Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about Sherlock Holmes are iconic, and many films and TV shows have been based off the detective. You're probably already aware of some of the adaptations, whether or not said adaptations are derived from specific stories by Doyle or just from the character in general. The newest movie about Sherlock Holmes comes from director Bill Condon — and this time, it's Mr. Holmes to you. The film features a subtly deteriorating Sherlock, played by the amazing Sir Ian McKellan, and it has the character coming out of retirement to re-examine an unresolved case from decades prior. It's a departure from the representation of the youthful Holmes that most of us are used to seeing, but the narrative about the case is consistent with the formula for many of Conan Doyle's Holmes tales. So you might be wondering: is Mr. Holmes based on a real Sherlock Holmes story?
Technically, the answer is no — the film is not derived from anything written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But Mr Holmes is a direct adaptation of a novel by a different author: A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin. The book, published in 2005, was lauded for how it humanized Holmes, allowing readers to see the more emotional side of the character. If you're not familiar with much about the detective other than his hat and pipe, you might want to check out a few other adaptations prior to Mr. Holmes so you can compare the characterizations. Here are a few I'd recommend:
1. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
This was the first of a series of films made by 20th Century Fox featuring Basil Rathbone. It was a huge success and is regarded by many to be the highest-quality Sherlock Holmes adaptation made.
2. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
This adaptation starred Robert Downey, Jr as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson (which is a huge departure from traditional representations of Holmes' doctor sidekick, but I'm in no way complaining). The movie led to a sequel called Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in 2011, and Downey, Jr. has confirmed that a third film is in development.
3. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
If you have never watched this movie, you did not have a childhood. Sorry, that was harsh. But seriously, this is one of the most charming Disney films ever made and features some incredibly catchy songs and lovable characters. Stories are just cuter when they're told by small animals.
There have been literally hundreds of other Holmes adaptations, so it's up to you to pick the ones you want to revisit before checking out Mr. Holmes. Even if you're not a fan of Sherlock stories in general, the unique representation of an aging, vulnerable Holmes makes this new movie definitely worth seeing. Besides, try and tell me that you're NOT excited to see Sir Ian McKellan in this role. Just try.
Impossible, right? Mr. Holmes couldn't have picked a better choice for the legendary detective.
Images: Miramax/Roadside Attractions; 20th Century Fox; Walt Disney Studios; Giphy (2)