Sherlock Holmes - One but not the same?: How does the latest movie from 2009 depict Arthur Conan Doyle’s original detective? A comparison.

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GRIN Verlag, Jan 14, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 29 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2011 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Bonn (Institut für Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Keltologie (IAAK)), language: English, abstract: “Intriguing and memorable as some of the nineteenth-century detectives were, there is only one great detective” (Knight 2010: 55). When reading these few words everyone who is more or even less familiar with literature should know who these lines are dedicated to. The detective in question is of course Sherlock Holmes. This detective, who was brought to life by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1886 (cf Weller 1992: 11), has defined nineteenth-century crime fiction in a remarkable way. This present paper is dedicated to this great figure of detection. It is important to note, though, that Sherlock Holmes will not solely be dealt with as a literary figure but also as a movie character that has been embodied by several actors in over a hundred movies. This huge number of adaptations is a proof for the various interpretations one can apply when working with Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. The most important and famous movies will be briefly discussed in section 1.3.Some of the screenplays relate very closely to Doyle’s stories and some show only marginal similarities to the literary original. However, this paper is mostly concerned with the latest film adaptation from the year 2009, titled Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Ritchie. This paper deals with the way the great detective is depicted in this modern movie. In what way did director Guy Ritchie take the stories from the nineteenth century as a guideline when creating his very own Sherlock Holmes embodied by Robert Downey Jr.? How much of the original great detective can be found in the film adaptation from 2009? These are the questions this papers aims at clarifying. Firstly, Sherlock Holmes is to be introduced by describing his role in the literary world in general and the significance he has had for British crime fiction in particular. Following this introduction, three exemplary Sherlock Holmes stories will be presented, among them of course the adventure in which Holmes first occurred, namely “A Study in Scarlet” (cf Weller 1992: 11) After a short discussion of these three stories, and an outline as to how Sherlock Holmes is presented in these written works, the paper is turning its focus on the medium of film. The main focus lies on the comparison between the movie of 2009 and the stories by Doyle.

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