JON REES asks whether Rupert Everett’s performance in The Case of the Silk Stocking should be considered one of the greatest of all Sherlock Holmes
Ask people who their favourite on screen portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is, and you can expect a few stock answers.
Rathbone or Brett are still the favourites. Cumberbatch might be uttered by the under 30 crowd.
But would anyone say Rupert Everett? I certainly would.
Everett played the Great Detective in the BBC’s Christmas 2004 broadcast of the original story “The Case of the Silk Stocking”.
In his mid 40 at the time, Everett was the perfect age to play an Edwardian Holmes and he even resembled the physical descriptions provided by Doyle. He brought the right level of arrogance, sense of justice and manic behaviour to the role and all the classic elements are there.
London is portrayed in a way rarely seen in the Holmes films and television iterations. It is not a romantic city, but a dank and dark pit of pollution and squalor. This bleak vision of the city suits the subject matter as this was not a whimsical tale nor a rip roaring adventure, but a sordid story of sexually motivated serial murder.
Holmes is put outside his comfort zone by dealing with the hypocrisy of the class system – a killer targeting girls does not prevent what he describes as the “free market” of daughters being married to titled husbands and parents seem more concerned with appearances and impressing the King than the murder of their child. And no one (except Watson) cares about the murder of a young girl until it is revealed she is the daughter of a titled family and not a common street prostitute as initially assumed – and meets his match in the form of Watson’s future wife, an American psychiatrist who strips away all his preconceptions of women as she tells him with relish about the various fetishes described in Psychopathia Sexualis.
The supporting cast also contains such fine acting talent as Ian Hart (playing Watson for the second occasion), Neil Dudgeon as a fine Lestrade, Eleanor David, Jonathan Hyde, Helen McCroy and a then little known actor called Michael Fassbender.
In short – this is a dark Holmes story but the detective himself I feel is perhaps the closest to Doyle’s character (in both looks and manner) than the other actors who have played him.

Jon Rees
Leave a replyComments (2)
  1. Laurie McClain 4 November 2018 at 12:29 am

    I just watched this last night and thought Rupert was amazing. I’m not young, but Cumberbatch was my favorite before now. I think I’m on the Everett train, now.

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