DATELINE: Who Hates Sherlock Holmes? The Author
If ever there was a legendary love/hate relationship, it was between Sherlock Holmes and the man who was his spiritual father and creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.
In a French documentary called Sherlock Holmes Against Conan Doyle, we have a battle on the order of a duel with the Napoleon of Crime and the Actors Who Took Him On.
Meant to be a money-making enterprise and a throwaway for a couple of stories, Holmes turned into Doyle’s Frankenstein Monster.
A marvelous and entertaining documentary gives us a blow-by-blow description of Doyle’s losing war with his temperamental genius/consulting detective.
You know who will win this fight. Holmes has survived with hundreds of movies and TV shows, depicted by a variety of actors with waspy disdain—from Rathbone to Jeremy Brett, to the modern versions like Cumberbatch. Thankfully, we never see Robert Downey in the role.
The little hour is chock full of clips of these Sherlocks making annotations on Conan Doyle, a man of some adventure and style himself. Often thought as a Watson type, Doyle was actually more of a Professor Challenger sort.
Killing Holmes was frowned upon even by Doyle’s mother, and money is the great resurrection device. After ten years, Doyle was forced to bring him back from the dead.
Based on an old professor who used to wow the med students with his erudition, Holmes was a clever creation who was enhanced by his narrative fellow, long-suffering and frequent punching bag named Dr. John H. Watson.
If you want to see fleeting glimpses of many classic Holmes portrayals, and rare clips of Doyle, you may enjoy the time, though it covers familiar territory.