The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia
Michael Cox for Granada Television/ITV
directed by Paul Annett
starring Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Gayle Hunnicutt, Wolf Kahler, Michael Carter, Max Faulkner, Tim Pearce, Rosalie Williams, Tessa Worsley, Will Tacey, Tom Watt, Paul Elsam, David Baukham, Edward York, John Graham-Davies, John Carr
screenplay by Alexander Baron, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Patrick Gowers
Sherlock Holmes, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett), Irene Adler
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Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) receives a visit from the Bohemian King
(Wolf Kahler), who is about to be married to some Princess or other - but
who has once had an affair with Irene Adler (Gayle Hunnicutt), who is not
only American but who doesn't have a drop of aristocratic blood in her
veins. Unfortunately though, she also has a compromising photograph of
herself with the King in her possession, and whatever the King has done to
retrieve it, he hasn't succeeded - and now he lives in permanent fear that
the woman he once has dropped because of hercommon roots will try to ruin
Holmes employs all sorts of her disguises to follow Irene Adler's
every step, witnesses her getting married to a lawyer (Michael Carter),
who might be involved with the affair, and finally tricks her into giving
away the hiding place of the photograph ... but Irene Adler has long seen
through Holmes's game, and when he finally arrives with the King to very
officially retrieve the photograph, she has already skipped the country
and only left a note for Holmes congratulating him on his almost-success.
photograph? Irene Adler, who has found happiness with her new husband, has
decided to destroy it and not bother the King anymore ...
plays Doctor Watson.
I am of two minds abouit this very first Sherlock
Holmes-episode starring Jeremy Brett: On one hand, he makes a very
good Sherlock Holmes, makes Holmes's cocaine- and morphine-addiction as
believable as his predilection for disguises, and hints of his
ruthlessness come to the fore as well. On a directorial level, the episode
might be old-fashioned and even a bit stagey, but somehow that fits the
What I didn't like about A Scandal in Bohemia though
was its story: Basically it's about a pompous man dropping his girlfriend
because of her heritage, and then comnplaining because she wants to pay
him back. Sure, there is an international scandal involved, but by heck,
this guy who calls himself King has been a womanizer and is now reluctant
to pick up the bill, so much so that he hires others to do his dirty work.
The problem with this is that because of this basic premise, the whole
thing is less than compelling, and part of me actually wanted Holmes to
fail and the King to be exposed.
Having said all that, I'm sure the
episode remains fairly close to Arthur Conan Doyle's source short story,
and it wouldn't have made proper sense not to have filmed it in the
course of the series, I just wouldn't have made it episode 1 and would
have put the focus differently ...