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Sherlock Holmes

Description: It is an inestimable loss to pop-culture history that the first American feature-length film based on Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is no longer in existence. Particularly frustrating is the fact that 1916's Sherlock Holmes was a literal adaptation of William Gillette's famous stage play, with Gillette himself in the leading role. Departing somewhat from the Doyle "canon," the film (like the play) ends with Holmes marrying heroine Alice Faulkner (here inexplicably rechristened Mary Faulkner) after rescuing her from a complicated conspiracy to rob her of important diplomatic papers. Undoubtedly the highlight of the film was Holmes' confrontation with arch-villain Professor Moriarty (Ernest Maupin), a sequence that never fails to induce loud and sustained applause when presented on stage. Produced by Essanay, Sherlock Holmes was remade by Goldwyn in 1922, with John Barrymore as the Great Detective; fortunately, the Barrymore version has been preserved more or less intact, thanks to the diligence of movie historian Kevin Brownlow. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


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