The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume 3 (The Blue Carbuncle/The Copper Beeches)
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The Blue Carbuncle The Copper Beeches
One of the most popular of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, "The Blue Carbuncle" is given exciting treatment in this Granada Television adaptation, featuring Jeremy Brett and David Burke in definitive performances as the famous detective and his ally and chronicler, Dr. Watson. The story concerns the disappearance of a gem called the Blue Carbuncle, which is linked to a terrible history of murders, suicides, attacks, and robberies. The jewel's trail leads Holmes all over wintry London and to a decision that stuns Watson in its legal and ethical implications. Tightly woven and cleverly adapted from the page, "The Blue Carbuncle" is a worthy telling of a classic tale.
Just as Holmes is lamenting the state of his investigation practice, a letter arrives from a Violet Hunter (Natasha Richardson), who seeks advice on whether to accept a position as governess at the Copper Beeches, the home of a genuine oddball named Jephro Rucastle (Joss Ackland) and his equally strange family. This fine adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's clever mystery "The Copper Beeches" is absolutely engrossing, and as usual Brett's performance as the famed detective is flawless and true to Doyle's original vision. Burke does his typically stellar work as Watson, and the addition of one great veteran (Ackland) and one talented then-newcomer (Richardson) to the cast is a real treat. --Tom Keogh
- Production Stills
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Top Customer Reviews
I wouldn't think of anyone else as Sherlock Holmes, after seeing Jeremy Brett portray him.
Watson I seemed to remember as stodgier, and larger.
This was a great reinforcer after having read the stories.
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.
Just one note about the Copper Beeches: Natasha Richardson! Yikes! What a performance. She plays off the embodiment of menace that Joss Ackland actually brilliantly portrays. The pair make this one of the finest and truly scary episodes. Definately my favorite episode.
The Blue Carbuncle is a tale of a stolen gem with a long history of violence behind it. The mystery is okay, but the highlight is Holmes challenging Watson & then analyzing a left-behind hat and deducing a dozen things about the owner from it, to Watson's chagrine.
The Copper Beeches cast is made up of Joss Auklund, familiar to many in the US, and introduces a very young Natasha Redgrave (to British TV audiences). The chief interest is in Holmes' at first dismissive attitude toward Redgrave, and then upon discovery that she is alone in the world, his care and concern for her (against his normal misogynist tendencies) and his growing regard for her intelligence & courage.
Ably backed by David Burke as an intelligent and capable Watson (no bumbling Nigel Bruce type), these adventures are all of fine quality, only varying due to the strengths or weaknesses of the stories told.
Watching this movie reminds me of listening to the radio with rapt attention for any scrap of a clue picked up by the incredible Holmes. The viewer feels like a participant, drawn in to the action, thinking and realism.