there is some strong writing throughout. All in all, fascinating episode. 8/10 Bethany Cox
This adaptation has a gripping and suspenseful plot involving gang kidnapping as well as superb performances by Nicolas Field and George Costigan (doing an impersonation of Peter Lorre) as the sinister perpetrators. Also, Jeremy Brett and David Burke continue to be in fine form as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. However, what really makes this episode special is that it marks the debut of Holmes's brother Mycroft, wonderfully played by Charles Gray. He is what you would call an armchair detective, he tends to be lazy yet he's as brilliant if not more so than Sherlock himself. Although, it plays more like a crime story than a mystery it turns out to be a not too shabby entry.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an important story for a couple of reasons. One is that it
introduces the reader (or viewer) to Sherlock Holmes' older brother,
Mycroft. Holmes admits that Mycroft's powers of analysis are even
greater than his own, but the man himself is unknown because he rarely
leaves The Diogenes Club. He's as sedentary as they get. As played by
Charles Gray, he doesn't look much like the Paget drawings but he gets
the general idea across.
The story has a high loading on the weirdness factor. A Greek comes to Holmes and asks for help. He's being coerced into acting as a translator. Two weird Englishman take him blindfolded to a room where he must interrogate a monolingual Greek man whose face is covered with band aids or something. The interrogation has something to do with signing over control of some money. Oh, and cherchez la femme.
Holmes and Watson are fine, as usual, but this episode has Nicholas Field doing a hilarious parody of Peter Lorre. There is a scene in "The Maltese Falcon" in which Peter Lorre sits down in Sam Spade's office and hires Spade to find "a black bird". About the method of acquisition, there "will be no questions asked, shall we say?" During this little speech, Lorre is holding the ornate head of his walking stick against his cheek and is caressing the shaft. Field reproduces the scene perfectly, adds a pair of thick glasses, and the nasal whine of his voice out-Lorres Lorre. I doubt that most kids will get it, but anyone who gets it will laugh out loud. Or, well, that's too strong, but the performance is worth a chuckle anyway.
This is a rather different type episode from the usual Holmes mystery
as we, the viewer, know they villains right from the beginning of the
show. The part that keeps us glued to the show is the fact of why a man
is being beaten and starved in order to sign some sort of paper against
his will. And with that comes Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to
investigate this strange circumstance.
Holmes is visited by a man that is a interpreter of the Greek language. He tells of a strange situation where he has basically been taken to a house outside of town and forced to interpret into the Greek language to a man, Anton Alexander, that is being held hostage in the house. The bandits are wanting Anton to sign a paper that will bring to an end the torture that they are inflicting on him. Yet he refuses to sign and settles for the continuing whims of his muggers.
Holmes takes on the case and will need some help from his brother Mycroft Holmes (Charles Gray) that will lead to a train ride that will hopefully solve the entire hostage situation and bring peace to a family.
Jeremy Brett is again brilliant as the energetic detective and is joined by Charles Gray, playing his brother, that is just as intelligent yet coy about finding answers. This story is not a suspenseful as other but still makes for a nice watch.
Jeremy Brett was brilliant as Holmes. I've just caught up with this episode, which I don't think I saw when it was originally screened. The team get so much right - creating tableaux from lovingly recreated interiors (including police stations). But the direction and editing lack a sense of timing - there are filler shots of people standing in halls, or gazing in puzzlement, or at the camera. I love to gaze on the face of Sherlock Holmes, but I also want to get on with the story. The dialogue needs to be faster, faster, faster, and they need to cut in on the end of each others' lines! They should have watched the Maltese Falcon, as did George Costigan as one of the villains. Or Rathbone and Bruce! Perhaps it was a current acting style (I'm looking back to my brief theatrical career).
Having recently rediscovered the Holmes stories, I had forgotten how much foreign intrigue was involved in the stories. I guess colonial England had its share of spies and dissenters. There were also powers such as Germany and Russia that were always knocking on the door of the world's greatest empire. This has to do with an effort to make use of a Greek interpreter to coerce someone into signing something. The language barrier is at the center of it all. Holmes is intrigued by the fact that there is all this carting around of people to mysterious locations, threats, and violence. The joy is in the questioning and the acting on clues. This was never my favorite story but it makes for good television, and, of course, the two leads do a masterful job.
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