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Throwback Thursday ~ Young Sherlock Holmes

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

Noting that book blogging often focuses on new releases, here’s how Throwback Thursday works:

  1. Updated! Pick any media (or non-media item) released more than 5 years ago. Remember to keep it book-related!
  2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it.
  3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
  4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

Movie directed by Barry Levinson, written by Chris Columbus, produced by Steven Spielberg; based on the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle

If you’ve visited this blog at all, it should come as no surprise that I am a fan of most things Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are the first literature I remember utterly devouring. During one summer in the 80s, I went through pretty much the entire canon. Doubtless, my interest in Holmes was probably sparked by two things. The first, the Granada TV series featuring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes which debuted in 1984. (Which could be the subject of a Throwback Thursday too, but I’m probably going to talk about that series a lot as I reread the canon this year.) The second, Young Sherlock Holmes.

I didn’t see this movie at the theaters, but caught it quickly when it was released on cable. As with much Sherlock Holmes pastiche, you have to turn a slightly blind eye to canon and just sort of go with it. Instead of Holmes and Watson meeting during the events of A Study in Scarlet,  they first encounter one another as boys at a boarding school. When his eccentric mentor dies after suffering from panic-inducing hallucinations, Holmes is on the case. This movies is good fun. The characters are fairly true in spirit. Holmes is overbearing, pompous, and a know-it-all, which is pretty much required. Watson is a bit on the bumbling side, but is the grounding factor in Holmes’ life. The movie is a full-on 1980s Spielberg adventure. Young, daring heroes smartly solve problems amid a movie filled with eye candy. Young Sherlock Holmes features the first fully computer generated character: a stained glass knight that features prominently in one of the hallucinations. The effects hold up pretty well considering that the movie is nearly 30 years old!

Why watch it/read it today? Right now is a great time to dip into the Holmes mythos. Two of the three current franchises would seem to owe a debt to Young Sherlock Holmes. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock could be an on older, slightly more severe version of Nicholas Rowe’s wavy-haired Holmes, and Guy Ritchie’s action-filled movies could be direct sequels. Well, after Watson gives up custard tarts.  (CBS’s Elementary is the exception, and still good TV.) Doyle created an enduring character with Holmes and popularized mysteries solved through ratiocination. The stories are still entertaining, quick reads.