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Sherlock Holmes

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Ben Moreton

on 2 September 2013

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Transcript of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes - Ben Moreton
In all of the adaptations Holmes is a common link. His character is known for:
Vast intelligence
Observing crucial yet tiny details
Eccentricity
Social ignorance
Addicted to a variety of drugs including hallucinogenics
Employed as a private investigator
Reasonable fighter
Plays violin


Sherlock Holmes
Analysing the relationship between the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the film and television adaptions of Sherlock Holmes .
Analysing Adaptations
In most of the adaptations of the story the setting remains consistent. It's set in London , England around the end of the 19th century.
Holmes and Watson live together at 221B Baker street, they call upon Mrs Hudson and work as private investigators. These are but some of the consistent themes.
Setting
There are more similarities in the stories than merely the characters. These vary in evidence but they're still crucial in shaping the relationship between the original text and the adaptations.
Other Similarities
All of the different adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes stories have similarities to the original stories. These similarities are fundamental to the overall story. All of the variations of the Sherlock Holmes stories share some key characters and characteristics within them.
Similarities Throughout Texts - Characters
Throughout all the variations Dr. Watson is a common thread. His character is crucial to the story and his characteristics create continuity across the adaptations.
He is known as:
A Doctor
Ex military
Sensible - Stable
Best and arguably only friend of Holmes
Smart
Neat
Dr. Watson
Moriarty is the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes. When Irene Adler describes him to Holmes she states, "he is just as brilliant as you and infinitely more devious". Moriarty's character varies more than the others but he is consistently portrayed as Homes' greatest enemy and challenge.
Professor James Moriarty
The original Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle around the end of the 19th century. They were written in the form of short stories. These stories are the central point to see the relationship and comparison with the adaptations.
Original Text - Short stories
One adaptation of the story I will be analysing is the 2009 movie Sherlock Holmes (directed by Guy Ritchie).
This is the only movie that has been made though there are multiple TV series.
Adaptation 1 - 2009 movie Sherlock Holmes
The second adaption I have chosen is the TV show 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' that was broadcasted during 1984 - 1986.
This is the older of two TV series that i will be analysing
Adaptation 2 - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The third adaptation I have chosen is the 2010 TV Series Sherlock (directed by Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat).
This is the newest version out of all the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Adaption 3 - Sherlock
Across the variety of texts there are characters that reappear and have similar roles and charactersitics. These include:
Inspector Lastrade
Irene Adler
Mrs Hudson
Mycroft Holmes
Sergeant Sally Donovan
Molly Hooper

General Characters
The overall structure and concept of the Sherlock Holmes stories is consistent throughout the adaptations and original. It's designed to be a mystery - commonly murder - which has complications and in the end is solved by Holmes' ability to notice details.
Structure
All of the stories regardless of their other details have one key similarity. They're all created with the purpose to entertain an audience.
This is an important feature as it strongly characterises the execution of all adaptations.
Goals - Entertainment
Though there are many character related similarities across the adaptations, there are also large amounts of contrast and inconsistencies.
As the story is displayed in new ways, the characters and their roles are varied to suit the required need.
Contrast - Characters
In the original short stories the character of Sherlock is quite different. He is far less eccentric than he is portrayed in the adaptations and tends to be of a more respectful caliber.
Though it could not be proved, his age varies across the different texts.
His relationship with watson is also inconsistent across the adaptations.
Sherlock Holmes
Dr. Watson in the original short stories appears to be quite without personality. In the short stories studied he is a single, stable man with few pleasures who earnestly assists Holmes with his cases.
When compared to the 2009 film where Watson is engaged, has a gambling addiction and is quite content with his life without the thrill of Holmes' adventures, we can see a large variation within this character.
The age of Watson also varies substantially across the texts
Dr. Watson
In the original stories, the character Moriarty is described as being the genius nemesis that Holmes must defeat. Moriarty is still stable and sane, merely evil. In the TV series Sherlock, Moriarty is quite different. He is still the evil nemesis, however he is also insane. In the end of the first season he even kills himself to get at Holmes.
Again, the age of this character varies.
Professor James Moriarty
Though the basic role of the main characters are the same in the adaptions, there are large inconsistencies in the specifics of the characters.
In the 2009 movie, Irene Adler is an assassin and thief , however in the short stories she is more of a genius con man.
The intelligence and capabilities of Lestrade also vary across the different texts.
General Characters
When comparing the original short stories and adaptations there are substantial differences in specifics as well as the overall shape and story. Though some aspects are kept the same - as seen earlier - there are still huge inconsistencies across the texts.
Other Contrasts
The cleanliness and society of London is a sign of contrast across the adaptations. The older stories and TV series are quite clean and welcoming while the newer movie is darker and more superstitious. The series Sherlock is completely different to all the others as it is set in modern times.
Setting
Though all the texts have a similar structure, the depth and specifics of the plot vary substantially. The original short stories have a thin plot and tend to be small issues relative to individuals. The 2009 movie on the other hand is a deep, complicated, interwoven plot with new villains (Blackwood) and the outcome is of significant importance. The stories, other than the characters, are nothing alike.
Structure
Whilst the goal of all the adaptions is to entertain the audience, they still had different approaches which cause contrast. The audience for the short stories were for the educated men of the 1900's, the audience for the newer adaptions are for men and women of all education. In order to gain the larger audience, the largest aspect that changed was that the stories were represented though films instead of books.
Goal - Entertainment
The short stories were written as small novels while the three adaptations were created as films. This creates substantial linguistic contrast amongst all of the texts.
The audience has also changed so the language has been varied to suit them.
Linguistic Contrast
In the original stories, they're narrated by Watson. They're written as if he is writing down his adventures in a diary or letter.
In the Movie the story isn't as narrated as in the books, but when it is, it's by Holmes.
In both TV series' there is no narrator.
View - Narrator
Imagery is used within all the different texts, however how prominent it is varies.
In the short stories it is vague both due to the reduced length of the story and the difficulty of suggesting concepts without being obvious.
In the films imagery is more obvious and can be quickly and subtly displayed.
Imagery
Symbolism is used substantially in the original short stories. In the story 'A case of Identity', Doyle subtly raises an important question. A man does a wicked thing and cannot be punished because he hasn't broken the law. Doyle subconsciously questions as to if a society needs more than just laws, but if it actually needs morals.
This depth of writing isn't seen in the films.
Symbolism
While the language is always complex to display Holmes'intelligence, the style between the stories and adaptations does vary. In the short stories the dialogue is typically polite and old fashioned, that of the time era. In the newest TV series Sherlock, the language is modern and the dialogue is blunt.
Style - Era
The style of writing amongst all the texts is comparable, and when possible, repetitious.
Doyle uses a variety of techniques to portray different qualities amongst his characters and they're copied in the films when possible.
Linguistic Similarities
Quotes and conversations are often taken from the original stories and repeated throughout the adaptations to create likeness between the different texts. The following quotes are found both in the original stories and the films:
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".
"You know my methods, Watson".
"Elementary my dear Watson!"



Quotes
Unlike some of Doyle's other writing, the short stories and adaptations are all written in chronological order. The short stories are written from Watson's perspective, so they're past tense, but he keeps them in order.
In the Films, they're not past tense, but they're still chronological order.
Linear writing
Doyle loves describing particular emotions, people or events in great depth. Often within a story he will break into a long, excited explanation of how beautiful a woman is or how excited the characters are to create intrigue.
"Seldom have I seen so graceful a figure, so womanly a presence, and so beautiful a face."
"We had sprung to our feet in amazement at this ponderous piece of wreckage, which told us of some sudden and fatal storm far out on the ocean of life"
When placed on a screen it's harder to see but is evident in two key aspects, dialogue and the close up cameras that show the characters explicit expressions.
Graphic - Detailed
The unique, graphic and eccentric writing style that Doyle employes is a challenge for any producer to embrace. One of the most effective methods is to use creative shots when Doyle would use his entourage of adjectives. This is effectively seen when Blackwood falls to his death at the end of the Movie. The camera zooms out and shows a slow, dreary view of his limp body. It's pictured just how Doyle would have wirtten it.
Combining the Camera and the Pages
The adaptations of the original short stories do have many similarities, especially the similarity in the characters. However there are also countless variations that vary. The adaptations are more like siblings to the original stories. Full of similar characteristics, but still unique within themselves.
Conclusion of Relationship between texts
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