The success of Sherlock Holmes is and has been remarkable for the entirety of the great detective's fictional career. He's survived success, the disdain of his creator who tried to kill him off, and even the often dreadful lampooning of lesser lights over the decades. The Sherlock Holmes franchise is as robust today as it ever has been I suspect due to such successful TV adaptations such as Sherlock and Elementary. Pastiches appear seemingly daily, too much to keep up with really save for the most ardent and dedicated Sherlockian. Sherlock Holmes is so sturdy that even the seeming disappearance of early films starring him which seemed lost for decades have in recent times been uncovered and cleaned up for our consumption.
|Holmes and Moriarty|
|Holmes and Watson|
|Our heroine and William Powell as a loyal butler|
|Barrymore as Holmes|
But having seen the 1922 Sherlock Holmes, I learned it was not only an adaptation of a stage production, but in fact a remake of sorts of an earlier film from 1916 also titled Sherlock Holmes. This one stars William Gillette, an actor who was most closely identified with the role on stage before film stole all that thunder. Gillette even was responsible for writing the play on which this movie and the later 1922 one are based. Seeing this one, I appreciate the 1922 production much more and see clearly that the producers of that movie were trying as they might to fix problems with the narrative.
|Gillette as Holmes|
|Another Holmes and another Moriarty|
|Holmes saves a damsel in distress|
As curiosities these are top notch. As Sherlock Holmes movies, the 1922 Barrymore is okay because his portrayal is pretty good, but the 1916 version is strictly off-beat and rather dull. To be brutally honest, take away the names of Holmes, Moriarty, and Watson, and the 1916 effort might not even be taken immediately for a Sherlock adventure.
Here is a link to the 1922 version.