Monday, 4 February 2013

Rathbone - The Time Travelling Sherlock Holmes

The Sherlock Holmes films of Basil Rathbone began, as many know, set firmly in the Victorian era. Beginning with The Hound of the Baskervilles and followed by The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes they presented us with an image of Victorian England that was familiar to all even if it was one filtered through the eyes of Hollywood.


After these two films the franchise was taken over by Universal who, as is well known, moved the films some forty years forward in time so that they were set during the Second World War (even though the film may have had nothing to do with said war).

However, the studio appeared to go out of its way to preserve something of the Victorian era; an attempt to keep one part of Holmes’s world in its original chronological place.

Take a look at these two pictures taken from The Hound of the Baskevilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – both Victorian set.

Hound (left) Adventures (right) - click to enlarge

Now take a look at these images taken from the Universal series.

Dressed to Kill
The House of Fear

The Woman in Green

Little changes have taken place in the sense that oil/gas lamps have been replaced by electric ones but, aside from this, there is a very Victorian feel about 221B in the Universal films. The studio may have felt bold enough to modernise the world outside of 221B but it was not so brave that it felt it could mess with Holmes’s inner world.

It was almost like Holmes had his own Tardis that remained the same inside regardless of what the world outside looked like. The one fixed point in a changing age perhaps?




For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .

The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK,  Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.

Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USABarnes and NobleAmazon UKWaterstones UKAmazon KindleKoboNook  and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

Eliminate the Impossible is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

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