Basil Rathbone : The Best Sherlock Homles ever

The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Who else agrees that he was the best sherlock homles ever he kicks ass over all the other people who played him

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

I agree wholeheartedly.

Jeremy Brett was OK for tv, but that's where it ends. For a dynamic, dazzling Holmes-No one will ever beat Rathbone.

Oh, and his Watson, Nigel Bruce isn't as 'bumbling' as people like to make out.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

My favorite Holmes is Jason Gray-Stanford from Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. My favorite Watson is Edward Hardwicke.

Yours Sincerely,
Sherlock's Sparrow

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Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

As I've said before, Brett is OK as a television Holmes, but he hasn't got the weight needed to be true to Holmes-just like Peter Cushing.
Both these actors are too 'light' to be Holmes.

Brett is far too 'yappy' to suit Holmes completely, even though I'm happy to admit enjoying the Granadas series (except for some of the later, dreadful interpretations, e.g. Honorable Batchelor etc)

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Sorry, I have to disagree.

Brett's 'interpretation' falls flat now.

And as for 'read the books', as someone who was the youngest ever member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London, I'm pretty happy with my judgement.

Rathbone, and Ian Richardson, did a far better version of Holmes, than the OTT antics of Brett.

Re: The Best Sherlock Holmes ever

I think the problem here (really) is that Sherlock Holmes is a fairly hard character to display. Rathbone was a decent Holmes, at least; his voice sounded exactly as I thought it should. His actions and thoughts seemed slightly off to the book version of Holmes.

Since we're mentioning good Sherlock Holmes', I daresay Ronald Howard was pretty good, probably inferior to Rathbone in many ways, but superior in some ways, also.

I say there isn't really a 'best' Holmes because all of these actors (not just the two I mentioned) display an underlying emotion of 'Sherlock Holmesiness' in some way or another.

Marty and Doc are making out in the backseat of the DeLorean!!

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

i agree whole heartedly with every word you just said. even with the "as" and "did" bits.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

I think i do agree, Basil Rathbone is my favorite holmes, (on the screen the best is ofcourse in the books) but i do also love brett's interpritation of him. Rathbone has a voice that has a real presence that i think is un-holmeslike but it completly works on film. I think the only problem with the rathbone-Bruce Movies is that becasue of the time and circumstaces in which they were made, they do stray too far from the original plots and format of the Conan Doyle stories, however propaganda filled they may be they are still great. And i have to admit i am not overally keen on Bruce's Watson but he does act as a hard contrast to rathbone's holmes. Jeramy Brett's scripts are far truer to the stories which i think helps to enrich is already exellent preformance.

I went to see 'the hound of the baskervilles' on stage last year and it was amasing. There were only four cast members who played all the characters and were all on stage at the same time. At one point all four of them were playing watson alternating words and dressed in ths same costume and as confussing as it may sound it really worked.

I think Sherlock Holmes is such a great Character that however he is portrayed however bad the acting (and there have been some TERRIBLE ones) there is still something of the essence of conan doyles 2000 greatest creation.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Having only read a few Holmes stories, and that being after having seen dozens of movies, Holmes to me is Basil Rathbone, period, just as James Bond is Sean Connery (who also bore little resemblance to the character in the Ian Fleming novels). I can understand those who dislike the changes a character can undergo as he moves from page to screen, but books and movies are completely different animals, and no one made a better screen Holmes than Rathbone, even though other actors may have adhered more faithfully to Conan Doyle's conception.

http://www.lulu.com/brianwfairbanks

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Hi,
I have feeling, (even thought I never seen Basil Rathbone, as Sherlock Homles, at least I do not think I did) that Basil Rathbone plays a very good Sherlock Homles.

Peace,
Amanda

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever


Without doubt the best Sherlock Holmes, and Nigel Bruce was the best Watson too

Marc

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

I agree, I can't get enough of all the Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

*What if there is no tomarrow? There wasn't one today!* Bill Murray

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Jeremy Brett may have been (in some ways) closer to the literary Holmes than Rathbone, but that doesn't mean he was the best "screen" Holmes-Rathbone was the best and most enjoyable-Brett was good, but Rathbone's elegance and elitism seemed unforced and natural-Rathbone made Holmes' intellectual skill and competence glamorous and that is why he is the most charasmatic holmes (and by default the best)and lets face it, whether one wants to admit it or not, glamour counts for a lot when it comes to cinematic immortality

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Re: The Best Sherlock Holmes Ever-Basil Rathbone

Dear riversedge31-1,
This writer enjoys the radio Rathbone/Holmes & Bruce/Watson story which is a
brilliant version of The Speckled Band.It's the best interpretation I've ever heard of the Conan Doyle story.
Have you heard it?If so, what's your opinion of it?
To Better Days,
BRAD

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Re: The Best Sherlock Holmes Ever-Basil Rathbone

Marty,
A thousand thanks!Just the wordplay between Rathbone's Holmes and the evil
Dr.Grimesby Roylott was improved upon for this radio version.This Holmes doesn't standby as in the story and merely smile ...his sarcastic wit insults Roylott even after the evil Doctor has left the Baker street rooms.
Watson:He's an ugly customer Holmes!
Holmes:Literally as well as figuratively.
To Better Days,
BRAD


Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Agree.

Liked Ian Richardson's interpretation too.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Basil Rathbone was indeed the greatest of Holmes but my personal favorite Watson was always H.Maron Crawford from the old Ronald Howar b68 d TV show.

PROFESSOR MORIARTY!!!!

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

JEAH BABY! XD

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Rathbone's Holmes is alternately revered by nostalgists and reviled by Holmes purists. And both have their points. The nostalgists are right in their assertion that it was the Rathbone/Bruce series that became the definitive screen incarnation of Holmes in the mind 5b4 s of many, cementing the actors' interpretations of the characters into the moviegoing consciousness for all time. And the purists are right in their assertion that the series got the characters quite wrong, and that it took more than a bit of cheek to drop Holmes into WWII-era London and force him to spew out patriotic propaganda to help bolster the national morale during wartime.

I, meanwhile, sit comfortably on the fence between the two camps and watch them fight it out. I am both a nostalgist and a keen literary appreciator of Conan Doyle's original stories. As such, I appreciate the films for what they are, even if what they are is not what the original stories were...after all, they never pretended to be. It was the Rathbone/Bruce series that made me a Holmes fan in the first place, prompting me to read Conan Doyle's tales and seek out other Holmes films. And I still appreciate these old films for that. And I also appreciate the fact that they remind me of my childhood, sitting in front of the television, watching these films on Sunday mornings, when the local Fox affiliate would often run old films, including the Rathbone Holmes series...or watching them on video. The first two VHS movies I ever owned, in fact, were Dressed to Kill and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon.

Still, as much as I enjoy the old films, I have a great affinity for the more faithful adaptations that Granada Televis 16d0 ion produced in the '80s and '90s. Jeremy Brett was a magnificent Holmes, and both David Burke and Edward Hardwicke were far more appropriate in the role than Nigel Bruce. Bruce was a fine actor...but the role, as he was given it, bore no resemblance to the noble, intelligent character Conan Doyle had created in his tales. The Granada series also did a wonderful job recreating Victorian/Edwardian London (I like how the time progression showed up in small ways during the series, such as the use of a motorcar in one later episode)...the series is gorgeous to look at and really does capture the feel of Sherlock Holmes. That said, I have no ethical qualms about popping in a DVD of The Woman in Green when the mood takes me. I still find the old '40s series to be quite entertaining, and it would likely be tied with the Granada productions for my favorite screen Holmes series...for completely different reasons, of course.

So...do I think that Rathbone was the best Sherlock Holmes ever? In some ways, perhaps...in others, no. From the standpoint of upholding the canonical source material, Brett is probably the definitive Holmes. But Rathbone is certainly no slouch, and consistently delivered fine performances as Holmes. I think it would be better to say that I consider him to be among the best Sherlock Holmes actors ever. But you'd have a more difficult time getting me to say that Nigel Bruce was among the best Watsons ever...certainly the funniest, but Watson should not be relegated to the role of comic relief.

So, there's my $0.02...for whatever it may be worth.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

no contest, basil rathbone WAS sherlock holmes

"Did you drink and dial?"

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

There should be no discussion about this. Basil Rathbone is the one and on 16d0 ly Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce is the only Watson. I bought all 14 movies as soon as they were released on DVD and they are all excellent. They are both so good in their parts that it's no wonder they were typecast for the rest of their careers.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

There should be no discussion about this.



Au contraire. I think there should be plenty of discussion about it...especially since both sides are generally adamant that there should be no discussion.

The Rathbone/Bruce films were all quite good, indeed...with, in my opinion, the exception of the first Universal entry (Voice of Terror). And the two subsequent films were sub-par, when one takes into account the entire body of work that Rathbone and Bruce amassed in their respective roles as Holmes and Watson. And, admittedly, of the latter films, Pursuit to Algiers was somewhat bogged down by the musical numbers, which generally broke the tension just when it needed to be heightened (a problem that its successor, Terror By Night, did not experience). But even in those lesser films, the Rathbone/Bruce dynamic shone through, and they're always a pleasure to watch. In truth, Sherlock Holmes's professional capacity could be reduced to "an agency for recovering lost lead pencils," as Holmes himself worried aloud in "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"...and still, it would be worth the price of admission just to watch Rathbone and Bruce at work. It is easy to see why the pair were, and are, so beloved by many viewers.

Then again, it is also easy to see why the Rathbone/Bruce films (and I speak specifically here of those in the Universal run...not the original Fox releases) draw staunch criticism from other viewers. Even at the time, critics were quick to denounce the idea of Sherlock Holmes as a pseudo-espionage agent, combating Nazi spies and succeeding more through luck than through brilliant dedcutive reasoning...and rightly so. The reason for making the early Universal films as they were is understandable enough. But it doesn't change the fact that taking Holmes out of his proper milieu and placing his deductive skills (truly, his raison d'être) on the back burner, so to speak, was a fairly improper move on the part of the studio, and worthy of the derision it received, the talents of the actors aside. It also reflected poorly, not upon Rathbone's personal portrayal of Holmes...but upon the Sherlock Holmes that he portrayed. When Holmes cracks a case, or makes a vital discovery, by sheer good fortune, rather than by the science of deduction, it diminishes the character...regardless of who is playing him, or how capably they handle the role.

And the same can be said of the way Bruce's Watson was written. Not how he was played, mind you...but how he was written. It's no fault of Nigel Bruce's that Watson was portrayed in those films as a bumbling old duffer...but he was, and that's the character Bruce had to play (and he played it well). This is, of course, rather disrepectful to the works of Conan Doyle, and to Conan Doyle himself. Considering Watson an "everyman" sort of character, Conan Doyle made the Doctor a composite...but to a large extent, Watson was quite obviously based on the author himself. Some Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts take umbrage, then, at the way the character was written in the Universal films...and again, rightly so. No one blames Bruce for it, and it is widely acknowledged that he did a magnificent job playing the part, as it was written. But if the question at hand is whether or not Bruce was, hands-down, the best Watson, the side which 5b4 opposes such a notion has a valid point. Because the question is not "Was Nigel Bruce the best Watson when taken in the context of the films in which he was playing the character?"...nor are we asking "Was Basil Rathbone the best Holmes when taken in the context of Universal films?" One could argue that they are not the best because, while their acting skills were top-notch, the characters they played were too far removed from the original characters, as envisioned by Conan Doyle (Holmes, specifically in the first three Universal entries, Watson throughout the series). Under such circumstances, they would be considered quite good, because the strength of their acting cannot be denied...but not "the best," for the aforementioned reasons.

So you see, the question, being such a broad blanket, leaves ample room for debate. And I don't think that debate should be discouraged. Rather, it should be vigorously encouraged...especially since both sides have such valid assertions. Many people consider Rathbone to be the best Holmes, a great many others consider Jeremy Brett's to be the definitive on-screen interpretation. There are, of course, a great many other contenders, Arthur Wontner also being a fairly strong favorite among the "Conan Doyle/Sidney Paget purist" camp. But Rathbone and Brett (fine actors, both) seem to garner the most attention and fan adoration...and with good reason. b68 Both camps have extremely good points as to why they've chosen to back their respective candidates...and I think those points should be introduced and discussed. Because no one is "wrong" here...these are merely differences in perception and criteria. And I think that each side can appreciate the other's reasoning, because everyone has fairly good reasons for preferring a specific interpretation.

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Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Like Bond some really appropriate actors have played Holmes-I do think that Rathbone is the best mainly because not only does he "act" the role to perfection, he brings some real charisma and even star power to the role which some of the other portrayers lacked or had in limited supply-He also was kind of physically imposing which made his performances interesting-Nigel Bruce gets a lot of flack for his Watson, but I thought he and Rathbone had nice chemistry and seemed like old friends

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Rathbone and Bruce were very close friends, but as much as I love old Nigel he was possibly the worst portrayal of Watson there could ever be. To the point of being insulting to the character and Doyle who Watson basically is. But as I said I love Bruce as an actor, he was great in Rebecca and other things. But he played the same character all the time because that was actually his personality.

Rathbone on the other hand was a good actor who could step outside of himself. The radio shows really are better then the movies, since they were pure propaganda during WWII (like almost everything else made during the war years!). As for being the best Holmes? That is a tough one, because he played Holmes his way, as he saw him. I have never been a Brett fan because I find the man creepy in a way that I never found Holmes. I like Holmes, although as a feminist I do think he and I would not have gotten along but since he is a fictional person that's a mutt point

Anyway, Holmes is a tough character to nail down so trying to say any one actor was able to do it better then another is totally subjective. Doyle didn't write Holmes to be overly realistic; he's an amalgam of Dr. Bell and other people Doyle knew. Watson is far more realistic as a person. Not to sa 1c84 y I haven't met people with Holmsian traits, I have, but few people would ever allow for their social quirks to be as obvious as he.

Besides, almost every Holmes movie I've ever seen has ended up campy as h-e-l-l in some way or another, even if it didn't mean to be. And for some reason, other then Hound, no one ever makes the stories as Doyle wrote them! It is always some Gawd awful amalgam of stories that ends up being tantamount to Data mucking about on the Hollow Decks with Jordy. That was far more fun, by the way, then watching just about any Holmes movie.

Long winded opinion over

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Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

I concur with everything you said. Rathbone had the look and style of Holmes, but Brett in the first 2 seasons before his breakdown due to his wife's death was for me the definitive interpretation of Sherlock Holmes.

I wish Rathbone would have done more Doyle oriented stories set in Victorian London, then maybe it would be more of a contest.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Every g b68 eneration has a particular Holmes to point to. The best I've seen recently is, of course, Jeremy Brett.

That being said, I do agree that Rathbone was the definitive screen Holmes. Rathbone brought a rare degree of charisam to the role that no one else has quite matched. He has been a difficult, if not impossible, act to follow so I salute anyone who tries. Rathbone is one of my alltime favorites so picking him is no stretch.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Everything should be seen in its context here....I find the Basil Rathbone Holmes films very entertaining indeed, even the lesser ones, they have little to do with the original stories, but then thoses old warhorses sometimes have their problems as well.....both Rathbone and Brett were terrific actors, and yes Brett is more like the Holmes of A.C. Doyle, but Rathbone was a STAR and for good reason...he is quite irresistible and charismatic, his screen p 16d0 resence made many a mediocre film thourougly enjoyable....and that's why , like it or not, his Holmes will still shine in decades to come while Brett will always just be a good actor.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Anyone ever seen this dude named Matt Frewer do Holmes? He made four Hallmark movies with a practically unknown actor called Kenneth Welsh playing Watson. (At least, I'd never heard of him. And I consider myself very well educated in terms of actors.) Basil Rathbone was the best. Jeremy Brett was all right. And Frewer was way too pompous and weird.

-Lauren

+M*A*S*H+
4077th
"Best Care Anywhere"

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Nice to see someone else with the same opinion as me on Matt Frewer.
Max Headroom as Sherlock Holmes-no good.

Ecclescake and Tennant Whos-in a charity shop near you soon.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

"Elementary, my d-d-d-d-dear Watson."

-Lauren

+M*A*S*H+
4077th
"Best Care Anywhere"

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Vasily Livanov.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasily_Livanov

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Why is it that the only two people sticking up for Jeremy Brett in all this (which includes myself) have had their posts reported and subsequently deleted for no apparent reason?

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Rathbone was okay as Holmes but nothing more. He certainly wasn't Conan Doyle's Holmes - very few of his character traits are present in Rathbone's performance, which presents him as a lively, sociable man. Rathbone is a capable actor, don't misunderstand me. But the character he creates is like some kind of alternate-universe Holmes who is slightly different from the original. Bruce's Watson on the other hand is horrible. Read any of the Holmes stories and it is quite apparent that Dr. Watson is not some bumbling old idiot. He's a perfectly competent, capable doctor.

Now Brett's Holmes captures Doyle's creation superbly. His childish mood swings, his discomfort in social situations, his relish for his job and his depression when he has no cases are all perfectly captured in Brett's work. And the two actors who played Watson opposite his Holmes were equally good, tossing away the cultural perception of an elderly gent blundering about and getting in the way which had stood since Bruce's time in the role. Burke and Hardwicke both capture the essence of the literary Watson - an intelligent, capable and charming man in his own right who happens to be overshadowed somewhat by his best friend. And it's that portrayal of a platonic relationshipbetween two men who are firm friends which for me seals Brett, Burke and Hardwicke's victory over Rathbone and Bruce, because when I watch the Rathbone movies I cannot understand why a man of Holmes's intellect would choose, as a friend and companion, such an utter imbecile as Bruce's Watson.

Bront 2 win!

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Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

I have to agree that the Rathbone/Nigel films did a huge disservice to Watson. Edward Hardewick was a great Watson and Brett captured the eccentricities of Holmes. Rathbone was an idealistic Holmes for really a wide audience. I th 2000 ink if Rathbone had been given the chance to do the Doyle material he would have shined more...but alas, gimmicks were the thing in films those days.

For me it is Brett from the first 2 seasons that is Holmes. After his wife's death and the effect of the medications he had to take were beginning to show later on in the series. Yet for me, he was and will always be Sherlock Holmes of Doyle's while Rathbone is a Holmes of film.

They both captured the electric intensity of Holmes, Brett just knew the character inside and out.

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kid606: I agree 100%! And positive posts about Brett get deleted because this is a Rathbone board and his fans don't like if someone tells them Rathbone was not the *beep*

Rathbone was a great actor, major charisma, great voice. But he was not Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. I read the books as a child and teen, then first tried the Rathbone movies and thought they must be a joke. Then I dicovered Jeremy Brett's Holmes and it was a revelation. He stepped right of the books. And none of those ridiculous made up Holmes stories and dumb war propaganda and horro trash or 40ies look either.
I am not even going to get started on Watson and the clown show the Rathbone movies made out of their friendship/love/bromance. Ugh. Again, Brett and his Watsons stepped right out of the original stories.

I do fully understand why people like Rathbone as an actor and are entertained or fascinated by his charisma. But anyone who claims what he did was true to Doyle's characters is simply wrong. Wrong character interpretation, lack of class (oh gosh, some of the lines he says! Doyle would have rotated in his grave!) even though this is also the fault of the script writers of course, wrong charisma, too nice, too social, too pc. Oh well, I guess we should leave people their American fantasy Holmes, 'cause that's what Rathbone is in the end. People should just not have the nerve to discredit Brett for his perfect interpretation and claim that amiable Mr Sherlock Homes in Washington and his comedy sidekick clown was the true Holmes. I mean wtf?

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Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

As Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson its Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce all the way for me.

Christopher

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

I am convinced that people who say Basil was the best Sherlock Holmes must have grown up with these movies (or at least saw them before they read the books). Don't get me wrong Basil Rathbone is a great actor. His Holmes is enjoyable to watch, he is charismatic and he definitely has screen presence. However the Holmes he portrays is definitely not the one in Conan Doyle's stories. The actual Holmes was not charismatic at all. Holmes was excellent at what he did, a genius, but he was eccentric. He appeared cold and logical at times. In fact it was Holmes' relationship with Watson that showed the human side of the character.

And speaking of Watson, Nigel Bruce is also 100% not Conan Doyle's Watson. Watson was not a bumbling fool as Nigel portrayed. He was smart and noble. More importantly he was the normal everyman that the readers were supposed to relate to. And as I said above he brought out that important human quality in Holmes.



Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

You're not quite right here. I've read the books and had my image of Holmes since I was 7. I grew up with quite another movies. I saw the Rathbone/Bruce series only last year. And I've seen a number of Holmeses in between including very good ones. But I'm one of those who think that Rathbone's Holmes is the closest to the original character. The thing is, Holmes as you see him ("the actual Holmes") may well not be Holmes as I or anybody else see him. This makes all the discussion quite fruitless.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

Agreed, Rathbone will always be Sherlock Holmes. (I like Brett, too, but if I had to choose, there's no choice - Basil Rathbone is just sublime.)

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Another agreed here. He was superb as Holmes, the best i've seen so far.
I watched him last night in The Scarlet Claw. It's a brilliant film and is now my favorite Sherlock movie of all.

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I strongly disagree with the OT. Brett is the closest anyone has ever come to the Holmes as decribed in the original stories. Excuse me, but what does Rathbone has to do with Doyl 5b4 e's Holmes anyway? He only played in one, maybe 1 1/2 movies based on Doyle's work, the rest was propaganda and horror trash that was an insult to the original stories and characters.

Re: The Best Sherlock Homles ever

This is nearly two years ago, but still this insult must not stand! ;-)

"What does Rathbone have to do with Doyle's Holmes?"

Oh. c'mon Holk. Look at the man! Listen to him speak. Watch those brooding close-ups where you can almost see the brain sparks fly. Look at him and Bruce, top-hatted and frock-coated and gas-lit as they follow Henry Baskerville down Baker Street, or search a foggy park for clues. How un-generous do you have to be not to acknowledge that in these moments the two of them embody the spirit of Doyle's charcters as well as it can ever be done?

I agree that Brett did a good job of inhabiting Sherlock too - but that doesn't mean Rathbone has to be dispossessed of his credit does it? He was a great Holmes - and he deserves for that to be said clearly.

Anyone who thinks Robert Downey Jr is Sherlock, and especially Benedict's pesky horde of slashy/ficcy fan girls (gaaawd don't they squeee) - ought to check out the 1939 Hound of the Baskervilles and be reminded of what Holmes was supposed to be.

(ok - rant over)

BTW - It's been Sherlock Holmes Week on The Baz - http://thegreatbaz.wordpress.com
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