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28 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Very Highly Recommended!

Author: princessromy1 from United Kingdom
18 January 2005

This is a must see for Sherlockians and uninitiated alike. 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes', (as with the 'Adventures'), contain some of the best episodes of the Granada TV series. The writers stick closely to the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle and when they do depart there is good dramatic reason. Jeremy Brett continues to dazzle as Sherlock Holmes despite difficulties in his private life at this time, and Edward Hardwicke's Watson (incidentally, whose father Sir Cedric Hardwicke played Holmes once upon a time) is just as intelligent and warm as his predecessor David Burke in the 'Adventures'. Yes, Watson IS intelligent, contrary to very unfair previous portrayals. Hardwicke's style is more naturalistic and perfectly complements Brett's expansive theatrics.

The lively 221b Baker Street set is a delight, and the music must be given special mention, as it is excellent. Patrick Gowers takes the Baker Street theme and embellishes and embroiders it to suit the mood and tone of each episode. He is able to vary it from choral to Renaissance to concerto style effortlessly. The supporting cast is usually strong, though sometimes there will be the odd one who overdoes it a bit. But you cannot accuse anyone involved in these productions with half-heartiness.

Cracks only begin to show in the last few episodes of the series from 'The Devil's Foot' onwards, filmed after Brett experienced a mental breakdown. He seems to lose some of his energy and lustre, but the effect is that of an older, wiser and more compassionate version of the Great Detective, who is so often described as being cold.

All in all, I highly recommend this series; you will never see such a happy combination of good screenplay, music, costumes, set design and of course excellent actors in the same production of the adventures of the elusive Sherlock Holmes.

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27 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Superb

Author: kmaclean from Ann Arbor, Michigan
13 August 2001

The Return of Sherlock Holmes continues the excellence of the original series. Jeremy Brett (Jeremy Huggins) is quite clearly the best Sherlock ever. These films are superbly done, the acting is uniformly excellent, and what I enjoy most of all is the meticulous attention to detail in all of these productions. They all have the feeling of the 1890's, I feel like I am transported back in time. I have purchased or recorded all of these videos, and and have viewed them regularly over the past 15 years. They are so well done, one never gets tired of seeing them. If you are a fan of Conan Doyle or if you are just looking for fine entertainment, you can't miss with these films.

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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Excellent representation of Conan Doyle's celebrated adversary of crime

Author: Filmtribute from United Kingdom
7 December 2003

In this Granada television series, Jeremy Brett presented us with a definitive portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. The attention to detail was superb with an interpretation far closer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation than previously shown on film by the deerstalkered Basil Rathbone et al. Jeremy Brett's wild, haunted and melancholy performance of the second series in 1985 was, by his own admission, heavily influenced through the personal tragedy of the loss of his wife to cancer. He adapted the role somewhat for the return series and managed to introduce some levity, even though he found it difficult to play a character who was all mind and no heart. David Burke and his successor Edward Hardwicke (who took on the role in the third series: `The Return of Sherlock Holmes') both gave intelligent performances as Holmes' crony, Dr John Watson. Brett and Hardwicke made an exceptionally good team and brought the relationship alive with a believable friendship more than any previous characterisations had done.

The series combined fine period detail and atmosphere to create a very credible late 19th century London, and the dialogue replicated the novels fairly closely. The main drawback of the storyline adaptations and format is that they may have removed some of the exploration into the incisive detective skills of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and the series became sanitised with the playing down of both of Holmes' predilections for drugs and the violin. Unless I am suffering from false memory syndrome I seem to recall someone's dramatisation where Watson recoils from Holmes' ear-splitting scratching, which I now find is contrary to Conan Doyle's assertion that Holmes was "not only a very capable performer but a composer of no ordinary merit". The problem may lie in actually dramatising the novels, as Jeremy Brett himself observed, they are better read, and he described performing the action of crawling through the bracken like a golden retriever as "hysterically funny". The concept of the images being better seen in the mind's eye would also explain why the excellent BBC radio productions of the 1990's, with Clive Merrison and Michael Williams as the sleuth and good doctor, worked so well.

The choice of guest actors was consistently of a high standard and is one of the reasons why I remember `The Abbey Grange' so fondly, with a note of thanks to the director Peter Hammond. The episode notably deals with Conan Doyle's expose on the cruelty of marriage in locking women into an abusive relationship without any means of escape. Holmes is called to investigate the savage murder of an Earl in his Kent mansion and finds that the Australian wife and her maid apparently survived the attack. The two women obligingly give compelling evidence to incriminate a notorious local gang. As usual Holmes' mind is still trying to fit contradictory pieces of the puzzle together after leaving the house when he has a lucid flash of insight and promptly returns to the scene of the crime. More evidence is unearthed to refute the honourable ladies' story though they will not budge and Holmes sets off on a trail as any diligent detective might follow. However, he of course tracks the real culprit down and brings him to justice but there is a novel twist and a very romantic solution. A very rewarding episode demonstrating Holmes' brilliance and compassion to divert man's base cruelty and the rigid laws of the land which surely would have seen a gallant hero hung.

Charles Dickens was also moved to write on the similar theme of a beautiful and intelligent woman imprisoned in abusive matrimony in one of his most enduring novels, `Great Expectations', originally serialised some 37 years previously in 1860-1861, and his earlier `Hard Times' also touches on the prohibitively expensive, complex and discriminatory proceedings for divorce prior to the 1857 Divorce Act. In Victorian England the only married woman with any rights and an independent identity was Queen Victoria herself. Men could beat their wives under law as long as the rod was no greater than a thumb's thickness and a woman was deemed to have no just cause to refuse conjugal rights. Sadly such attitudes are only too prevalent today in this technologically advanced but in many ways still primeval world. Evidence shows that matrimony benefits men at the expense of women and it is hardly surprising that in the UK a third of marriages fail. Indeed, Schopenhauer speaks of a "life force" that brings people together to reproduce, but warns that the chosen partner is not necessarily right for you. The concern for society as a whole should be on minimising the negative effect on the unfortunate offspring who may of course have unwittingly contributed to the marriage breakdown. A factor that is so often blatantly ignored by sensational newspaper stories when intruding on public figures' private lives.

Oliver Tobias (`Luke's Kingdom', also directed by Peter Hammond with Peter Weir) finds that his gruff rigid manner works very well here as the merchant captain and friend driven to the fatal act of defending his beloved from her brutal husband. The disturbingly beautiful Anne Louise Lambert, who fits the narrative's description to the letter, plays the free spirited Miss Mary Fraser from Adelaide. After a dazzling beginning in 1975 in Peter Weir's hauntingly enchanting `Picnic at Hanging Rock', which led to a prominent role in Peter Greenaway's artful `The Draughtsman's Contract' (1982) as well as this episode in 1986, it is both perplexing and disappointing that Lambert's international film career has faltered. Despite appearances in several Australian features and a handful of overseas projects, since starring in Susan Dermody's 1993 largely unknown but extremely pertinent `Breathing Under Water' Lambert has only been seen in a few cameos including an ailing mother in ABC's 2001's controversial prisoners-of-war series, `Changi'.

The exclusive video rights in the UK for the Granada TV series have passed from VCI to Britannia Music so that membership is necessary to obtain copies of the videos in PAL format.

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25 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Excellent interpretation of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes

Author: Filmtribute from United Kingdom
12 April 2001

In this Granada TV Series, Jeremy Brett presented us with, in my view, the definitive portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. The attention to detail was superb with an interpretation far closer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation than previously shown on film by the deerstalkered Basil Rathbone et al. Jeremy Brett's wild, haunted and melancholy performance of the second series in 1985 was, by his own admission, heavily influenced through the personal tragedy of the loss of his wife to cancer. He adapted the role somewhat for the return series and managed to introduce some levity, even though he found it difficult to play a character who was all mind and no heart.

David Burke and his successor Edward Hardwicke (who took on the role in the third series: `The Return of Sherlock Holmes') both gave intelligent performances as Dr John Watson. Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke made an exceptionally good team and brought the relationship alive with a believable friendship more than any previous characterisations had done.

The series combined fine period detail and atmosphere to create a very credible late 19th century London, and the dialogue replicated the novels fairly closely although production necessities altered some aspects of the stories.

However, the Granada TV series' storyline adaptations and format may have removed some of the exploration into the incisive detective skills of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and the series became sanitised with the playing down of both of Holmes' addictions to cocaine and atrocious violin scratching.

The problem may lie in actually dramatising the novels, as Jeremy Brett observed, they are better read, and he described performing the action of crawling through the bracken like a golden retriever as `hysterically funny'. The concept of the images being better seen in the mind's eye would explain why the excellent BBC radio productions of the 1990's with Clive Merrison and Michael Williams worked so well.

The choice of guest actors was consistently of a high standard and I remember ‘The Abbey Grange' in particular as it provided a personal treat to see Anne Louise Lambert (Picnic at Hanging Rock) display her unique talents in a sadly all too rare role for her. Congratulations are due to the director (Peter Hammond) on an inspired piece of casting.

The exclusive video rights in the UK for the Granada TV series have passed from VCI to Britannia Music so that membership is necessary to obtain copies of the videos in PAL format.

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22 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Jeremy Brett plays by far the best Sherlock until today.

Author: PeeJay from Apeldoorn, Netherlands
26 October 1998

A good atmosphere fitting the Conan Doyle books takes you back to the days of the late 19th and early 20th century. Dialogs are often exactly or nearly the original text. Jeremy Brett plays a great Sherlock, with all the weird habits, qualities of character and humor which made this detective so popular that his return was requested after his death. Even the sense of superiority Sherlock shows is great. Watson is a good partner who is a background person, but present when necessary and so creating a good couple, and the right antipole. Just a good series for who loves the books, adding a person to a fiction character.

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Genius

Author: MetalMiike from England
31 January 2005

Holmes, having been missing for a year (falling off a 300 foot water fall while tackling your arch nemesis does tend to inconvenience you a bit) returns nuttier than ever. Hardwick is the new Watson after Burke left to join the RSC and is more fatherly; Jeremy Brett is of course the only Sherlock Holmes, the love-child of Peter Cushing and Kenneth Williams (those that have not seen the show cannot even imagine how camp he gets at times) and the show is more dark than before thanks mainly to the mental and physical problems Brett was going through at the time of his wife's death. This actually works, as Holmes goes "cold turkey" in THE DEVIL'S FOOT so your really start to believe he's burnt out and there are hints of a self-destructive personality coming out. Best of all, Watson's detective skills are approaching Holmes', a far cry from that ridiculous portrayal by Nigel Bruce. As if a man of Holmes' intellect could put up with such idiocy. Or my spelling for that matter.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

More greatness

10/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
30 March 2008

Thank goodness for the wonderful folks at Granada Television. In the mid 1980s, they created the absolute best Sherlock Holmes ever to make it to the big or small screen. Unlike all the previous versions, which LIBERALLY deviated from the Conan Doyle stories, the Granada films tried to be perfect in every detail.

Unlike the caricature of Holmes that you see in previous films where he wears a deerstalker hat, smokes a curved pipe and spouts "elementary, my dear Watson", this Holmes is true to the original character. Additionally, Dr. Watson is not the bumbling idiot as portrayed by Nigel Bruce (Bruce should burn in Hell for how he ruined this character).

The first mini-series by Granada was exceptional and Jeremy Brett was the greatest Holmes ever. Oddly, they did switch actors who played Watson, but the series went on otherwise as before--exceptional and wonderful in every way. One person commented on the bland dialog, but it was very true to the stories--I am GLAD they didn't "spice it up" but chose to remain true to Conan Doyle's vision.

Intelligently written and wonderful throughout.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The Best Sherlock Holmes Ever

8/10
Author: Alex-372 from The Hague, The Netherlands
24 December 2004

Jeremy Brett was my generation's Sherlock Holmes, the way Michael Praed is my generation's Robin Hood.

Both series have been done before (and since), but never better. The only series that comes close is the pre-Holmes/true life version of Arthur Conan Doyle's apprenticeship at the feet of the brilliant dr. Bell, called "Murder Rooms".

Jeremy Brett is excellent as the cultured, sensitive (gay?) king of detectives. Australian actors David Burke, and later on Edward Hardwicke (in the follow-up to this series "The Return Of Sherlock Holmes", also with Jeremy Brett) hold their own as the experienced everyman versions that are really Arthur Conan Doyle himself.

Highly recommended.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Superlative series!

10/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
21 October 2009

The Return of Sherlock Holmes is an absolutely superb series; I would say flawless. Everything is so good, I really can't bring myself to criticise it in any way. As for the episodes, they are all superbly adapted, and all of them are of exceptional quality. Can't really decide on a firm favourite, but a definitive standout is The Devil's Foot.

The production values in this series are wonderful. The remarkably fine camera work, perfectly captures the always splendid scenery and lovingly designed(if not too fancy) costumes. The music is brilliant, the theme tune is both beautiful and haunting, and the accompanying incidental music never fails to be richly scored. The scripts never fail to bring sophistication and class to the series.

What is really worth of note is the quality of the acting. Jeremy Brett, no matter how good Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing and Ian Richardson were, is by far the definitive interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, whom along with Morse and Poirot is one of the greatest fictional detectives ever, and it is all to Arthur Conan Doyle's credit. Brett had a gritty baritone to his voice, towering presence in front of the camera work and a certain generosity about him, that made him unsurpassed as the best Holmes. Edward Hardwicke gives an intelligent performance as Dr Watson, and there are memorable supporting turns by other great actors.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes does benefit in general by the faithfulness to the source materials. Yes, I know they toned down Holmes's cocaine addiction, but with everything else as good as they are, I am always obliged to overlook. A truly superb series, with one of the easiest 10/10s I have made recently. Bethany Cox

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant!

10/10
Author: diligentdrool_14 from India
17 March 2008

There is no other word to describe Holmes - Watson Duo other than BRILLIANT!!! Jeremy Brett---The best Holmes ever! Just Scintillating as the greatest, most loved and congenial detective of all time. David Burke---Great Watson! Brilliant acting , brilliant picturisation. I just love watching the Sherlock Holmes series The Way Brett plays Holmes is amazing! That spark in his eyes, that sheer Drama in his presentation! He plays Holmes to the T! His way of delivering those Sherlockian Punch lines is just out of the world! Burke ably supports Brett as the beloved Sidekick Watson. Entertaining and gripping to the Core. No one matches the Great Holmes Watson Duo!

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