Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holmes, Studio 360, Fox 9, and The Movie

The Holmes media blitz continues. And we couldn't be happier. The various reports have brought some great attention to the Holmes Collections. In the process, we've been able to introduce a few more folks to the world of Holmes (and gather in a few new supporting Friends in the process).

The latest reports took place last Sunday and Monday. On Sunday night the public radio program "Studio 360" took a look at the world of Holmes. If you missed the broadcast check out this link to hear the program. The blurb for my segment in the story reads "Where would you expect to find the world's largest Sherlock Holmes archive? Try nine stories below Minneapolis, in the rare book collection at the University of Minnesota. Sarah Lemanczyk descends for a visit." I had a great time with Sarah. She was actually the first reporter on the scene to cover the Collections in anticipation of the new movie release (more on that shortly). I was curious how she was going to use some of the effects we recorded (e.g. doors opening, foots going down steps, etc.) She did a great job. I have to admit that I'd forgotten that I told her the State Fair story, but so it goes. We had fun. I enjoyed the other pieces in the Holmes spread as well, especially the chance to hear from Susan Rice, Les Klinger, and David Stuart Davies.

On Monday morning I was a guest on the Fox 9 morning news program. I don't have a link to a clip as yet, but I'm hoping that the station will put one up soon. I'll let you know. Alix Kendall did a nice job with the interview, giving me a chance to show a few things from the collections. I was hesitant to bring any rare objects with me so stuck to some safer choices and duplicate items. The special moment for me was having Alix put on the deerstalker cap that once belonged to John Bennett Shaw. She looked very good with it on, but I think it might have flustered her a wee bit. It was one of those spur of the moment things that happens during an interview. I was talking about the cap, held it up and thought. . . I wonder if she'd mind. She was great! I didn't head into work that day (taking advantage of having the kids home from school), but apparently the phones were ringing off the hooks about seeing Sherlock at the U.

As for the movie. . . I really enjoyed it. I went the morning after Christmas with my daughter. We caught an early show (11 am) at the mall and didn't have to fight for seats. (It was a much different case by the time we emerged from the theater. By then the place was packed with post-holiday shoppers and there was a line for the next showing.) I generally rate movies by how many times I look at my watch. I didn't check the time once during "Sherlock Holmes." I thought it was a fun movie and, contrary to some of my more traditional Holmesians, thought the action was OK. I especially enjoyed Jude Law's portrayal of Watson. Law gave us a well-developed character, in many ways an equal of Holmes, with excellent banter between the two. It was not hard to believe that this man had seen military action or had the skills of a doctor. I also enjoyed the setting. This was a grimy, gritty London and one that had a richness and depth, almost another character in the movie. My complaint was with the use of Mary Morstan, the only real canonical glitch to my eyes. In the original stories Holmes would have known Mary from "The Sign of Four," but in the movie its as if they've just met. I don't know why this was done, but it detracted slightly from my enjoyment. I was pleased at how the physical and mental Holmes came together, as I was with how all of Holmes reasoning was tied together. And there was the set-up for a sequel. Will it indeed be Brad Pitt who plays Moriarty? I gave the movie two thumbs up, or 4 out of 5 stars. And I'm going to see it again (and get it on DVD).

There is one curious matter about the movie: Robert Downey Jr. received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a musical or comedy. "Sherlock Holmes" to my mind is neither a musical nor a comedy. So I'm not sure why his performance and nomination was shoe-horned into this particular category. But I'm glad he was nominated.

I may or may not get another post in before the New Year, but in case I don't--best wishes for the coming year!

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