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Saturday, June 13, 2020

Sherlock Holmes (1939) / The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

De acordo com o Livro Guinness dos Recordes, Sherlock Holmes é “o personagem literário humano com mais aparições no cinema e na TV”. Em 2012, quando ele foi reconhecido pelo Guinness, havia 254 filmes e séries envolvendo Sherlock, e isso inclui tanto as adaptações diretas do trabalho de Conan Doyle quanto paródias. Um dos atores mais inesquecíveis a interpretar Holmes foi Basil Rathbone, que encarnou o detetive em 14 filmes, começando em 1939, quando “O Cão dos Baskervilles” e “Sherlock Holmes” estrearam.

According to the Guinness Book, Sherlock Holmes is “the most portrayed literary human character in film & TV”. In 2012, when he was awarded by the Guinness, there had been 254 films and TV shows involving Holmes, no matter if they were direct adaptations of Conan Doyle's work or parodies. One of the most unforgettable actors to portray Holmes was Basil Rathbone, who played the detective 14 times, beginning with  in 1939, when both “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” were released.

Descrito como “uma incursão no terror”, “O Cão dos Baskervilles” traz Sherlock (Rathbone) e o doutor Watson (Nigel Bruce) ao encontro do Sir Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene), um herdeiro que está prestes a se mudar para uma mansão em Devonshire após a morte do antigo proprietário. Dr Mortimer (Lionel Atwill) tem certeza de que o tal antigo proprietário, Sir Charles, foi assassinado por um cão colossal, por isso ele contratou Sherlock. Esta primeira aventura foi um grande sucesso, e o segundo filme da dupla chegou aos cinemas em menos de seis meses.

Described as “an incursion in terror”, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” brings Sherlock (Rathbone) and Doctor Watson (Nigel Bruce) to meet Sir Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene), a heir who is about to move to a mansion in Devonshire after the previous owner was found dead. Dr. Mortimer (Lionel Atwill) is certain that the former owner, Sir Charles, was murdered by a canine beast, that's why he hired Holmes. This first adventure was so successful that the second film of the duo hit the theaters within six months.  

Em “Sherlock Holmes”, o nefário Professor Moriarty (George Zucco) acaba de ser absolvido em um julgamento. Seu inimigo, Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) chega tarde ao tribunal com algumas novas provas, mas Moriarty já está livre. Holmes e Moriarty conversam amigavelmente e dividem uma carruagem ao sair do prédio, mas prometem ficar de olho um no outro. Em casa, Moriarty cuida de suas flores e arquiteta um novo plano infalível para cometer o crime do século.

In “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, the nefarious Professor Moriarty (George Zucco) has just been found not guilty of a few crimes. His nemesis, Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) arrives late at the court with some new evidence, but Moriarty is already free. Holmes and Moriarty amiably chat and share a carriage as they leave the building, but they promise to keep an eye on each other. At home, Moriarty takes care of his flowers and plots a new infallible plan to commit the crime of the century.

Em casa, Sherlock recebe uma carta e mais tarde a visita de Ann Brandon (Ida Lupino), que acredita que seu irmão recebeu uma ameaça de morte através de um desenho enigmático. Quando Ann e Sherlock estão conversando, Jerrold Hunter (Alan Marshal), noivo e advogado de Ann, chega para dizer que ela está exagerando. Holmes decide investigar o caso mesmo assim – exatamente como Moriarty imaginou que ele faria. Enquanto Sherlock se disfarça para proteger Ann, Watson se torna guardião das joias da Coroa.

At home, Sherlock receives a letter and later the visit of Ann Brandon (Ida Lupino), who believes her brother received a death threat through an enigmatic drawing. When Ann and Sherlock are talking, Jerrold Hunter (Alan Marshal), Ann’s fiancé and solicitor, arrives to say she’s overreacting. Holmes decides to take the case anyway – just like Moriarty imagined he’d do. While Holmes even disguises himself in order to protect Ann, Watson becomes a guardian of the Crown Jewels.

Essa história parece um pouco familiar? Ela já havia sido filmada antes: em 1916, com William Gillette, que escreveu a peça “Sherlock Holmes” baseado nas obras de Conan Doyle, e em 1922, com John Barrymore como Sherlock. Bem, não foi esta história em particular que já havia sido filmada antes: o filme de 1939 faz algumas modificações, como a adição dos personagens Ann Brandon e Jerrold Hunter, e também a trama com as joias da Coroa.

Does this story sound a bit familiar? It had already been filmed before: in 1916, with William Gillette, who wrote the play “Sherlock Holmes” based on Conan Doyle’s works, and in 1922, with John Barrymore as Holmes. Well, it wasn’t this story in particular that was filmed before: the 1939 movie makes a few changes, like adding the characters Ann Brandon and Jerrold Hunter, and also the plot involving the Crown Jewels.

Nestes dois filmes, Watson serve mais como alívio cômico, sendo um homem simplório sempre pasmo com as deduções de Sherlock – e, em “Sherlock Holmes”, ele inclusive tem ciúmes de um garoto esperto, Billy (Terry Kilburn). Watson já foi de tudo no cânone de Sherlock: originalmente o narrador das aventuras, ele já foi o melhor amigo, o ajudante, o alívio cômico e até o interesse amoroso. Se você viu a série Sherlock da BBC, você sabe que até a senhora Hudson insinua que Sherlock e Watson são um casal.

In these two films, Watson is more like comic relief, being a silly man always baffled by Sherlock's deductions – and, in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, even jealous of a clever child, Billy (Terry Kilburn). Watson has been all kinds of things in the Sherlock canon: originally the narrator of the adventures, he has been the best friend, the sidekick, the comic relief and even the romantic interest. If you have seen the BBC series Sherlock, you know even Mrs Hudson insinuates that Sherlock and Watson are a couple.

Estes dois filmes de Sherlock de 1939 foram produzidos por Darryl Zanuck na 20th Century Fox e têm cerca de 80 minutos de duração cada um. Ambas as histórias se passam no final do século XIX, quando Conan Doyle escreveu suas obras, e ambos os filmes têm um design de produção incrível. Entretanto, havia um problema: estes filmes eram caros demais! Por isso a Fox dispensou Holmes e Watson e os outros 12 filmes com Rathbone e Bruce interpretando os personagens foram produzidos pela Universal e ambientados nos tempos modernos.

These two Sherlock films from 1939 were produced by Darryl Zanuck at 20th Century Fox and run at about 80 minutes each. Both stories are set in the late 19th century, when Conan Doyle wrote the stories, and both movies have great production design. However, there was a problem: those films were too expensive! That's why Fox ditched Holmes and Watson and the other 12 films with Rathbone and Bruce playing the characters were produced at Universal and set in modern times.

“Sherlock Holmes” não foi o primeiro filme a usar a frase “Elementar, meu caro Watson” – “A Volta de Sherlock Holmes” de 1929 foi o primeiro – mas foi este filme que popularizou a frase. Ao contrário do que muitos acreditam, a frase não existe em nenhuma história de Conan Doyle: é uma invenção do cinema.

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” was not the first film to use the quote “Elementary, my dear Watson” – “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” from 1929 introduced it – but it was the movie that made the quote popular. Contrary to popular belief, the quote can’t be found in Conan Doyle’s work: it is a purely cinematic invention.

Basil Rathbone não encabeçava sequer os créditos em “O Cão dos Baskervilles” – o nome de Richard Greene aparecia primeiro porque era uma estrela mais conhecida em 1939. Até Nigel Bruce tinha mais tempo em cena do que Rathbone no primeiro filme! Mas Basil Rathbone, com charme, sabedoria, um violino, um cachimbo e um robe – que foram abandonados nos filmes feitos na Universal – deixou sua marca como Sherlock Holmes, e sempre será lembrado como um dos atores que melhor personificou o famoso detetive.

Basil Rathbone wasn’t even first billed in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” – Richard Greene was, because he was a more established star in 1939. Even Nigel Bruce had more screen time than Rathbone in the first film! But Basil Rathbone, with charm, wittiness, a fiddle, a pipe and a robe – that were abandoned in the movies made by Universal – left his mark as Sherlock Holmes, and will be forever remembered for being one of the actors who perfectly embodied the famous detective.

This is my contribution to The Suave Swordsman: Basil Rathbone blogathon, hosted by Gabriela at Pale Writer.


3 comments:

  1. Great review! I saw this just the other day and it's still one of my favorites of their 14 films, because it is set in Victorian England. Basil's Holmes just seems to BELONG there. :)

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  2. So many fond memories came to mind as I read your fun look at the first two Rathbone/Bruce Holmes' pictures.

    George Zucco is my favourite Moriarty. What fun to see Ida knowing that she is on the cusp of her stardom. When my daughter was young we would listen to tapes of Rathbone (later Tom Conway) and Bruce from their Sherlock Holmes radio program.

    There are snippets of an unpublished memoir by Nigel Bruce (Games, Gossip, and Greasepaint) where he states his dissatisfaction in being asked to make Watson more of a bumbler as the series went on, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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  3. Although I'm not a huge fan of this version of Holmes & Watson, there's no denying Rathbone's suitability to the part. I grind my teeth at the writers for making Watson into such a fool because it's just a lazy way to try to make Holmes look smarter. But even so, their adventures are enjoyable :-)

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