Sherlock Holmes, Sleuth and Slob

I delightful short piece from the Flying Inn (you Chesterton fans will catch the reference) that I simply must share:

http://oldeship.blogspot.com/2010/06/sherlock-holmes-book-vs-movies.html

Since the article is so short, I hope I do not offend by reprinting the whole of it.

Sherlock Holmes: Book vs. Movies

I recently watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie with my wife and loved every minute of it. However, I loved it despite the fact that it was “so different” from the books. After all, everyone knows Sherlock Holmes is a prissy and boring Victorian gentleman with a deerstalker and a cape. After seeing the movie I decided to go back and read some of the stories, which I hadn’t read since I was a kid, and try to envision them with the Robert Downey, Jr. Holmes. Guess what I found out? It looks like my former conceptions of Sherlock Holmes came, not from the stories, but from the old movies and the countless caricatures. It turns out the new movie seems to nail it much closer than any of the typical depictions I’ve seen before. Which just makes me love the stories and the new movie even more.

For example, take this scene with Holmes from the pen of Arthur Conan Doyle:

“’Oh, yes you do, McMurdo,’ cried Sherlock Holmes, genially. ‘I don’t think you can have forgotten me. Don’t you remember the amateur who fought three rounds with you at Alison’s rooms on the night of your benefit four years back?’


‘Not Mr. Sherlock Holmes!’ roared the prize-fighter. ‘God’s truth! how could I have mistook you? If instead o’ standin’ there so quiet you had just stepped up and given me that cross-hit of yours under the jaw, I’d ha’ known you without a question. Ah, you’re one that has wasted your gifts, you have! You might have aimed high, if you had joined the fancy.’”

Now who does this passage seem better to describe?

Or how about these passages describing Holmes’s lifestyle and lodgings?

“[he] keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece”

“[Holmes] loathed every form of society with his whole bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition…”

Just from the description, which of these two would you think of?

I rest my case.

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