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With Dr. Watson (the also excellent Edward Hardwicke) absent from The Golden Pince-Nez, Holmes is joined by his brother Mycroft (Charles Gray) in an investigation into the murder of a secretary to a chain-smoking, invalid professor. Gray's amusing, inscrutable performance helps supplement that of the valiantly struggling Brett, whose considerable health problems a decade into the series are well known to his devoted fans. The Red Circle draws upon facts related to a one-time, secret Italian terrorist organization. Holmes and Watson investigate a mysterious lodger who tells Holmes of her ties to the Red Circle and of her efforts, along with those of her missing husband, to break free of the Circle's long arm of revenge.
The ailing Brett largely stepped aside for The Mazarin Stone, a radical reinvention of the Doyle story, which was based on a one-act play also written by Doyle and performed in 1921. Instead of Holmes solving the crime, this time it is his brother, Mycroft (Gray again), ably assisted by Watson. (Sherlock does show up from time to time in a dream-like refrain, thinking through some knotty problem in a moonlighted garden.) Despite the absence of Brett from the main proceedings, the episode is still fun to watch, if largely out of curiosity to see Mycroft in action.
Controversial upon its first publication in 1893, The Cardboard Box confronts some nasty consequences of adultery. Holmes and Watson link the grisly mailing of two severed human ears with a complicated love triangle. Holmes, an expert in ears, naturally, has no problem with the mystery of where they came from. But toward what end mortals pursue "this circle of misery, violence, and fear" is another question. Though still ill at the time and at the end of his Holmes career, Brett gives a focused, remarkable performance while Hardwicke lends strong support. --Tom Keogh
- Six episodes: The Three Gables, The Dying Detective, The Golden Pince-Nez, The Red Circle, The Manzarin Stone, The Cardboard Box
- Commentary by screenwriter Jeremy Paul and Holmes expert David Stuart Davies
- An interview with Adrian Conan Doyle
- Production notes
Top Customer Reviews
For me, Brett's is the truest Holmes ever attempted in movies or TV, and the Granada productions more authentically Victorian-era London than any made before this fantastic series or since.
There are some who deride Brett's later portrayals of Holmes, when the actor was very ill and had lost the sleek, angular look that Holmes had been endowed, both by his creator Doyle and his most popular illustrator, Sidney Paget. For me, that criticism is pure balderdash.
When taken in its entirety, the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series stands the test of time as the definitive telling of the stories, the later episodes underscoring Brett's courage as he faced personal tests that shattered his emotional and physical well-being. I would argue that it is that very human element in Brett's portrayal that makes his Holmes so breathtakingly accurate, compelling and poignant. Holmes denied his humanity and in so doing became more vulnerable as a human being exposing deep character flaws and weaknesses. In Brett, we not only see but feel those shortcomings, and something deeper, too: each person's ultimate struggle to find his or her place in life before death calls us home.
There are 36 episodes and five feature-length films in the Brett-Granada series that spanned 1984 to 1994. Holmes' "Boswell," otherwise known as Dr. John Watson, was adeptly played by David Burke until 1985, then Edward Hardwicke for the remainder of the series.Read more ›
This collection also includes an interview of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's son Adrian. He gives the interviewer a tour of a Sherlock Holmes museum and provides commentary and insight into the personality traits and legacy of Sherlock Holmes.
Overall, this a good set to have. And it is transferred from the original negative, so the visual quality is pristine. But I would make sure you have the "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," "Return of Sherlock Holmes" and "Casebook of Sherlock Holmes" collections first. They are more consistent and feature a healthy, vibrant Jeremy Brett.
Sadly, Jeremy Brett was in quite bad health when these final episodes were created and would die several years after. Too bad. He was a gifted actor and should rightly be credited with "bringing to life" one of the 20th Century's most beloved fictional characters.
People may quibble about liberties taken here and there with the stories, but for the most part the "Memoirs" series, like all the others, is very high quality, well-written, produced, and acted. Again, I'm anticipating techno-files may complain about the "transfer" as they have on past releases, but I believe MPI has done the best they can and the DVD is still FAR superior to owning these on videocassette.
Don't purchase these as an introduction to the series, start with the "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." However, if you're here, its probably because you already own the 3 prior DVD packages, "Adventures," "Feature Film Collection," and "Return," all of which are excellent.
Are these worth purchasing? Absolutely. High quality, intelligent, and family-friendly entertainment you can enjoy for a lifetime. Pull out every couple of years to watch them over and share with friends and family.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No one portrayed Sherlock Holmes like Jeremy Brett. Sadly when he made this last part of the series, he was dying. His acting suffered a bit for it. Read morePublished 25 days ago by KlondikeMatisse
I hadn't seen these episodes on TV. Very enjoyable. Jeremy Brett is the perfect Sherlock.Published 1 month ago by Roxie Lee