the-private-life-of-sherlock-holmes

Holmes is framed in the open window, watching the carriage. Watson comes up behind him.

[…]

HOLMES: “Quiet. I’m trying to read a personal message.”

WATSON: “A message?”

The carriage is moving away from the hotel. Ilse/Gabrielle has her parasol over her shoulder, and it opens and closes, opens and closes. She continues to signal with the parasol, unnoticed by Mycroft [who is with her in the carriage].

Watson is straining forward to see out the window.

WATSON: “What is she saying?”

HOLMES (slowly): “Auf Wiedersehn.”

[…]

HOLMES (holding up envelope): “H'mmm. A letter from the Diogenes Club.”

[…] He has slit open the envelope. Watson watches him curiously as he reads the letter, but Holmes’ face remains expressionless. Slowly he puts down the letter, rises, crosses to the window, stands there staring out into the wintry street.

Letter: “ Dear Sherlock, my sources in Tokyo inform me that Ilse/Gabrielle von Hoffmanstal was arrested last week by the Japanese counter-intelligence service for spying on naval installations in Yokohama harbour. After a secret trial, she was summarily executed by a firing squad. It might interest you to know that she had been living in Japan these past few months under the name of Mrs. Ashdown [name she used when she pretended to be married to Holmes while investigating]. Sincerely, Mycroft.”

[…]

WATSON: “Holmes – I’m terribly sorry about this.”

HOLMES (quietly, without turning): “Where is it, Watson?”

WATSON (after a beat): “In the files. May to July, 1885.”

Holmes turns to the bookshelves above the desk. From a row of similar volumes, he slides out the three files marked MAY, JUNE, and JULY 1885. Actually, it’s the medical bag, standing on end, with the spines of three volumes pasted on the bottom.

He sets the bag down on the desk, opens it, takes out a bottle of cocaine. Watson watches him with compassion as he crosses to his bedroom with his cocaine, goes in, shuts the door.

[…] From Holmes’ bedroom comes the sound of a melancholy tune being played on the violin. […] The violin music continues, infinitely romantic, infinitely sad. 

(All quotes are from the original “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” script)

—————————————————————————————————

I’m really, really glad Mofftiss decided against such an ending in “A Scandal in Belgravia”.

"Dr. Watson is the handsome one"

Martin Freeman admitted in the London Apple store interview that he was really surprised to see the scene in the final cut because he only did the whistling (and pointing?) to make Benedict Cumberbatch laugh.

And that’s why I’ve got this nebulous feeling that they acutally erased a line. The original script might have looked something like this:

TESSA: Which one of you is Sherlock Holmes?

SHERLOCK: Dr. Watson is the handsome one… so I’m Sherlock Homes.

This would have been a perfect reference to a line in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes:

GABRIELLE: Which of you is Mr. Holmes and which is Dr. Watson?

HOLMES: Dr. Watson is the handsome one.

Rethink this. In the Rizla game Sherlock is unable to deduce that he has written his own name at his forehead. And when Tessa asks “Which one of you is Sherlock Holmes?” Sherlock concludes “John (Dr. Watson) is the handsome one” (or “John is the pretty lady”…) “so I must be Sherlock Holmes”. He would have answered Tessas (and John’s!) question and finished the game at the same time.

That this is only a head canon makes me kind of sad.

youtube

“The Many Faces Of Sherlock Holmes” (1985), presented by Christopher Lee

This is such a feast. If you not have watched it yet, do it. It not only gives you an overview of the many adaptations (movies, TV production, audio play and stage) but although proves again how much time changes: here, they celebrate Ruthbone/Bruce- production as the best ACD adaptation.

Includes scences from “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”, “The Seven-Percent-Solution”, “Young Sherlock Holmes”, and, of course, the Ruthbone/Bruce- movies. Especially, if you happen to be a fan of modern adaptations such as “BBC SHERLOCK”, “NEW RUSSIAN HOLMES” or, to some extent, “ELEMENTARY”, you can find many many references.

“The obsession, particularly online, with the homoerotic tension between Sherlock and Doctor Watson… The template for us was the Billy Wilder film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, which deliberately plays with the idea that Holmes might be gay. We’ve done the same thing, deliberately played with it although it’s absolutely clearly not the case. He’s only a brain, ‘everything else is transport’ to him and John clearly says, “I’m not gay, we’re not together” but the joke is that everyone assumes that in the 21st century that these two blokes living together are a couple– what they wouldn’t’ have assumed in the 19th century. They’d have assumed they were bachelor best friends and now they assume they’re lovers. That’s obviously such fun to play with and the fact that people now assume, in a very positive way, that they’re together is a different joke to it being a negative connotation.”  Mark Gatiss in The Gay Times, February 2012

Hmm, I’m actually not so sure about that. Because I never got this joke (and no, that’s not a generation thing. I’m round about the same age as the show creators). Honestly, to me, two blokes sharing a flat in central London in the 21st century are just two blokes sharing a flat because it’s fucking expensive. I’d never assume anything else.

Even if one of the man was depicted as obviously gay (Girlfriend? Nor really my area. - Boyfriend? I know it’s fine.) - I wouldn’t assume any kind of romatic interest between them. I can’t see a joke there either.

But when their flat sharing gets laden with innuendo? For example, their landlady asking them if they share a bedroom. Another acquaintance taking them for being on a date. Those two blokes gazing at each other as if they were about to eat each other alive. One of the man killing for the other, who, in return, protects him from being prosecuted… Well, then I’d start to assume something’s going on - because it is shown to me and hammered home.

Only, I can’t see a joke there either…

So, what Gatiss described in the above interview wasn’t what happened. They were not just showing us two blokes living together. Because then no one in the 21st century would think of them as a couple. Moffat and Gatiss had to actively insert innuendo for their viewers to catch up on their ‘joke’ in the first place. They encouraged this on many levels: text, acting choices, casting, costume, music, lighting, cinematography.

They actively implemented homoerotic (sub)text in their show - only to lament at the same time that people cought up on it? That some viewers expected something to come out of it. Because, in the 21st century, no one thought it possible that it could just be a lame joke! Because there just is no joke to it.

The viewers took the positive attitude Gatiis desrcibes a step further and expected positive representation from the writers after playing with the inherent homoeroticism of the original stories. The fandom was far more advanced than the show runners, it seems.

And why play with the  homoeroticism it in the first place? I really can’t see where the fun might be in there, apart from cracking some cheap gay jokes that feed an outdated no-homo attitude?

What is there to play with when it’s not an issue anymore? And if it’s still an issue, I’m not sure that making fun of it ist the appropriate approach to it.

Deciphering Mycroft at the Movies

We already have the recurring imagery of projectors to hint at the theme of ‘doctored’ footage.  (See Remind you of anything? A facade? (Please let the projector light be our smoking gun)

And now, right after the opening credits of The Final Problem, we see Mycroft watching a film noir. Well, alright, he has to have some hobbies. Except, it’s not just a film noir, it’s a film noir that’s COMPLETELY MADE UP BY MARK AND STEVEN:

This is a massive Red Flag, meta within meta. To me, this scene is Mark as a writer watching a ‘film’ of his own creation play out…

^To begin with, he’s in his element, really enjoying the film. And what’s it about? Well, there’s two people, and they’re talking by using criminal language like “arresting” and “pressing charges”, but it’s clear it’s still a romance. #TRMOJAS <3 

There’s an even a nice dig with Mycroft/Mark mouthing along to the line of Adam and Eve, the representation of the “”sacred union”” of “”man and wife”” being “the beginning of all human misery.”

So, our film continues, and it’s obvious that the couple are looking forward to “searching each other thoroughly.” They’re just about to get the hell on with it, when the tape is replaced by the Holmes’ childhood/creepy I’M BACK video.

Guess who doesn’t look happy about that:

The entire tape burns, we don’t get to see the ending of the film:

It’s a Nightmare!

So opens Mycroft’s ‘Horror Movie’ moment. Except, the real horror movie is already happening: the love story of both the film noir and John and Sherlock has been interrupted. See @thegamesafucky‘s post on The Final Problem as one big interruption.

Viewing Mark as Mycroft here, I wonder if this could also be his horror at The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes losing its most key, revealing romantic scenes? 

The audience is not meant to like it at all. Even those who weren’t aware they were watching a love story are aware that’s something’s up, something’s crashed and burned. Give us back the real tape, the real show! they’ll demand, and then soon they’ll release that the ‘real tape’ was a romance all along. 

The movie will continue on and get its happy ending. We just need our ‘lights up’ moment, where the truth is revealed:

The deleted drugs scene from TPLOSH: Holmes takes drugs because he's bored, and Watson fakes a case for him to investigate...
  • Watson: Damn you, Holmes. I hoped this would keep you occupied till Christmas.
  • Holmes: Nice try, Watson. Rather primitive - but with some amusing detail.
  • Watson: (bitterly) Thank you.
  • Holmes: You had me fooled for almost ten minutes.
  • Watson: I guess I'm not very bright.
  • Holmes: No, but you're most endearing. No one could ask for a better friend.
  • Watson: Friend, indeed. The only reason you moved in with me is to have a steady supply of stimulants.
  • Holmes: Now, now Watson - you mustn't underestimate your many other charms.
  • Watson: Holmes, I warn you. If you lock yourself in your bedroom again-
  • Holmes: I intend to do nothing of the sort. Not until you replace this needle. It is getting rather blunt.
  • Watson: Mrs Hudson, I want you to pack my bags. I'm moving out.
  • Mrs. Hudson: Moving out?
  • Holmes: I'm just as surprised as you are.
  • Watson: You heard me, Mrs. Hudson. And let's not waste any time.
  • Holmes: May I be so bold as to ask where you're going?
  • Watson: I don't know yet. But I intend to resume my practice. I am, after all, a doctor. And a quite competent one, if I say so as shouldn't.
  • Holmes: You'll find it very dull - snipping out tonsils and flushing out kidneys-
  • Watson: I will, of course, continue to pay half of the rent until you find someone to share these rooms with you.
  • Holmes: Where am I going to find anyone who will put up with my rather eccentric habits?
  • Watson: (taking a needle and 3 bottles of narcotics out of his bag): Here's a fresh needle - and here's my farewell present to you. If you want to destroy yourself, go right ahead. But I won't sit by and watch you doing it.
  • (Watson goes into his bedroom, where Mrs. Hudson is packing.)
  • Mrs. Hudson: It's so sad. You and Mr. Holmes after all these years - I know how it feels - I once went through a divorce myself-
  • Watson: Actually, I'm rather looking forward to it. Leading a normal life again. Regular office hours - nine to three - and if occasionally there's an emergency call in the middle of the night, I know it's going to be appendicitis and not an ax murder. Let Holmes go mucking about in the fog and the sleet, looking for a bloodstained collar-button out on the moors, with some demented hound snapping at his behind-
  • (From the living room comes the sound of a pistol shot. Watson and Mrs Hudson burst into the room. Holmes has shot two of the three narcotics bottles on the mantlepiece.)
  • Mrs. Hudson: Mr. Holmes! How many times have I told you I will not tolerate pistol practice on the premises?
  • Holmes: Please, Mrs. Hudson. You're in my line of fire.
  • (Mrs. Hudson moves. Holmes shoots the third bottle.)
  • Mrs. Hudson: Look at that mess you've made-
  • Watson: (gently) It's all right, Mrs. Hudson. I'll clean it up - while you unpack my things.
  • Mrs. Hudson: Unpack?
  • Holmes: You heard him.
  • Watson: Thank you, Holmes. I know how difficult it must've been for you-
  • Holmes: Not really. It was a simple choice between a bad habit and a good companion.
  • Watson: You've made me very happy.
  • Holmes: I've often been accused of being cold and unemotional. I admit to it. And yet, in my own cold, unemotional way, I'm very fond of you, Watson.
  • Watson: I know that. But one likes to hear these things occasionally. For a while there, I was worried that you were going to let me walk out - that you weren't even going to stop me.
  • Holmes: Now, Watson - you know there's nothing I wouldn't do to keep you here.
  • (Holmes sneakily closes his violin case - where the three real bottles of narcotics are.)
I think the influence of TPLoSH has more to do with Mycroft and Sherlock's relationship

I don’t have the exact quotes they said, and I may be mashing together two different panels in which they said a combination of this, but one of the questions led to them talking about Mycroft and how he was thin instead of stout and how they had an in-universe explanation, and the conversation turned to them taking about how the late, great Christopher Lee was also not a stout Mycroft and there was no explanation offered for that in the film, and it was all fine. (Versus how there is an explanation in our show why Mycroft is currently thin.) They talked about how much they loved TPLoSH, and how it influenced them, but they were talking about how the relationship between Mycroft and Sherlock was what really influenced them in how they handled and gave major importance to their relationship in the show.

As someone who adores how they made Mycroft and Sherlock’s relationship a focal point of the show, this makes a lot more sense now especially how they always mention TPLoSH.