A Study in Sherlock examines the evolution of Sherlock Holmes in terms of on screen portrayals. The film follows Holmes from his earliest on screen appearance (i.e. “Sherlock Holmes is Baffled”) through his many incarnations (Wontner, Rathbone, Brett, etc.) touching on what each actor brought to the role and how their interpretations shaped the future of Sherlock Holmes as popular culture.
Complete with interviews of known writers, Sherlockians, and Holmsian/Watsonian actors, A Study in Sherlock makes for delightful viewing. In fact, it should be mandatory viewing for every Sherlock Holmes film enthusiast.
The documentary examines SH films in the chronological order, touching on the obsession surrounding Sherlock Holmes, the frantic need to recreate/reinvent Sherlock Holmes, and endless fascinating surrounding Sherlock Holmes. A Study in Sherlock examines Holmes’ popularity outside of England, as well as the various trends seen throughout the era (the popularity of parody films during the 60s and 70s, for example).
Narrated by none of than Dr. Watson, A Study in Sherlock is perhaps most notable for its possession of rare footage. Series and films I have never even heard of were mentioned (including a Chinese version of Sherlock Holmes which showcases Holmes as an expert in violin-fu! –yes, the use of a violin as a deadly weapon). I consider myself a well informed Sherlockian, and yet, I took a lot away from this documentary. In addition to being extremely education, it was also quite enjoyable, the passion surrounding Sherlock Holmes coming through quite clearly. It is obvious, throughout this documentary, that I am not alone in my love of all things Sherlock.
To sum up: Fantastic. Five out of five pipes.