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Case Number 19925: Small Claims Court

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The Search For Sherlock Holmes

BFS Video // 2009 // 45 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // October 16th, 2010

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge James A. Stewart would start looking somewhere around Reichenbach Falls.

The Charge

"What most people forget is that he never, never existed. But that, I suppose, is the power and the magic of Sherlock Holmes."

The Case

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1885 serial A Study in Scarlet was the start of a long association between the author and his famous creation Sherlock Holmes, perhaps too long, since Doyle was ready to toss the detective off a falls by 1893.

Thus, to get into the brilliant mind of Sherlock Holmes, you have to get into the brilliant mind of Doyle. At least that's the angle taken by actor David Hayman (Trial and Retribution) as he presents The Search for Sherlock Holmes, a History presentation.

Hayman tours Edinburgh, where Doyle studied under Joseph Bell, the real-life doctor who was the apparent inspiration for Holmes. He also talks to experts, including actor Stephen Fry (Jeeves and Wooster), who has been a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society since his childhood, and writer Lynda La Plante.

It's a decent summary of the history of Holmes, with at least one bit you might not have deduced: the detective didn't catch on in A Study of Scarlet, so there was a five-year gap between the first and second adventures. Still, you'll probably want more. Thankfully, it's supplied here, in the form of extended interviews.

The bonus interviews include a lot more of Fry, who holds forth on everything surrounding a meeting with Doyle, Oscar Wilde, and an American editor for nearly an hour. There's a lot of good stuff throughout the extras. My favorite bit was when Owen Dudley Edwards mentioned that Agatha Christie, creator of the famous Captain Hastings, recognized Doyle's true literary contribution: the sidekick, Watson.

The picture and sound quality are good, if not showy.

The Search for Sherlock Holmes is probably ideally viewed on DVD, since the extras are actually better than the original documentary, with all the squeezing to get a coherent summary into roughly 45 minutes. It's done for hardcore Holmes fans, but you don't have to be a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society to enjoy it, especially with glimpses of life and literature in the late nineteenth century.

The Verdict

Elementary, Watson (I'm told here that Holmes actually said a shorter version of the famous phrase). Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 87

Perp Profile

Studio: BFS Video
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 45 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Extended Interviews


• Sherlock Holmes
• Sherlock Holmes Museum

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