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Young Sherlock Holmes | Hollywood Movie Reviews

Sometimes the fictional characters got more popular than they are intended for. This popularity beyond the imagination, sometimes make the ego of the creator hurt. Well, there is nothing wrong in that nor the need to blame such creators. It is the human psychology, and probably mind is created to behave like that in such situation. Sherlock Holmes was the character which was and is ultimately popular. There is nothing wrong in saying that the character Sherlock Holmes (and his assistant Dr. Watson) is more popular than the creator (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Movie : Young Sherlock Holmes
Director : Barry Levinson
Producers : Mark Johnson, Henry Winkler
Screenplay : Chris Columbus
Based on : Characters: by Arthur Conan Doyle
Actors : Nicholas Rowe (Sherlock Holmes), Alan Cox (John Watson), Sophie Ward (Elizabeth Hardy), Anthony Higgins (Professor Rathe), Susan Fleetwood (Mrs Dribb), Freddie Jones (Chester Cragwitch), Nigel Stock (Rupert Waxflatter), Roger Ashton-Griffiths (Inspector Lestrade), Earl Rhodes (Dudley), Brian Oulton (Master Snelgrove), Patrick Newell (Bentley Bobster), Donald Eccles (Reverend Duncan Nesbitt), Matthew Ryan (Dudley’s Friend), Matthew Blakstad (Dudley’s Friend), Jonathan Lacey (Dudley’s Friend), Walter Sparrow (Ethan Engel), Nadim Sawalha (Egyptian Tavern Owner), Roger Brierley (Mr Holmes), Vivienne Chandler (Mrs Holmes), Lockwood West (Curiosity Shop Owner), John Scott Martin (Cemetery Caretaker), George Malp((School Porter), Willoughby Goddard (School Reverend), Michael Cule (Policeman With Lestrade), Ralph Tabakin (Policeman In Shop Window), Nancy Nevinson (Hotel Receptionist) and others…

We know Holmes from his young days and his association with Dr. Watson is an integral part of his persona. But what could have been the possible events happened in the early age to both them? They both have studied of course. As they belongs to the different native they could have meet somewhere in school or hostel or other place. In early age Holmes also might have fallen in love! In young age he might have created (unintentionally) his enemies also which are hunting him (like Moriarty)then after and appearing in various stories.

This idea fascinated the producers (Mark Johnson, Henry Winkler), director (Barry Levinson) and screenplay writer (Chris Columbus) and they come up with a movie portraying some events from the early age of Holmes, Watson and other characters associated with the same. It is the different thing that whether the people liked it or not, but the experiment is praisable of course. The screenplay, direction and acting, all are good.

In London there is Brompton Academy which is considered as very prestigious in the field. A student named Sherlock Holmes was studying there who meet a fellow student named John Watson. Both them belong to the different area of the world and grown up differently. When meeting Watson for the first time, Holmes told him several things about him just by analyzing his look and cloths etc. Which made Watson fond of Watson. Their friendship then lasts forever. Rupert T. Waxflatter is the mentor of Sherlock Holmes, whom he introduced to Watson. Rupert T. Waxflatter is a retired schoolmaster and an inventor. He is working on a machine which can actually fly (remember, airplanes were not invented till than – so he is working on that and during the progression of the movie we see that he ultimately succeed in creating the same and it play a key part in the movie). Rupert T. Waxflatter’s niece Elizabeth is the close friend of Holmes and he is actually in love with her. Dudley, a classmate of both them also like Elizabeth and he is in kind of competition with Holmes to get affection of Elizabeth, who however prefer Holmes over Dudley.

Two fellows named Bentley Bobster and Duncan Nesbitt were shoot by using blowpipe by a hooded figure. The weapons is fired via hallucinogenic thorn. It makes people believe some strange illusions which resulted into their death. Bobster leaps out a window; Nesbitt is trampled by a horse carriage. Holmes suspects some foul play in the incidents and he tried to represent his views to Scotland yard. He was though ignored by the police as he is just a kid. This where we see Lestrade coming into the picture for the first time. He was a policeman that time (later in the stories by Sir Doyle he is the inspector). And the connection Holmes see between the murders was unable to be seen by Lestrade.

Mad for Elizabeth, Dudley plays dirty which resulted into Holmes expel from the academy. Holmes was on good terms with his fencing professor Rathe. Before leaving the academy he is having a fencing match with Rathe. During the fight Holmes was equally competent with Rathe but he is somehow distracted by the light reflection coming through Rathe’s ring and it resulted into his loss in the fight. Holmes also suspected a connection between the dead people and Rupert T. Waxflatter! His doubts were resulted into the correct assumptions when the hooded figure appear again. This time the victim is no one else but Rupert T. Waxflatter himself again. He was also shoot in the similar way and ultimately under the (kind of) trans and illusions he stabbed himself. Dieing Waxflatter tells Holmes his last words “Eh-tar”!!! What does that mean? Actually if you are fond of mysterious novels, movies etc and know the magic of anagrams, the name of the killer (or suspect) is there in that word itself!

Expelled from the academy, Holmes have nowhere to stay and his mentor is also no more. Elizabeth is also now all alone in the world and Holmes have to take care of her as well! Very strange and challenging situations are there and it would be interesting to see if and how Holmes survives from the same. The earlier English literature (and the modern too) have a strong impact of dark forces and evil magic etc. and the same is clearly seen here too.

The movie have weaved some incidents smartly which will be later appearing in Holme’s stories. Like

  • The cap (Inverness cape) Holmes wear (in all the portraits and illustrations) is actually his first trophy and belongs to the antagonist of this movie.
  • Same way the pipe Holmes is found with, is actually something they need to buy during the investigation. It was originally paid by Watson. Later Watson presented the same to Holmes.
  • Holmes is having a brother named Mycroft, (whom we see appearing in the Sherlock Holmes : The Game of Shadows movie) as he mention during the conversation.
  • We see Holmes promising Elizabeth to wait for her to get united, provides us the explanation about Holme’s bachelor life.
  • Holmes’ deerstalker cap belonged to his mentor Waxflatter. It was given to Holmes as gift by Elizabeth.
  • The childhood scenes (under the influence of Drug) of Holmes provides the reason why he had chosen to be a detective.

The movie was also nominated for the special effects. The sets and background music is really nice. The music for the film was nominated for Grammy and also received a Saturn Award.

The movie was not a box office hit but the thriller lovers will definitely like this approach to look at the early life of the legendary fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his aide James Watson.

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