William Gillette's long-lost version of 'Sherlock Holmes' now on DVD and Blu-Ray

November 4, 2015

Holmesian Musings and Ripping Yarns



Holmesians have much to look forward to this month. The fourth season of 'Elementary' premieres on Nov. 5. The DVD of 'Mr Holmes,' which features Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock Holmes, will be released shortly. But an event that film preservationist Robert Byrne describes as a Holy Grail of sorts for Holmsians has already occured.

Flicker Alley released the restored 1916 silent version of 'Sherlock Holmes,' which was considered a lost film until a French film curator found it last year, on Nov. 3 as a DVD/Blu-Ray combo set. The film stars William Gillette, the Connecticut native whose take on Holmes helped established many tropes now associated with the character.

Byrne, who is president of he San Francisco Film Festival, provides an account of the restoration process while an essay by Russell Merritt on the film's history and restoration can be read here (part of the story involves the sinking of the Lusitania).

Gillette not only wrote the stage play that provided the basis for the film but starred as Holmes. His play is based on a handful of the stories and pits Holmes against proto-supervillain Professor Moriarty. More information on Gillette can be found here.

We look forward to posting more information on this film, including a review, in the near future.



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