In spite of the magnificent works in print by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes, and the joy in reading those words penned by this reluctant but highly gifted author, many nowadays are finding less and less time to read them. Fortunately, the Canon (Doyle's complete works of Sherlock Holmes) and related works have been made available over the years in non-literary multimedia formats; radio shows, movies, and television episodes. Much has been done extremely well, and familiar faces and voices--Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, have not replaced, but supplimented the artistic works of Sydney Paget and Frederic Dorr Steele.
Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts should not exclude these celluloid and magnetic tape performances from their collections, for these, too have been responsible to a large degree for the continued notoriety of the Sleuth and the good doctor.
The complete accomplishments on screen, radio, and TV are far too numerous to include here, so allow me to select what I consider to be important works that have done the most to bring Sherlock Holmes and Watson to life....
Several have starred as Holmes on radio -- John Geilgud, Tom Conway, Clive Merrison...but it need not be said who remains the quintessential Holmes. Between 1939 and 1946, 218 episodes were performed by Basil Rathbone, along with Nigel Bruce as a less serious Dr. Watson, whose comic relief disappointed "Doyle's Devoted" but entertained us nonetheless.
Not many of the original episodes have survived, but enough later works are available to provide many hours of enjoyment. By clicking on the heading or image above, you'll find a complete listing of the Rathbone/Bruce radio shows, along with links to where those that are available can be purchased online for your convenience.
(To download a full episode of "The Problem of Thor Bridge" in mp3 format, click on the speaker above.) [6.5MB]
Although Basil Rathbone was not the first to perform as Sherlock Holmes on the Silver Screen (this honor goes to an unknown actor in the 1903 "Sherlock Holmes Baffled"), to many he was the best. Between 1939 and 1946, 14 films of varying quality were released that starred a smooth and cunning Rathbone paired with his loyal but bumbling Watson, played by Nigel Bruce.
Click on the heading or image above for movie synopsis, availability, and soon, video clips.
In 1984, U.K.'s Granada Television, in association with Public Broadcasting Station WGBH Boston brought to TV a beautifully rendered series that followed the stories nearly photographically. The programs starred Jeremy Brett as a rather eccentric but compelling Holmes, accompanied by initially David Burke, then a more natural Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson. Production followed the Canon until Brett's unfortunate death in 1995, leaving 19 episodes undone.
Click on the "TELEVISION" heading or image above for episode listing and availability.