Sherlock Holmes (1916)


Sherlock Holmes. Essanay Studios 1916.
Sherlock Holmes. Essanay Studios 1916.

Before Watching The Movie

Not very long after I started this blog, I realized that I was reviewing so many Sherlock Holmes films that they would probably qualify for their own genre category. It seems like I’ve covered more than is tagged there, but it’s still a healthy sampling.

My fondness for Sherlock Holmes stories far predates Yesterday’s Movies, so I find myself running out of eligible and desirable films to review. The list of adaptations seems endless, but once I apply my criteria for a review selection, they’re just about dried up. As well, I have no intention of leaving recent and future films to age into eligibility before watching them, so I’ve decided to give Sherlock a retirement sendoff with a themed month of some of the most notable films.

It is only right, then, to begin with the silent film adaptation of the very first official adaptation of Doyle’s work. William Gillette was given an attempted stageplay by Doyle and tasked with rewriting it into something serviceable, and also starred as Holmes. Holmes’s iconic deerstalker hat, calabash pipe, and “Elementary, dear Watson” all came from Gillette. This is a historic piece of Sherlockiana.

Bonus mini-review: Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900) – In his first-ever film appearance, the world’s greatest detective is no match for camera magic.

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The Birth of a Nation

May is Non-Alliterative Silver Screen Classic Movie Month!

The Birth of a Nation. David W. Griffith Corp. 1915.

Before watching the movie:

This is the oldest movie you’ll ever see on Yesterday’s Movies, because it’s more or less the oldest movie. I know there are earlier motion picture narratives, but this is historically important for reasons I shouldn’t need to rehash here.

It’s odd that I was never shown this in any film classes, but the reason is probably the length and debatably the racial issues. These are also reasons I’ve been holding onto this until creating this special event. Because it’s not a party until somebody burns a cross, I guess?

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