Advertising

Originally published December 15, 2011 at 6:08 AM | Page modified December 15, 2011 at 6:08 AM

Scarecrow Video recommendations for 'Sherlock Holmes 2'

I honestly don't remember if I wrote one of these columns for the "original" installment of the new Sherlock Holmes series of films. That film only came out two years ago, which speaks to just how terrible my memory is. In any case, this week Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law return as Holmes and Watson in the sequel, subtitled A Game of Shadows. Apparently our villain this time around is the legendary Professor Moriarty, and it involves the World's Greatest Detective putting on a dress a la Bugs Bunny vs. the Tasmanian Devil.

No comments have been posted to this article.
Start the conversation >

advertising

I honestly don't remember if I wrote one of these columns for the "original" installment of the new Sherlock Holmes series of films. That film only came out two years ago, which speaks to just how terrible my memory is. In any case, this week Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law return as Holmes and Watson in the sequel, subtitled A Game of Shadows. Apparently our villain this time around is the legendary Professor Moriarty, and it involves the World's Greatest Detective putting on a dress a la Bugs Bunny vs. the Tasmanian Devil.

So here are our picks for the best previous adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation.

First there's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, from 1976. Robert Duvall plays Watson, who lures his friend and mentor Holmes (the great Nicol Williamson) to Vienna, where he'll be treated by Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin) for his crippling addiction to cocaine. Apparently the drug has been causing Holmes to believe that his brother Mycroft's former tutor, one Professor Moriarty (Sir Laurence Olivier), is also a criminal mastermind. This was based on a novel by Nicolas Meyer, who also wrote and directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as well as that weird Time After Time film, the one where H.G. Wells chases Jack the Ripper to '70s San Francisco. More of a comedy-adventure than a mystery, Williamson is my favorite screen Holmes.

Maybe I've recommended it before, but you have to check out 1988's Without A Clue, a more completely comedic spin on the character. In this version, Watson (Sir Ben Kingsley) is the real brains of the operation. Reasoning that nobody would accept him as a brilliant eccentric, he hires a blundering idiot of a drunken actor (Sir Michael Caine) to pretend to be his creation, Sherlock Holmes. I could watch these two actors shout at each other all day, but sadly this movie only runs about an hour and 40 minutes. Still, an overlooked gem.

Then there's Zero Effect, another film I'm sure has appeared here before. It stars Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero, the world's greatest detective. Unfortunately, Zero is a complete basket case. Though a brilliant detective, he's totally unable to function in regular society (unless he's on the case), not to mention paranoid and potentially violent. His poor assistant Steve (Ben Stiller, before he was super famous) is stuck trailing along, trying vainly to keep up with this madman. They find themselves embroiled in a blackmail case. Loosely based on the Holmes story "A Scandal In Bohemia", which features Holmes falling in love with a lady con artist, this is a great little indie film from the late '90s. Shot and set in beautiful Portland, Oregon, by the way.

Oh, and don't forget the new BBC adaptation "Sherlock." It's updated to modern times and stars a gentleman named Benedict Cumberbatch, which is the coolest name ever.

Till next week!




Advertising