Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Best Sherlock Holmes has gotta be Vasily Livanov, from the Russian TV series 1979 - abt 1982, I think. Ladies, this gentleman is hot. or at least he was in '79.

You can pick them up sometimes on e-bay. Do a search for Russian Sherlock Holmes. If you get a DVD, make sure it's NTSC format if you live in the US/Canada. PAL format won't work, unless you're a techie genius and have all the doo-dads. If you don't know what NTSC and PAL are, and you live in the states, you definitely need NTSC. They're in Russian with English subtitles, but I assume you can read or you wouldn't be here.

Vasily is a tad on the short side for Sherlock, but otherwise purrrrfect - the most human and least annoying Sherlock. Vitaly Solomon's Watson is also several steps above the rest - not the dumb cluck, but warm, brave, bright and loyal. It's probably no coincindence that the script stays very close to the canon.

& the music KICKS!! When it's on, it's good stuff with a Victorian feel, and adds to the scene. But in spots, they also make a fascinating and rare use of no music in this series, and it really brings home the Victorian pre-electronic era. In 'Red on White,' (which includes 'The Speckled Band'), Helen Stoner goes into her narrative while the only background noise is the clock ticking. It's not only realistic, but very compelling as you pick up her fear that time is running out.

A side note is the presence of Queen Victoria pictures in every place of business. Sherlock was pre-fall of the USSR, so when this was produced each place of business was required by law to have a picture of Lenin above the desk. Did the writers think such laws applied universally, or were they leary of drawing attention to the absence of such laws in other countries?? Because overall, they seem to have tried very hard to be a historically accurate as possible. Well, such are the glories of socialism.

Anyway, great series and well worth your time. So why are the only foreign movies one hears about dreary, depressing, artsy-phartsy films? Why didn't Hollywood bring Vasily over here (hubba hubba!!)? All the drivel they spout about multi-culti, let's see some foreign hunks in good movies. Mel Gibson's okay, but his films are frankly pretty dreary and heavy-duty.

sigh. I feel cheated by Hollywood hegemony.

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