April 14, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
With his new book, “Peter Cushing: A Life in Film,” out on Tuesdsay, author David Miller charts in detail the rich and varied career of the distinguished English actor, who perhaps remains best known to American movie fans for his roles opposite Christopher Lee in the many horror movies produced by Hammer Films in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and of course, for his turn as Grand Moff Tarkin in “Star Wars.” Miller’s account not only spends considerable time on the Hammer productions, but also chronicles Cushing’s early years in Hollywood, his work on BBC teleplays, including an adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984,” and other memorable performances — he played the famous Time Lord in “Doctor Who and the Daleks” and “Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.,” not to mention Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic investigator, Sherlock Holmes. Hero Complex recently caught […]
Oct. 04, 2012 | 1:25 p.m.
GUEST ESSAY Five years ago, I pitched a brilliant idea to an editor I know: a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Instead of shooting cocaine, he smokes pot! Instead of being a violin virtuoso, he plays the sax! Instead of Watson publishing his stories about Holmes … well, wherever he supposedly published them, he’d have a blog! And, instead of being a wounded army doctor just back from Afghanistan, he’d be a wounded army doctor just back from … whoa! Afghanistan! We could call the book “Sherlock.com” so folks would know this wasn’t your grandpa’s Sherlock Holmes. (Good titles are hard, people. Just ask the guy who came up with “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.”) The editor’s response (after rousing himself from what looked like a very satisfying nap): “Sherlock Holmes is played out. Have you thought about Robin Hood?” PHOTOS: […]
May 09, 2012 | 6:36 a.m.
If the title character of television’s “Sherlock” ever went looking for Hollywood’s Holmes, it would be the quickest case in the history of scenery-chewing sleuths. That’s because Benedict Cumberbatch — who plays a modern-day version of fiction’s greatest detective on the British import now airing Sundays on PBS’ “Masterpiece Mystery!” — lives in a vintage Venice wood-frame house that sits less than two blocks from the sleek offices of Robert Downey Jr., the American movie star who keeps it Victorian on the big screen. “It’s just right over there,” Cumberbatch said with a nod of his chin as he sat at his dining-room table. “I should go throw eggs or do something. I’ve never met him. I think he got a few [press] questions and then after a few more he was like ‘Who is this kid Cumberbatch?’ “ You […]
Jan. 06, 2012 | 9:48 a.m.
It’s a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes — you might call it “The Doltish Doctor of Baker Street” — and the scene of the crime was in Hollywood the day before April Fools’ Day 1939. That’s when 20th Century Fox released “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the first of 14 films starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson, that daring duo from Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed books. Doyle has deeply devoted fans across the globe and through generations, and the eager ones who went to see “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in theaters back in ’39 were surely shocked when they realized there was something very different about this new Watson: The man was a complete idiot. Doyle readers since 1887 had known John Watson as a bright, handsome man of the world, a battlefield surgeon and former rugby […]
Dec. 17, 2011 | 10:30 p.m.
British actor Jared Harris has made a career of disappearing chameleon-like into his roles — the pop art icon Andy Warhol in “I Shot Andy Warhol,” the rough-and-tumble sailor Capt. Mike in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and the fastidious bean counter Lane Pryce in the AMC television series “Mad Men.” For his latest performance, Professor James Moriarty in the new film “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” he brings the arch-villain out from behind the curtain and into the spotlight. Harris takes center stage as Moriarty to duel the megawatt duo of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, who reprise their roles as the world’s most famous detective — re-imagined as a streetwise but still inordinately perceptive brawler — and his capable sidekick, Dr. Watson, in Guy Ritchie’s new sequel to his 2009 blockbuster. A fan of the […]
Jan. 13, 2011 | 5:45 p.m.
On a frigid November morning, as steam rises from train engines burning fiery coal in a century-old rail depot, Sherlock Holmes is in trouble. Blood on the side of his face, he’s fleeing the staccato rat-tat-tat of 19th century gunfire. Fortunately, his loyal friend Dr. Watson is at his side, as is a rifle-toting gypsy. Outside the depot, Watson and Holmes fumble with their guns to get a bead on their assailants, but the gypsy woman, Sim, beats them to it. She confidently cocks her rifle. Boom! A man falls dead. On beat, Watson and Holmes look at each other with surprise. The sequence, unfolding on the grounds of the train museum in Didcot, 40 minutes by rail from London’s Paddington Station, is from the as-yet-untitled sequel to director Guy Ritchie’s 2009 “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sir […]
Dec. 13, 2010 | 2:03 p.m.
Sarah Weinman recently reviewed “The Sherlockian” for the Los Angeles Times. Here’s an excerpt. It’s far too easy to stereotype an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s storied and much-beloved detective. After all, the pipe-smoking deductive genius, since his birth in the pages of Strand magazine in 1887, has inspired many admirers to emulate his speech patterns and style of dress. Attend the annual meeting of the Baker Street Irregulars and the demographic will likely skew toward those with more gray than any other color in their hair. Doing so, however, neglects some facts that surprise at first, and seem obvious in hindsight: Sherlockians start on their journey toward admiration of the detective and his sidekick Watson at an early age, and much of the best literature that reimagines Holmes in new adventures has been written by authors […]
Oct. 23, 2010 | 6:53 a.m.
Robert Lloyd considers the elementary appeal of ”Sherlock”… Sherlock Holmes — you all know that guy. (And if you don’t, I would very much like to speak with you; your strange case interests me.) Like Santa Claus or Peter Pan or Hamlet, he is among those — spoiler alert! — fictional characters who stand for a whole class of behavior and purpose and who shape the very way we think about thinking. We greet his periodic returns to the screen with excitement, but also with trepidation: As a man out of copyright, he is subject to all sorts of remaking and remodeling and speculation upon his closeted character. (I don’t mean sexually closeted, but there’s speculation on that account too.) He has been used, and he has been abused. Holmes is the Hero as Pathology, and even before Steven Moffat […]
Oct. 10, 2010 | 10:38 a.m.
It’s the 10 o’clock hour on 10-10-2010, and across the Los Angeles Times, we’re creating top 10 lists. Here at the Hero Complex, we are using the occasion to celebrate sidekicks — those trusty pop-culture pals who forever trail in the shadow of alpha figures but often win the hearts of fans. It was a tough list to assemble, and there were plenty of near-misses. Strong cases could be made for Tinker Bell, Boo-Boo, George Costanza, Dyna Girl, Danno, Renfield, Art Garfunkel and Al Gore — we’re sorry, but really at this point they must be accustomed to the also-ran role. So let’s get on with our companion countdown, in which we nod to a loyal pal, smile and say, “He’s with me.” 10. Mini-Me: The minions of Dr. Evil wanted to keep the criminal mastermind on track with his plans for global domination, and […]
April 26, 2010 | 6:00 p.m.
Is Hollywood out of its depth with this mad race toward 3-D? The bandwagon is rolling fast and there appears to be no handbrake; the “Sherlock Holmes” sequel may be among the next passengers, according to an exclusive report by Steven Zeitchik at 24 Frames, our sister blog. Here’s an excerpt: With M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” and Michel Gondry’s “The Green Hornet” each now getting a type of conversion treatment — and seemingly every other upcoming film engaged in a 3-D discussion of some kind — the English detectives may not be far behind. The sequel to the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey/Jude Law holiday hit “Holmes” — which continues to tear it up on DVD — is moving closer to the development finish line. And as it does, the conversations about shooting it in 3-D are heating up. We caught […]