The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Copper Beeches
Michael Cox for Granada Television/ITV
directed by Paul Annett
starring Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Joss Ackland, Natasha Richardson, Lottie Ward, Patience Collier, Angela Browne, Peter Jonfield, Michael Loney, Rachel Ambler, Stuart Shimberg
screenplay by Bill Craig, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Patrick Gowers
Sherlock Holmes, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
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Gouverness Violet Hunter (Natasha Richardson) gets a great and greatly
paid job at Mr Rucastle's (Joss Ackland) country estate ... but only under
the condition that she cuts her hair - which she deems off enough to call
on Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) and Dr Watson (David Burke) for advice.
Not much advice Holmes can give though as she has already accepted the
job, but Rucastle's weird conditions pique his interest, and thus he asks
her to telegraph him once things get weird ... which they do a mere week
later, when Violet tells him that Rucastle has used her as a sort-of bait
for a stranger (Michael Loney) - which of course she wasn't meant to
notice -, and there is a wing shut off to her in the manor which seems
more tha a little odd.
Well, it's not hard to guess the rest, Rucastle's
daughter (Rachel Ambler) is locked in the shut off wing, the stranger
wanting to intrude is her fiancé, whom Rucastle doesn't approve of, which
is why he has locked his daughter away (otherwise the inheritance of his
first wife would fall into her hands instead of into his). Ultimately,
Holmes and Watson arrive just when the "stranger" wants to free
Rucastle's daughter, and for whatever reason, Rucastle locks Holmes,
Watson and Violet away to I don't know what before he releases the hound -
on himself. Watson can shoot the hound though and nurse Rucastle back to
health or at least a confession. For some reason, he faces no further
consequences for imprisoning his daughter for his own sake though ...
have to admit, a really bad episode of Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,
and supposedly first and foremost due to a very bad source material: Not
only does the story give away its solution way too soon (with the premise
- the cut off hair - actually), it also handles the whole situation in a
very impersonal way. now some of the story might actually have made sense
in Victorian England, but little holds true in the 1980's. And the fact
that the episode is a bit too literal in approach and lacks tension and
suspense does not help at all here. Well, at least Jeremy Brett gives a
good performance, and Joss Ackland is really creepy (maybe too creepy to
not give away everything), while the other actors have to fight against
the blandness of their roles (yes, even David Burke).
Well, to sum
everything up, an utter disappointment (and I know Sherlock Holmes-purists
will hate me for this comment, but so what, I think my point is
well-argumented, let me hear their arguments).