For a brief, shining moment in time, PBS Mystery brought us gems of classic mysteries, perfect, definitive portrayals of Miss Marple by Joan Hickson, Hercule Poirot by David Suchet, and Sherlock Holmes by Jeremy Brett.
Usually the bad guys were well-cast, too. In ‘The Greek Interpreter’ from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (season 2, episode 2, 01 Sep 1985), actor George Costigan channels a chilling Peter Lorre as Wilson Kemp, the mad mastermind behind terrible crimes. This version's ending deviates from the original, which I usually frown upon, but this interpretation disposes of the other bad guy, Harold Latimer, with a satisfying demise in a train car.
But it’s seldom wise to stray too far from the Master’s Canon.
A Little Less Cocaine, Please
I hadn’t seen ‘The Eligible Bachelor’ on PBS Mystery from The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (season 3, episode 2, 10 Feb 1994), when I stumbled upon this ponderous piece, an adaptation of Doyle’s ‘The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor’. Although Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke again star, this one-hour 44-minute made-for-TV-movie doesn’t carry the usual introduction other than the words ‘A Granada film’.
I deduce a little too-much cocaine was involved and not merely Sherlock’s. The director could have lopped off 20% from the running time. Those flash-forwards and flashbacks and flash-sideways dragged the pace into the mud. Here, Sherlock seemed bloated and, if not exactly dissipated and dissolute, disgusted with the whole matter. Still, it’s worth watching if only for Edward Hardwicke’s portrayal.
[Note: I wrote this article some months back and just discovered this episode now blocks North American viewers from watching it, perhaps anticipating my review and doing readers a favor. In lieu thereof, I include this brief clip of a few of its lowlights.]
One commenter, ‘OrchestrationOnline’, writes:
A regrettable adaptation of what was originally a simple story about a nobleman marrying a rich American heiress for her money and getting left at the altar. The producers have abandoned any pretense of faithfulness to the author by the wayside- which missed the original point of this series. When you lose faithfulness, then these stories just become penny-dreadfuls, which is certainly true here.Odd as it seems, sometimes Sherlock Holmes needs defending.