Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who first appeared in publication in 1887. He is the creation of Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A brilliant London-based detective, Holmes is famous for his intellectual prowess, and is renowned for his skillful use of "deductive reasoning" while using abductive reasoning (inference to the best explanation) and astute observation to solve difficult cases.
Conan Doyle wrote four novels and fifty-six short stories that featured Holmes. All but four stories are narrated by Holmes' friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson; two are narrated by Holmes himself, and two others are written in the third person.
The word Sherlock has since entered the English language as to mean someone who is both highly intelligent and observant. It is also used sarcastically to mean someone who states the obvious.
Sherlock Holmes is the single most frequently filmed fictional character with almost 200 film appearances to date. Only Dracula comes close to matching his record.
The most popular "Sherlock Holmes" movies were those with Basil Rathbone playing the lead and Nigel Bruce as the ever-faithful Doctor Watson.
Rathbone's career as Holmes began with The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, both made by 20th Century Fox and released in 1939 – the first Holmes films to be set in Victorian, rather than contemporary, times. These were followed by a series of 12 films (and a cameo appearance in the 1943 comedy Crazy House) produced by Universal from 1942 to 1946, set in the present and frequently pitting Holmes against Nazi agents. Although only the first of Rathbone's films was based directly on material by Conan Doyle, e.g The Spider Woman (1944) was an amalgam of two stories; many fans feel that his portrayal most faithfully captures the Holmes of the original stories, due in part to his resemblance to Sidney Paget's original Strand illustrations. "The Adventures" also gives Rathbone a chance to show his range — in one scene he plays a disguised music hall actor, doing a very creditable version of "I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside"!
As well as his film performances, Rathbone has played Holmes in 219 radio performances, on television and on the stage.
Nigel Bruce played Watson to Rathbone's Holmes, playing the man as a bumbler and somewhat foolish, and in some films as retired, which is contrary to Doyle's depiction (although, as supposed chronicler, it is unlikely Watson would have dwelt over-much on his own deficiencies).
Throughout the early 1940s on American Radio, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce performed as Holmes and Watson, respectively, in several series of canonical and original Sherlock Holmes stories on the The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio show. These broadcasts were loosely based on Doyle's cases. When Rathbone finally departed the role before the 1947 season, Tom Conway played Sherlock Holmes opposite Nigel Bruce for one season. After a change of networks, there were two more pairings: John Stanley as Holmes and Alfred Shirley as Watson in 1947-1948 and John Stanley and Ian Martin in 1948-1949.
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============Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes Movies============
01. Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) – Basil Rathbone:
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the legend of a supernatural hound, a beast that may be stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate.
02. The Adventures ofSherlock Holmes (1939) – Basil Rathbone:
The foil of Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) makes himself a nuisance in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” If murder to tease his nemesis is the motive of Professor Moriarty (George Zucco), he is successful. A woman in distress (Ida Lupino) visits the master detective to reveal her fears of being murdered. Indeed, her brother’s strange murder with a bolo intrigues Holmes, but the clues are a means to keep Holmes preoccupied while a larger crime, the theft of the Crown Jewels is planned. Dr. Watson (Nigel Bruce) comes along for the observations he can offer while the two chase Moriarty around gaslight London of 1890. As the most diabolical and clever criminal in the annals of crime, Moriarty knows Holmes is more than a match and seems to relish having their battle. It may be a crime with a motive of personal mischief toward Holmes rather than actual malice toward society.
03. Sherlock Holmes and the Voice ofTerror (1942) – Basil Rathbone:
Movie is based on the story “His Last Bow”. When Nazi saboteurs predict to England of new depredations via their radio “Voice of Terror”, the Intelligence Inner Council summons Sherlock Holmes to help in the crisis.
04. SherlockHolmes and the Spider Woman (1943) – Basil Rathbone:
Unlike most other adaptations of the Holmes stories, which retell only one of the original stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, this film incorporates elements from the novel The Sign of the Four, as well as the short stories The Dying Detective, The Final Problem, The Speckled Band and The Adventure of the Devil's Foot.
05. SherlockHolmes in Washington (1943) – Basil Rathbone:
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson travel to Washington DC, in order to prevent a secret document from falling into enemy hands.
06. Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943) – Basil Rathbone:
During WWII, several murders occur at a convalescent home where Dr. Watson has volunteered his services. He summons Holmes for help.
07. Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943) – Basil Rathbone:
Based on the Sir Authur Conan Doyle story "The Dancing Men", Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are placed in WWII Europe to help protect a scientist and his invention from the Nazis.
08. The Pearl of Death(1944) - Basil Rathbone:
When a valuable pearl with a sinister reputation is stolen, Sherlock Holmes must investigate its link to a series of brutal murders.
09. The Scarlet Claw (1944) – Basil Rathbone:
When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster. Sherlock Holmes is brought in to investigate.
10. SherlockHolmes and the Pursuit to Algiers (1945) - Basil Rathbone:
Holmes is recruited to escort the heir to a European throne safely back to his homeland after his father's assassination.
11. The House of Fear(1945) - Basil Rathbone:
Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of deaths at a castle with each foretold by the delivery of orange pips (seeds) to the victims.
12. The Woman in Green (1945) - Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce
Holmes and Watson investigate a series of bizarre and apparently unconnected murders, and the death of a possible suspect. The trail leads to a society of hypnotists and a mysterious, glamorous woman. The fiendish Dr. Moriarty, though reported hanged in Montevideo, is believed to be involved.
13. Sherlock Holmes and Dressed To Kill (1946) – Basil Rathbone:
A convicted thief in Dartmoor prison hides the location of the stolen Bank of England printing plates inside three music boxes. When the innocent purchasers of the boxes start to be murdered, Holmes and Watson investigate.
14. Sherlock Holmes and the Terror by Night (1946) – Basil Rathbone:
Holmes is hired by Roland Carstairs to prevent the theft of the Star of Rhodesia, an enormous diamond owned by Carstairs' mother, Lady Margaret. Believing the diamond will be stolen on a train trip from London to Edinburgh, Holmes deftly switches diamonds with Lady Margaret while in her compartment. Soon after, Roland is murdered and the fake diamond is stolen. Red herrings abound as Holmes, aided by Dr. Watson and Inspector Lestrade, discover the murderer's hiding place and deduce that long-time foe Moriarty's henchman Colonel Sebastian Moran is somehow involved in the crime.
==============Other Sherlock Holmes Actors==============
1. The Speckled Band (1931) - Raymond Massey as Sherlock Holmes
Violet Stoner dies under mysterious circumstances in her bedroom at the gloomy mansion of her brutish stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Rylott. Because Violet had become engaged to be married, she stood to inherit a substantial annual allowance from her parents' estate but never survived to collect it. Her last words were "The Speckled Band!"
2. Sherlock Holmes: The Sleeping Cardinal (1931) - Arthur Wontner
This rare Sherlock Holmes film was released at the same time as the Raymond Massey picture "The Speckled Band". (See Above) The plot is based on two Conan Doyle short stories: "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House".
Skeptical about the potential success of the film, the producers sold the rights to the film to "First Division Pictures" for 800 pounds. The film was released in July 1931 under the title "Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour". It was very success, running for over a month on Broadway, which was unprecedented for a British produced movie.
Reviews hailed the film for "bringing the real Sherlock Holmes to the screen." This prompted 4 more movies in the series The Missing Rembrandt (still considered lost), The Sign of Four, The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes and The Silver Blaze/Murder at the Baskervilles. See these movies below.
This film was deemed lost when the only known print (a 16 mm reduction print of the US version) went missing after being shown at a Sherlock Holmes Society reception for Arthur Wontner in 1951. This version comes from a second generation copy with the titles replaced due to focus/framing issues.
3. Sherlock Holmes and The Sign Of Four (1932) – Arthur Wontner:
A young woman turns to Sherlock Holmes for protection when she's menaced by an escaped killer seeking missing treasure. However, when the woman is kidnapped, Holmes and Watson must penetrate the city's criminal underworld to find her.
4. Sherlock Holmes in Study in Scarlet (1933) – Reginald Owen
In London, a secret society led by lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew collects the assets of any of its deceased members and divides them among the remaining members. Society members start dropping like flies. Sherlock Holmes is approached by member James Murphy's widow, who is miffed at being left penniless by her husband. When Captain Pyke is shot, Holmes keys in on his mysterious Chinese widow as well as the shady Merrydew. Other members keep dying--Malcom Dearing first, then Mr. Baker. There is also an attempt on the life of young Eileen Forrester, who became a reluctant society member upon the death of her father. Holmes' uncanny observations and insights are put to the test.
5. The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935) – Arthur Wontner:
Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Wontner) and Dr. Watson (Ian Fleming) come out of retirement to investigate a mysterious murder.
They find that a group of coalminers, called The Scowlers, are caught up in the mystery, along with the treacherous Professor Moriarty (Lyn Harding).
Holmes must outsmart Moriarity and an American gangster in order to find the murderers and save The Scowlers.
6. Sherlock Holmes and the Murder At The Baskervilles (1937) – Arthur Wontner
In England, this movie was called “Silver Blaze”. In the USA, it was released as “Murder at the Baskervilles”. This is not the “Hound of the Baskervilles”.
Sherlock Holmes takes a vacation and visits his old friend Sir Henry Baskerville. His vacation ends when he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a double-murder mystery. Now he's got to find Professor Moriarty and the horse Silver Blaze before the great cup final horse race.
7. Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976) - Roger Moore:
Holmes pursues his arch-enemy Moriarty to New York where the scoundrel has carried out the ultimate bank robbery.
8. Without a Clue - Sherlock Holmes(1988) – Michael Cane:
Sherlock is a drunk and a book character for Dr. Watson. This is more of a comedy. Movie has lots of humor, plus mystery and crime. Michael Caine is Sherlock and Ben Kingsley is Watson
Sherlock Holmes 1954 TV Programs (Starring Ronald Howard as Sherlock)
Sherlock Holmes Radio Programs:
- New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Radio (Oct 1939 - July 1947)
- Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone
- Sherlock Holmes versus Dracula
- Sherlock Holmes and the Musgrave Ritual
The Immortal Sherlock Holmes (William Gillette’s famous Play) from Orson Welles’ "Mercury on the Air".
Sherlock Holmes as read by Basil Rathbone The stories read are:
- Scandle in Bohemia
The Final Problem
The Red Geaded League
The Speckled Band