This book covers the complete history of how many times Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in films and on television. It looks at the different time periods, the different actors who have played the role of Holmes, and discusses how the character has had a major influence on pop culture.
I have never really been into Sherlock Holmes (I have always preferred Poe’s very underrated detective C. Auguste Dupin personally) but I know a lot of people who love him. They are into the books and movies that feature the character, and enjoy getting into discussions (which sometimes lead to heated arguments) as to which actor best portrayed Holmes on the screen (I have to go with Basil Rathbone myself as I thought that he owned the role each time he played the part, but feel free to disagree with me as long as you don’t argue that Robert Downey Jr. was the best). Until I got the Sherlock Holmes on Screen book written by Alan Barnes I had no idea that so many people had portrayed the character in movies and on television. I knew that he was one of those characters that is loved by many and is without a doubt an icon in the literature, film and pop culture, but I was taken aback by how many times he has appeared on the screen. As Barnes states in the introduction to the book, Dracula is the only fictional character who can boast as many appearances in film and television as that of Sherlock Holmes.
Even though I am not what you would really call a fan of Holmes, I couldn’t help but be impressed by this book. It is essentially an encyclopedia that chronicles each appearance of Holmes in great detail. Each movie or television episode is listed in alphabetical order and every entry has important information about it noted such as alternate title, country of origin, the year it was produced, the actors and directors that were involved with the production, and many other facts. I found the book to be very interesting and informative, and I liked the fact that it also gives a summary of each film/television appearance. It is obvious that Barnes put a lot of time and effort into writing this book, and I don’t envy him of all of the countless hours he no doubt had to spend researching and verifying all the information he had to gather as he was putting the book together (the appendix, which includes the lost Holmes films was probably the biggest headache that he had to endure).
I also enjoyed some of the little-known facts that Barnes included about Holmes as well. For instance, I had no idea that the character appeared on two episodes of the short-lived 80’s cartoon Bravestarr (I used to watch it when I was a kid, if you aren’t familiar with it look it up as it was made by the same people behind the much better and more well-known He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon). I also didn’t know that the character made appearances (or at least influenced) shows such as Batman-the Brave and the Bold, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Real Ghostbusters, and Tom and Jerry, just to name a handful. Holmes has also been the subject of some less than serious films such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (starring the great Gene Wilder, who plays the role of Sigerson, the brother that the title refers to) and even appeared in an X rated horror film entitled A Study in Terror. Needless to say, if you wanted to sit down and watch every single movie or television show that has to do with Sherlock Holmes then you won’t be going anywhere for a long, long time.
Sherlock Holmes on Screen is a must-have for every fan of the character. I was highly impressed by the book, so the fans who live, breathe and sleep Sherlock Holmes will be blown away by it. If you know someone who loves Sherlock Holmes then this book is a perfect gift for them. Check it out if you are a fan or even if you aren’t as it is a very interesting and well put together book that will keep you entertained.
Sherlock Holmes on Screen – Author Alan Barnes