05 January 2010

Out With the Original, in With the Screen Show?

Perhaps a worthwhile experiment: Take a child or teen-ager—or an adult, for that matter—to see Sherlock Holmes, the Downey/Law film currently playing in theatres. The next day, sit this person down in an easy chair with a copy of Doyle's published stories, and ask him/her to read . . . any of them. Within a minute or two, they likely will scowl up at you with, "What are you doin' to me? This is sheer boredom, torture! The movie last night—that was fun. This is stupid. What's this story about, anyway?"

I don't believe 1 in 10 will persevere beyond the first page.

Hollywood has made Sherlock Holmes fun entertainment for our 2010 society. (I gave it a "fun" (positive) review.) Question, though: Is it likely to engage a new generation in Doyle's classic writings?

I expect most of the 20th-Century big-screen, small-screen and radio dramatizations of Holmes stories and spin-offs did renew interest in the written canon. Here, viewers enthralled by the flick's superhero kung-fu characters and unceasing action may be in for a tremendous let-down if they take up the printed page.