Episode 64: The Lost William Gillette Film
The lost William Gillette film: the stuff of legend for over a hundred years, it was found at the bottom of a box labeled “Sherlock Holmes” by an archivist at Cinematheque Francaise, “one of the holy grails of lost films” preserved in a nitrate duplicate negative. The Sherlockian world exploded with the news: as universally known in his day for playing Sherlock Holmes as Cumberbatch is currently, Gillette’s image with the iconic pipe and deerstalker was used for countless advertisements, was recognized across the world, and was used as the model for Frederick Dorr Steele’s illustrations of new Sherlock Holmes stories in Collier’s magazine. Sir Arthur “I Hate Sherlock Holmes” Conan Doyle was a fan, people.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a fan.
After debuting on Holmes’s birthday in Paris, the film premiered at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in California, USA! Babes Ashley and Lyndsay were in attendance, and–along with newly inaugurated Honorable Babe Timothy Greer–they discuss their reactions to the film with a blow-by-blow breakdown of its epic awesomeness, and what it felt like to be in a theatre full of Sherlockians for the inaugural American viewing.
WARNING: THIS PODCAST IS NOT SPOILER-FREE. If you would like to experience the Gillette film in all its pristine glory when it is released on DVD/Blu-Ray for all the world to see! then you might want to tuck this episode away for later listening. If not, enjoy our chat about Holmes’s long, slender, agile, slender, slim hands; learn what we mean by “a Larabee cigar”; hear all about Gillette’s lovely interactions with a stellar Watson; and much more!
“An omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles” [LION],Timothy Greer teaches Detective Fiction, Shakespeare, and other subjects at Memphis University School in Memphis, TN, where he is a member of the scion The Giant Rats of Sumatra. Areas of special interest are Holmes’s inspirations and legacies, books in Baker Street, and Sherlockian theatre and film. He received the Morley-Montgomery Award for the article “Murger in Baker Street,” which appeared in the Autumn 2014 edition of The Baker Street Journal, to which publication he heartily encourages you to subscribe.
Music: “Hammock Fight” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Thanks to Matthew Bentman for his assistance in editing this!