|A Basic Guide to Sherlock Holmes Film Books|
|By Charles Prepolec|
|The wide variety of Holmes films and television portrayals have spawned something of a Sherlockian sub-genre…the Sherlock Holmes film books. Here is a loose selection of books focused on the portrayals of Holmes in film and television with the occasional bit of highly subjective commentary to guide you to the best of the bunch. The 1970’s seem to be the starting ground for this group of books, which fits in with the general renewal of interest in Holmes at that time, predicated by the release of The Seven Percent Solution. These books vary in details, but much of the material is repeated. Few of these books are currently in print, but most can be found second hand or through specialty dealers or at your favorite library.|
|The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes by Michael Pointer. David & Charles 1975
This book is broken into two sections, the first being a general history of Holmes on stage and screen which covers most of the better known titles while the second half is a catalogue of performances. There is very little in the way of production details, although television and radio productions are noted. Good black and white pictures throughout. No synopses or cast lists. Only useful as a general overview and covers the films up to They Might Be Giants.
|The Sherlock Holmes File: The Many Personae of Sherlock Holmes on Stage, in Film and in Advertising by Michael Pointer. Clarkson N. Potter 1976
Michael Pointer’s follow up to The Public Life... is a strange mixture of leftovers and oddities. Once again a very readable book that will appeal to the layman far more than the film student. 175 good black and white pictures throughout. No synopsis or cast lists. Strangely laid out with coverage of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London 1968 trip to Switzerland thrown in for good measure.
|Holmes of the Movies: The Screen Career of Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies. New English Library 1976 and Bramhall House 1978
Davies coverage of the films is a brisk read that works well as a general overview. Brief coverage of the best-known films is followed by a minimal filmography that includes The Seven Percent Solution. Some mention is made of the BBC television programs as well. The strength of the book lies in the coverage of Peter Cushing, who provided a foreword. Black and white pictures throughout with no production notes, but fair synopses.
|Sherlock Holmes on the Screen by Robert W. Pohle, Jr. and Douglas C. Hart. A.S. Barnes & Co. 1977
This is the first of these books which gives almost equal coverage to the silent films as to the Rathbone films. A truly useful book for the serious Holmes film student, as well as the average reader. It is clear that a great deal of research went into this book which covers every film up to The Seven Percent Solution. There are detailed production notes and synopses present wherever possible. Black and white pictures throughout. Highly Recommended.
|The Films of Sherlock Holmes by Chris Steinbrunner and Norman Michaels. Citadel Press 1978
Not quite as detailed as the Pohle & Hart book, particularly in terms of production information, but the next best thing. Heavy coverage of the Rathbone films knocks this off balance, but still a very good read with lots of B/W pics and fairly detailed synopses. As usual, the coverage extends up to The Seven Percent Solution with some television coverage.
|The Television Sherlock Holmes by Peter Haining. W.H. Allen 1986. Updated edition Virgin Publishing 1991 and 1994. Published in Association with Granada Television.
(ISBN 0-491-03055-X, 0-86369-537-X and 0-86369-793-3)
Although coverage is briefly made of previous television incarnations of Holmes (at times inaccurate), the strength of this book is as a reference to the Granada series. Filled with interviews and photos (finally some colour) which provide a good basic guide to the Granada productions. Recommended for Brett fans.
|Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies. Calabash Press 1996
An affectionate look at Brett’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the Granada series. Highlighted by a good deal of interview quotes and black and white pics. Davies provides the best look at the man behind one of the most influential Holmes characterizations of all time. Highly Recommended for Brett fans.
|A Study in Celluloid: A Producer’s Account of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes by Michael Cox. Rupert Books 1999
Granada producer Michael Cox provides his own unique and thoughtful insights into the development and progress of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series. A useful and informative book for those interested in the mechanics behind the series as well as more on Jeremy Brett. B/W pics. Highly Recommended.
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|‘Ready When You Are, Mr. Rathbone’: A Review of the Universal Holmes Films by Roger Johnson. Musgrave Monograph Number Three 1992
This small, but beautifully produced booklet only covers the twelve films made by Universal studios. The production notes and synopses are handled with accuracy and affection. It is unfortunate that full coverage was not extended to the previous two Fox films featuring Rathbone. The joy of this item lies in the fact that the author has given films which are usually dismissed as mediocre, the respect they deserve. Highly Recommended.
|Under the Deerstalker and other Hats: Conversations with Douglas Wilmer. Edited by Philip Weller. Franco-Midland Hardware Company. Share Issue Number One. 1990
This brief booklet features the transcript of an interview conducted with Douglas Wilmer in 1990. Wilmer reminisces at length about playing Holmes in the 1960’s BBC television series. A fascinating conversation with one of the more under-rated Holmes portrayers. A few B/W pics included. Recommended.
|The Misadventure of the Sherlock Holmes Pilot: An Account of the Making of the First Pilot Film for a Sherlock Holmes Television Series by Richard Lancelyn Green. Musgrave Monograph Number Six. 1995
Another wonderful monograph booklet from the Northern Musgraves. This features a detailed account of the trials and tribulations encountered in producing The Man Who Disappeared as a pilot for television in 1950. The pilot was a version of The Man with the Twisted Lip and featured John Longden as Sherlock Holmes. Invaluable to anyone interested in this particular program. B/W pics throughout. Highly Recommended.
|An Actor and a Rare One: Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes by Tony Earnshaw. Scarecrow Press 2001
A solid guide to Peter Cushing’s many portrayals as Sherlock Holmes. Pulls together commentary from numerous sources. Fairly detailed synopses supplemented with interview material. B/W pics. Click here for a full review. This book can be ordered from Scarecrow Press.
|Deerstalker! Holmes and Watson on Screen by Ron Haydock. Scarecrow Press 1978.
A rather rambling but fairly comprehensive account of Holmes on film and television. Beginning with Sherlock Holmes Baffled in 1900 and ending up, as so many do, with The Seven Percent Solution. Interesting for some of the odds and ends mentioned. Poorly designed and organized book, but still useful to the Sherlock Holmes film student for the aforementioned odds & ends. B/W pics throughout.
|Sherlock Holmes Screen and Sound Guide by Gordon E. Kelley. Scarecrow Press 1994
A simple reference book which covers more material than all the others combined. As implied by the title, the book covers both the visual and audio mediums. One of the few to tackle radio programs. The film and television coverage is extensive and includes animated features, commercials, parodies and even a (gasp) section on Canadian productions. Listings include airdates and cast lists where available. A few B/W pics. When I need a piece of info fast, this is the book to which I turn first. Highest recommendation. This book can be ordered from Scarecrow Press or click here to order now from Amazon UK.
|Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the Cinema by Scott Allen Nollen. McFarland & Co, Inc. 1996
Going beyond just Holmes, this book attempts, fairly successfully, to track films appearances of Conan Doyle characters. Still results in a book that is 90% Holmes related. Fairly detailed and fascinating for its mention of some rather obscure material but manages to cover everything up to and including Without a Clue. Useful cast and crew lists provided in the appendices. Occasional mention of television programs. B/W pics throughout. This book can be ordered from McFarland Publishers.
|221 BBC: Writing for the World's First Complete Dramatised Canon by Bert Coules. Musgrave Monograph Number Nine. 1998
Okay, not film or television, but radio performances. Bert Coules, who wrote/adapted many of these fine programs, provides an interesting background to the development and progress of the BBC radio series right from inception through to completion. This series has the distinction of being the only "complete" dramatised version of the Canon utilizing the same actors. B/W pics throughout. Information on the series and the booklet can be found at Bert Coules website. Highly Recommended.
|The Great Northern Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Bjarne Nielsen. Antikvariat Pinkerton. 1997
The most complete look at the silent Sherlockian film output, between 1908 and 1911, of the Danish Great Northern studio. Cast lists, title cards and synopses provided for each of the films. Features previously unknown and corrected information. Many B/W pics throughout. Limited to 500 copies. Copies may still be found here. Information on the Danish Baker Street Irregulars can be found here. Highly Recommended.
|Jeremy Brett: The Definitive Sherlock Holmes by Linda Pritchard.
Paradise Books. 2001
A slender trade paperback volume consisting mainly of phots of Jeremy Brett in various roles with half the book devoted to his appearance in the Granada series of Sherlock Holmes stories. Many B/W pics throughout with 8 pages of colour photographs. Minimal text although stage work, telelvision and film roles are listed. A full review can be found here. Published in limited numbers, but possibly still be available from Rupert Books and Classic Specialties. Recommended for keen Brett fans only.
|Sherlock Holmes on Screen: The Complete Film and TV History by Alan Barnes
Reynolds & Hearn. 2001
240pp 236 x187mm paperback full colour cover 100 illustrations
A new Holmes film survey due on November 26, 2001. A full review will be available once released. More info can be found onsite here.
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|Starring Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies Foreword by Ian Richardson
Titan Books. 2001
Another excellent survey-type book from David Stuart Davies, author of Holmes of the Movies. Beautifully illustrated and covers everything up to and including the first two Matt Frewer Holmes films. A full review can be found onsite here. Highly Recommended.
List Price £29.99 Click here now to order from Amazon UK for less!
|The items listed above are only a selection of the many books that touch on Sherlock Holmes in film and television incarnations. Each of the above has something unique to offer the Holmes film fan. Biographies and autobiographies of the key actors and directors are also useful sourcebooks. This page will be updated whenever a new book arrives on the topic.|
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