Basil Rathbone… myΒ hero

Okay, so I posted in February how I am in love with Sherlock Holmes and recently ordered some old DVDs (Rathbone and Bruce from the 40’s and Jeremy Brett from the 80’s).

Well, I got them… finally! πŸ™‚

As luck would have it, my schedule didn’t allow a Sherlock Holmes weekend and there were technical difficulties… (I need another surge protector for my living room tv. The Comcast guy didn’t tell me he unplugged my dvd player to plug in the cable box, grrrr.) BUT I have snuck a few episodes in here and there this weekend.

Wow.

First of all, the UCLA Film & Television Archive did an AMAZING job at restoring these films. AND they put a note in the box explaining it. I actually learned a lot! Here is a blurb from their website

Until 1950, films were produced using nitrate cellulose film stock, a chemically unstable and highly flammable material that inevitably deteriorates and turns to dust. Film preservation historically referred to the transfer of nitrate films to more stable acetate (or safety) film stock. However, acetate film stock also deteriorates, giving rise to a condition called “the vinegar syndrome”; and many of the color films made since 1950 are also subject to irreversible color fading. Many of the Archive’s preservation and restoration projects deal with these post-1950 titles. The Archive is relying increasingly on a new polyester film stock, which appears to be much more stable if kept in optimal storage conditions.

They really did a nice job. They found the original front end titles and back end credits that were thrown away and restored the film to it’s former glory. There were only a few they couldn’t get all the pieces for or were irrevocably damaged.

So the first few episodes, well really, movies (they are over an hour long and were shown in theatres) are totally time warp Sherlock Holmes. They brought Holmes and Watson into WWII to help fight the Nazis. HOW COOL. It is rather funny to see them dressed in the period attire of the 40’s rather than the late 1800’s but still cool. The writers did a great job adapting Conan-Doyle’s character to a new time period. They stayed pretty true to the character. (if you ignore the fact that they say “It’s elementary, ____” to nearly every character and that is not something that Conan-Doyle wrote.)

So needless to say, I really am enjoying this collection. And I have two recommendations for you.

1. If you are watching late night tv and see a Brett or Rathbone Sherlock Holmes coming on, WATCH IT!

2. Help support the archive. What they do is invaluable and we have preserved so much history through their techniques.

Share

Recommended Posts