Sunday, October 6, 2019

With a Glow of Admiration I Watched Holmes [CHAS]

Today was one of those glorious days where I didn't have to leave my house.  I slept in, had a couple cups of coffee, finished a book, started another, watched the Cardinals game, etc., etc.

But there were plenty of chores to be done as well.  Cleaning up from my daughter's birthday party yesterday, laundry, taking care of the dogs.  And my most Sherlockian chore of all: ironing my dress shirts.

A quick search of the Canon for the word "iron" will give you dozens of responses.  Iron constitutions, iron boxes, iron safes, iron rings, and even iron grips.  But nothing specifically about ironing shirts.  But to me, ironing my dress shirts will always be a Sherlock Holmes time.  Because that's when I watch Jeremy Brett.

I typically iron my shirts about once a month, getting in an episode or two each time.  So I'm slowly working my way through the Granada series.  I know there are a limited number of episodes and that they go downhill in the later years, so I won't let myself burn through them too quickly.  Granada, to me, is like a vintage wine.  It's a limited resource and you can only enjoy your first sip one time.

Today's episode was Silver Blaze.  What a delightful way to spend an afternoon.  One thing I really love about this series is the additions to Watson's role that we get.  So many of Holmes's lines are tossed Watson's way to make him more of the series.  In Silver Blaze, Watson gets to ask all of the questions of the maid and stable-boy, and we get to see him explaining some of the events to Colonel Ross at the end.  Granada's Watson, whether it's David Burke or Edward Hardwicke, is a competent addition to Holmes's agency.  And the interplay between Brett and his two Watsons is such a joy to watch!

Every time I dip back into these episodes, the rest of my day is just a little bit better.  You can tell that the people who put this show together were fans of the Canon.  In Silver Blaze, Holmes and Watson are moving across the moor tracking the lost horse, and the score is so lively and perfectly fit for their movements.

I've posted about my love of Sherlockian podcasts before, but since that post another one has come to be something I love: The Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes Podcast.  This monthly show is an in-depth look at each episode of the beloved Granada series starting with Scandal in Bohemia and working their way through episode by episode.  Host Gus gives the typical show recap, but mixed in with that is always a nice biography of one of the people associated with the show's production.  Of course you're going to get background information on the actors, but who knew that the composers and directors would be so interesting?

But my favorite part of The Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes Podcast is the second part, when Gus is joined by his brother Luke and they discuss the episode much like a scion society would discuss a canonical story.  The listener gets some great banter about the show, chronology, and scholarship, but as both of these guys work in the film industry, some really interesting information on the production values of the shows are mixed in as well.  Listening to this podcast has made me appreciate the Granada episodes that much more.  Of course I love watching Brett be brilliant, but now I also appreciate specific shots and musical cues as well.

So, treat yourself sometime soon to a revisit to Jeremy Brett and checking out The Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes Podcast.  Small joys like these can make even mundane tasks like ironing your dress shirts pleasant.

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