Lexiophiles TGIFilm Selection No. 217

Friday is here and the weekend waiting for you with lots of time to watch a great movie! So this week I recommend you the famous Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes has the more screen adaptations than any book in the world – 211 with 75 different actors playing the role of the most legendary detective! Why should I tell you about the Russian version of Sherlock from the far year 1979? I am a bit tired of the recent most popular Hollywood and BBC adaptations with deliberately chosen good-looking Robert Downy and Benedict Cumberbatch. I must admit it has its own appeal and they are really absorbing and keep you in suspense. But they have nothing to do with Sherlock I got to know as a 10-year old from my sophisticated British-styled book.

But how can Russia be connected with the British culture? When a director from another country tries to deliver his vision of the masterpiece of any culture – as a rule it is a failure. Russian Sherlock Holmes is an unexpected exception. Vasiliy Livanov as a Russian Sherlock was presented an order of the British Empire for his role from the Queen herself! That proves that he was one of the best if not the best of all Sherlocks of all times. His acting skills, charisma and charming voice (also our famous voice of Carlsson) made up for lack of the cool special effects at that time. He may not be as sociopathic as the modern BBC Sherlock but you know you wouldn’t want to mess up with him.

Vitaliy Solomin had to struggle to get the part of Dr. Watson:the crew wanted to see someone older and wiser (they must laugh at the modern version now). Vitaliy looked a lot like Conan Doyle itself which helped him to get the coveted part. It is incredible how the film makers managed to recreate the 19th century London atmosphere using only the streets of St. Petersburg. Also emotional overtures from the main film theme are well-known all over the world now.

Leslie Klinger is an expert in Victorian England and Sherlock Holmes and he advises modern film makers on details about Sherlock. He told Robert Downy Junior: «Benedict Cumberbatch and you are normal Sherlocks but you should take Russian Sherlock as an example because he is truly the best!”. So, you can watch the series here with English subtitles. So make yourself comfortable and be ready to plunge into the mysteries and criminal world of the 19th century England! But take your time and watch all 11 episodes there (you can see the links to them under the video on youtube page)!

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