Like many of you reading this post, I have seen a great many actors don the deerstalker (not necessarily literally) to play Sherlock Holmes. Some are good, some indifferent and some awful.
However, when it comes to the poorer ones, what’s worse – one that is just nowhere near or one that is tantalizingly close but mucks it up with something silly? I would venture to suggest the latter.
|Letting the side down|
In my opinion Matt Frewer has to go down as one of the worst Sherlocks of all time. From the performances that he gives it seems clear that he decided that he needed to channel Noel Coward for his portrayal. However his portrayal never had a hope of being considered highly so one thing that it cannot be viewed as is an opportunity lost.
To my mind Richard Roxburgh and Robert Downey Jnr are more disappointing as they got a lot closer to being good. When I say this I am looking at their characterisation not their film(s) as wholes.
Roxburgh comes in for a lot of criticism for his turn as Holmes but I feel he is done a disservice. He is not helped by the fact that he appears opposite Richard E. Grant who many thought should have been playing Holmes. But if I put Grant to one side I see a man whose portrayal was let down by things that were probably forced on him. His absurdly antagonistic relationship with a too prickly Watson and his taking of drugs during a case were not things he chose to do but were things dictated by the script. They damage his portrayal yet are not his fault. He also should have had black hair. Other than that I thought he did the cold logician with a flash of steel very well.
Downey Jnr would really be up in the pantheon of great Sherlocks if it were not for the fact that he plays an unhygienic Holmes who acts more like a blend of Chaplain (hardly surprising) and Captain Jack Sparrow. The sheer scruffiness is what annoys me. This is supposed to be a man who could blend in with the denizens of the great offices of state. Being of a Bohemian temperament does not mean you have to be a scruff.
I fear that we will be subjected to many more unfortunate portrayals as each actor/director/scriptwriter tries to make their effort stand out from the crowd. I would rather have a Holmes that fitted in with the crowd as opposed to one that stood out for the wrong reasons.
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 USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook 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.