A Superb Sherlock Holmes Comes to DVD -- A Must Have
Dan Sherman | Alexandria, VA USA | 09/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The (British) Granada Television Sherlock Holmes Series was superb, presenting the majority of the short stories, along with two of the novels (Hound of the Baskervilles and Sign of Four) in marvelous period adaptations of Conan Doyle. This DVD looks like a great introduction to the series, presenting the first four of the episodes which first aired in the early 80s. The look and feel of the productions were just marvelous, in that they really captured Baker Street at the end the 19th century. The key to the series was, of course, the late Jeremy Brett who really defined a new style of Holmes -- brilliant of course, but very moody -- sometimes excitable, sometime melancholy -- always very theatrical. Although this may not be a Holmes to everyone's taste, it really is quite close the Holmes presented in the stories and novels. Jeremy Brett quite simply became Sherlock Holmes for this series, soaking up his Holmes lore, and really presenting a great characterization over a period of nearly 10 years. Other characters (including the two Doctor Watsons) were also well drawn throughout, though of course it is Brett's Holmes that dominates. The TV series was quite faithful to the original, though it was quite often necessary to fill out the stories with subplots beyond what could be found in may of the short stories. I hope that there are many more DVDs coming out from the series. At 4 episodes per DVD, this is a great bargain in that VHS tapes of individual episodes cost about $15.This is a must have DVD if you have any interest in Sherlock Holmes!"
Terrible Mastering Ruins Greatest Holmes Adaptations Ever
Thomas Burka | New York, NY USA | 10/13/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Granada TV adaptations -- featuring a spectacular acting job by Jeremy Brett as Holmes -- are the most faithful to Conan Doyle's works ever. Holmes is not the most likable man, with an outsized (but well deserved) ego, eccentric and unusual, arrogant, quick-tempered, but an intriguing genius. However, little attention has been paid to the transfer of the original source material to DVD. The Dancing Men, one of the best episodes of the series, and one of the best stories, suffers from warbling pitch variation in spoken dialogue and music. The image moves slightly up and down and from side to side at times, as though it had been transferred by playing the filmstock through a moviola to digitize it. The image quality is somewhat poor, sometimes very grainy, and sometimes marred by small reappearing spots and blots (as though they used a worn copy the filmstock for the transfer). The images are also somewhat fuzzy, like VHS, and I can honestly say that my VHS copies (taped from broadcast TV) are better. A very disappointing transfer of this wonderful material."
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
R.Vandlac | Sherwood, OR USA | 10/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Absolute perfection! I have been a fan of this great series for many years and its debut on DVD cannot be too strongly welcomed. Brett's portryal of Holmes is magnificent (very true to the actual tales)and I particularly enjoy David Burke as Watson. Burke's Watson has a greater sense of compassion and kindness than Edward Hardwick in later episodes. Comparisons aside, these are the finest Sherlock Holmes productions ever and it will be a shame if the entire series is not transfered to DVD! Speaking of "transfer", the video quality of this disc is very good (much superior to the original VHS tapes) and the 5.1 sound is excellent. My copy however had a bad audio track on the "Naval Treaty" episode, but I will have our friends at Amazon.com replace it for me rest assured. This is one DVD you can't and should not live without! Well done Granada TV!"
kawwwwww | Cranston, RI United States | 03/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Our Well Studied and Deliberately Executed Holmes:In reviewing this DVD, I'm actually examining the actor's performance as the character in the entire series, rather than those encapsulated within the specific titles. I have seen these episodes, and could do a separate review of each, but I think in this case that would actually be inappropriate. I can say, however, that these episodes are very good, and represent this outstanding series very well. The DVD itself is also of very high quality, as far as sound and picture are concerned. Granada did a first rate job, that has translated itself very handily to the new format.Jeremy Brett's Holmes is something other than the various Holmes' we've been exposed to in the past. I was raised on Rathbone. But when I saw Brett's performances when they first aired on PBS, I slowly forgot Rathbone's influences. Brett immerses himself in such a way that must make it very personal to him, then displays the character of Holmes in a forceful and deliberate manner - and in a depth we may not see again.The key thing to understanding Holmes, I think, is that he is unique as a genius as any genius would be. Exercising his talents to there fullest doesn't give him super-status as an overall human being by erasing other flaws. Instead, his talent takes precedence, accentuating his human flaws by casting them into a state of neglect that highlights them. Brett understands this, clearly because he himself is either a bona fide genius, or he has somehow deciphered the code that generates a genius' idiosyncratic behaviors. I can't say which. I can say that I really believe his Holmes. Brett may as well BE Holmes.My second favorite aspect of Brett's Holmes is the level of humor. Great care was taken here to make each little "quip" more situationally true to the character. His humor is really more an expression of how he so uniquely relates to those around him - and is frequently not acknowledged by the other characters - being that they are fairly unaware. We, as the audience are in-on-the-joke, which is nice, and it's usually a pretty funny one.I guess I just want to say that I think a great deal of this series. Jeremy Brett is the best, and here, has given us so much! He actually died while still "in service" to the roll. Not to sound too stupid about this, but I think there was something very appropriate in that. It's like he waited until he had gained perfection before moving on.Bravo!"