Sherlock Holmes – A Scandal In Bohemia



English: Portrait of Arthur conan doyle by Sid...
English: Portrait of Arthur conan doyle by Sidney Paget.c. 1890 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A Scandal in Bohemia”
The very first Sherlock Holmes short story (following the detective’s introduction in the novels A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four) was also the first Granada Television production in the long-running Holmes series featuring Jeremy Brett’s definitive performance as the famous sleuth. No deerstalker cap, cape, curved meerschaum pipe, or Basil Rathbone mannerisms for this Holmes: Brett’s portrayal went straight to the heart of the character Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created, with all the manic-depressive, coldly clinical, drug-dependent, and unnervingly focused brilliance intact. Just as on-the-money is David Burke’s Dr. John Watson, who is hardly the loyal puppy of widespread assumption but rather a dedicated ally and determined chronicler of the publicity-wary Holmes. “A Scandal in Bohemia,” ironically, is one of the few instances of Holmes being bested by an equally intelligent adversary–an actress by the name of Irene Adler (Gayle Hunnicutt), who has threatened to reveal damaging evidence of her own affair with the king of Bohemia (Wolf Kahler), a ridiculous pseudonym invented by Watson to protect the real royal personage in trouble. It’s Holmes to the rescue, going undercover in disguise to take away the blackmailer’s trump, though it’s he whose head will ultimately be turned by the extraordinary Irene. The cast is wonderful (meet Rosalie Williams as Baker Street housekeeper Mrs. Hudson), and the drama is great fun. (For a contemporary movie reinvention of this story, check out the 1998 feature Zero Effect, starring Bill Pullman as a whacked-out variation on Holmes, Ben Stiller as his long-suffering Watson, and Kim Dickens as an updated Irene.) –Tom Keogh