The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Twentieth Century Approaches (Igor Maslennikov, 1986)

Eclipse LogoIgor Maslennikov concludes his Sherlock Holmes cycle with his most ambitious adaptation, weaving together no less than four of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales into an epic film of spies and secrets.  Set against the backdrop of increasing tensions between European nations, The Twentieth Century Approaches sees Holmes and Watson return from apparent retirement to investigate foreign counterfeiters, track down diplomatic papers and submarine plans, and thwart German agents working on British soil.  Maslennikov contrasts Holmes’s highly personal and methodical approach to his investigations against the accelerating and arousing technological advances of mass media to produce an insightful and reflexive view of a changing era.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Eclipse is a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable editions.  Each series is a brief cinematheque retrospective for the adventurous home viewer.

Eclipse LogoProduced by Soviet Central Television between 1979 and 1986 at Lenfilm studios, Igor Maslennikov’s adaptations of the tales of Sherlock Holmes are considered national treasures still watched regularly in Russia.  These 5 films, made up of 11 episodes, are generally hailed as the most faithful versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and count among the best portrayals of his iconic characters.  Weaving multiple works into each film, Maslennikov emphasizes the friendship, humor, and camaraderie shared between Holmes and assistant Dr. John Watson, played respectively by Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin.  Expertly crafted, lovingly reverential, darkly suspenseful, and endearingly playful, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is anything but elementary.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

After some initial discomfort as joint tenants of 221B Baker Street, Holmes and Watson work together to save a young heiress from a murder plot and are invited to assist in tracking down a mysterious killer.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

In the only three episode film of the series, Holmes and Watson find themselves acting as criminals to defeat a blackmailer, Holmes risks mortal danger resisting the machinations of master criminal Professor James Moriarty, and Watson is identified as a suspect when a young gambler is shot dead within a locked room.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Hound of the Baskervilles

When a spectral hound returns to terrorize the Dartmoor countryside and threatens the safety of Sir Henry Baskerville, the sleuths take up the case and search for a rational explanation for the otherworldly creature.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Treasures of Agra

A young woman seeks Holmes’s assistance in finding her long missing father and embroils the detectives in a case of murder, lost treasure, and old grudges, all while stirring up memories and emotions for the fairer sex.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Twentieth Century Approaches

Holmes and Watson are brought out of retirement to investigate a series of minor cases that reveal a plot that threatens the tenuous peace of the entire continent.

With notes on the films by Louise McReynolds and a 1981 interview with Igor Maslennikov for Avrora magazine.

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