the oh-no! DVD of the week: ‘The Search for Sherlock Holmes’

The search for who? Oh no: do we have to remind people yet again that Sherlock Holmes was never a real person, that he was a fictional invention of a writer of crime stories? There is no searching to be done. There isn’t even any searching to be done into the author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, because he’s got no great secrets, either. I’m pretty sure that everything there is know about both Holmes and Conan Doyle has been known for decades, if not a century.

So what the heck could this be about?

He is the most portrayed film character of all time, with more than 70 actors having played the part in over 200 movies. In this documentary, actor and director David Hayman (Trial & Retribution, Hope and Glory) becomes a sleuth himself to conduct a fascinating personal investigation into the enduring appeal and real-life inspiration behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Visiting many of the places that influenced Conan Doyle’s work, David also meets writers, historians and celebrity fans of the Great Detective, who include actor Stephen Fry (Kingdom) and author Lynda La Plante (Prime Suspect).

Hurmph. I’ll tell ya what this is about: it’s about riding the coattails of the BBC’s new Sherlock, which just began airing on PBS here in the U.S., just as its debut on British TV last December was to ride the coattails of the theatrical release of Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr.

Pretty elementary.

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