A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Sherlock Holmes, Dylan Pflug & The Story Of The Dancing Men
Monday, December 04, 2006

I look forward to the day that I can watch Beau Geste (with Gary Cooper) at home with Rebecca. At 9 she may not be ready for the complex plot of this film that I saw at about that age in Buenos Aires. The scene with all the dead legionaires propped up behind the parapets to defend Fort Zinderneuf left me with a shock of memory I will never forget.

So for our Saturday evening home viewing with Rebecca I chose Barry Levinson's 1985 Young Sherlock Holmes better named in Britain as Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear. With its Lucas Films special effects it was a perfect film for Rebecca who was rivited to the screen throughout. Even Rebecca noted that the film had similarities between the characters, setting, events and tone of Young Sherlock Holmes, and those of the Harry Potter series. Perhaps it can be explained that the first two Harry Potter films were directed by Chris Columbus who wrote the screenplay for Young Sherlock Holmes.

The film "explains" several peculiarities of Conan Doyle's grown up Sherlock.

1. Holmes has started learning to play the violin during the opening scenes (frustrated he has not mastered the instrument after 3 days of practice)

2. The scar on his cheek is acquired during a fencing match with the fencing teacher and villain Rathe.

3. His deerstalker cap, belonging to his mentor Waxflatter, is given to him after Waxflatter's death.

4. His pipe is originally bought by Watson to allow them to question an antique shop dealer; in the conclusion, Watson presents it to Holmes as a parting gift.
His jacket originally belonged to Rathe, and is also his first trophy.

And of course the death of Elizabeth (the film's fetching young heroine) at the end of the film tries to explain Sherlock Holmes's ambivalent relationship with women.

Yesterday I thought more about Sherlock Holmes and remembered dancer Daylan Pflug. I had photographed her in 2000 for the Straight. She had an odd tattoo on her ankles. They were primitive stick men.

At the time I connected her stick men with the stick men of the Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of the Dancing Men.


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Daniel Rutley - Clinical Psychotherapist

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Jocelyn, Jocelyn & Joselina

Young, Sexy & Well Heeled


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