Silk Stockings [1957]

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking is an excellent Sherlockian pastiche, i.e., part of a genre of original works featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most beloved character, but taking various liberties Doyle most likely would not have embraced. Rupert Everett gives a wholly original performance as Holmes--not an easy thing to do in the shadow of Jeremy Brett's definitive portrayal on Britain's Granada Television in the 1980s. Both Everett and the story capture Holmes during his most dissolute period, hooked on opiates, refusing to eat, and more often than not without the company of his friend, Dr. Watson (Ian Hart, essaying the character a second time), who had left Baker Street to pursue a private practice and marry his second wife. This is Holmes deep in the career crisis eventually resolved by his duel with Moriarty in Doyle's canon, but in The Case of the Silk Stocking the Great Detective is vexed by a murderer preying upon the daughters of London aristocrats. Elements of the killer's sexual fetishism make this a particularly grim tale that the discreet Watson would most certainly not have chronicled. The dark but imaginative tale is lightened a bit by the presence of Watson's fiancee (Helen McCrory), an American psychiatrist as aghast as she is impressed by Holmes' lack of emotional attachment to his work. --Tom Keogh

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