I remember the first time I’d watched Brett’s episodes of Sherlock Holmes. I loved these stories but had noticed a steady decline in them. When I’d started The Three Gables, I could see Brett’s health had begun to deteriorate and it impacts his performance. He’s still top notch but there’s something about this that feels like it never amounts to what it should. Having said that, it could be the direction. There are a lot of odd shots; some work and some don’t. A particularly good one has Holmes and Peter Wyngarde’s Langdale Pike where they are observing a woman on the lawn. Their image is reflected so that we see them superimposed over the woman and her dog. On the other hand, another scene of Holmes talking to the chief antagonist, Isadora Klein, was so badly superimposed that my wife asked if it was a flaw with the film. I think if that has to be asked, it proves not to be very effective.
I did feel there was an air of The Prisoner about this episode but I think that had to do with how much is done on a village green with revelers and a brass band playing in the background. Some of the dialogue also felt very village-esque as well. Alas, that could not save this episode.
When Douglas Maberley is forcibly ejected from the home of the “lovely” Isadora Klein, he is beaten badly. He retreats to his grandmother’s home where he works fiendishly to finish a book before he dies. Meanwhile an offer is made to purchase his grandmother’s house for whatever price she wants with a stipulation that she can take nothing from it. When Holmes goes to see grandma, he learns that Douglas died of a ruptured spleen. To compound the issues so far, while Watson is asked to keep watch at grandma’s house, she is robbed of the manuscript for the book and Watson is beaten severely. But a page of the book remains and gives Holmes the final piece of the puzzle: the beating Douglas took is the reason for his death and Holmes intends to pursue the perpetrators.
See under: Love… or lack thereof! Isadora Klein loved Maberley (“in my way”), until she didn’t. When that happened, she had him thrown from her house because she fell in love with another, much younger man. She knows the document was damning though and wanted it destroyed.
Not unlike the Naval Treaty where one page makes a huge difference, the one page retained talks about the kick that ended the life of Douglas, revealing the savagery with which he was treated. Holmes uses that to his advantage, but knows that there’s no way to prove the crime. The beating was given some time before Douglas died, so Holmes uses that to manipulate Klein to pay an exorbitant sum so that Grandma Maberley could travel the world; something she always wanted to do.
“He’s broken our window!” Perhaps in keeping with a weak script, we first see Holmes at the hands of a figher preparing to pitch him from the second floor window of Baker St. After the ruffian leaves, Holmes begins to eat an apple before realizing that the window he is looking out is missing its glass. He tossed the apple cavalierly into the street. Somehow it doesn’t seem right that the Great Detective missed such an obvious fact.
I do enjoy the Easter Eggs, and there is a reference to last season’s Charles Augustus Milverton, but the villainess in this story is hardly comparable. However, Watson does caution Holmes, who is again dismissive of women, that the “female can be more deadly than the male.”
Tedious. I disliked nearly every character and that included the victim. I take little joy in watching anyone, man or woman, get so caught up in “love” that they can’t let go. That’s not the cynics view that it probably appears, but if ones spouse has them brutalized, it’s probably time to let them go. Groveling isn’t going to endear the person to anyone. When he realizes Klein doesn’t love him any more, move on to other pastures. Instead, he sits in an outdoor room come rain or shine, writing his memoir rather than getting treatment for his injury. So the victim is an idiot. The villain is supposed to be a “celebrated beauty” but they found an actress who was more matronly than I think the part called for. On top of that, she’s so dismissive of people, it’s easy to find her a weak character, and she hasn’t the courtesy of even being clever. And watching Holmes sleep while Watson is beaten didn’t make me love our heroes that much either!
The only characters I enjoyed were the grandmother and Peter Wyngarde’s character but in the case of the latter, I think it had more to do with the relationship between him and #6… I mean Sherlock. If he was credited as #2, I would not have been surprised. But since he wasn’t, I just left feeling very bummed about the loss in quality to start a season. I expect better of you, Holmes. Maybe next time. For now, be seeing you… ML
It’s been well-documented that Conan Doyle grew tired of Sherlock Holmes, he felt his other works were much better & more significant, and he only kept writing Sherlock Holmes stories because of the public’s insatiable demand for them.
“The Adventure of the Three Gables” was published in 1926. Reading the story, it really comes across as Conan Doyle absolutely phoning it in. I would not be at all surprised if this was a story he just cranked out to pay the bills. This is a million miles away from the classic Holmes stories he had penned 30 years earlier.
In contrast I actually found “The Three Gables” a decent-enough episode that was certainly lifted up by the presence of Peter Wyngarde. I feel the show did as good a job as possible adapting what was, truthfully, a subpar story by Arthur Conan Doyle.
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I didn’t know that before that Conan Doyle eventually got tired of Sherlock Holmes. Rather sad to learn. But I suppose it’s understandable given how the longevity of something, even your own creation, may take its toll on you. This is probably why all the obscure and short-lived forms of fiction may often be easier for most creators, as I was just reading about this morning. I might not remember all of Brett’s Sherlock Holmes episodes well enough. But I did lose interest at some point. So it’s good to know what was worth missing. Thanks, Ben. Thanks, ML.
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I agree with that and am thoroughly aware of poor Conan Doyle’s delusion. Thinking his other works better than Holmes…. Laughable really. Not that his other works were terrible (I enjoyed his lost world and the character of professor challenger) but they were weaker by far. It’s a shame he didn’t invest more in Sherlock as the years went on. Even the weak ones are still better than a lot of drivel on the Telly today! ML
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