Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Without a Clue


The beloved character of Sherlock Holmes has passed into the public domain, so he’s now fair game for anyone who wants to do a pastiche. This can produce good stuff, as in They Might Be Giants, where George C. Scott is a delusional man who thinks he’s Sherlock, and Joanne Woodward is Dr. Watson, his psychiatrist. (Oddly enough, this is out of print and very expensive on DVD.) Or there’s The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, which puts forth the amusing proposition that Moriarty is actually an inoffensive maths teacher victimized by Sherlock’s drug-induced paranoia. Watson takes the great detective to Vienna to be psychoanalyzed by Sigmund Freud! These efforts can be disasters, too, as in Young Sherlock Holmes, which takes the intriguing idea of Holmes and Watson as young boys at school, and turns it into Goonies of London. This time the premise is that Sherlock (Michael Caine) is just an actor fronting for the real brains of the operation, Dr. Watson (Ben Kingsley). It’s not a disaster, but it doesn’t really work. Could have been good, but wasn’t. Holmes was a drunken idiot and Watson an egotistical fool. Didn’t like either of them. Maybe it would have worked better if we’d just seen the machinations needed to carry off such an imposture, instead of having the plot revolve around Watson’s need to be recognized as the brains. The dude simply has no understanding of showmanship, which is almost as big an asset to Holmes as deduction.