Reader's Exchange

If film viewing is wrong, I don't wanna be right

Shannon's question (who is the better on-screen Sherlock Holmes:  Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett?) may prove controversial, but here's my vote: Jeremy Brett.

Rathbone's portrayal is intriguing and suggestive of hidden depths, but Brett's depiction offers even more of the arbitrariness (sometimes downright hostility) that hints at smoldering emotions and something repressed. 

On a scale of 1-10 in casting appropriateness (1 is "disastrous", e.g., Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind"; 10 is "ideal", e.g., Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice or Zachary Quinto as young Spock in Star Trek), I rate Basil Rathbone an 8 as Sherlock Holmes, compared to Jeremy Brett's 9.  The Holmes character is so difficult that both ratings are sincere compliments; a 10 may not be possible.  There, those opinions should stir up an argument or two!

At least we can agree that enjoying movies doesn't hinder our literacy and doesn't constitute cheating on the books.  I have finally gotten past feeling unprofessional whenever a great novel-related movie comes to mind and I'm compelled to mention it.  Surely it's OK to share that, for example, Gillian Anderson was wonderful as Lily Bart in The House of Mirth, or that Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is available on DVD.  After all, who's to say which literary format speaks more eloquently to the individual?

Comments

kimberly said:

Then we can get into the somewhat sticky situation by believing that some movies are better than the books! Are we allowed to think that? I have several I can think of right off the bat!

# July 23, 2009 12:09 PM

Shannon McIntire said:

You’re not going to stir up any controversy with me; Brett is my choice, too. Partly because of his portrayal but also because I think, on the whole, he had better material to work with. Some of the Rathbone films moved Holmes into a contemporary setting that took away from the character. The Granada series kept him in his proper time period.

I’d rate them both pretty much the same as you do.

Oddly enough, I don’t have a strong opinion about the best Watson.

Books and film go hand in hand for me. If I enjoy one, I’ll usually seek out the other. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for either at this point.

# July 24, 2009 5:30 PM

Patricia Brauer said:

I agree with Shannon-- books and film can go hand-in-hand. They are different media and they may have different agendsa. As long as you realize that, I think you can enjoy them equally if they are well crafted. I tend to like reading the book before seeing the movie because if I see the movie first it colors my imagination as I read the book. One of the chief reason I love reading is that I feel like I am a very minor co-creator with the author as to how I picture and hear the characters and settings. I lose that element when viewing most films. that's the main reason that I ending siding with the group that feels the book was better than the movie, but I've seen a lot of movies that were equally good as the book.

# August 10, 2009 10:50 AM
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