Sherlock Holmes on Screen

Howard Ostrom

Secrets of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” to be presented by Channel One in Russia.
“The premiere of the documentary ‘Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson Forever Together’ will take place on Channel One on July 26, 2021. It is dedicated to the famous Soviet television movie, which was first released on screens on March 22, 1980.
The director of the film, Igor Maslennikov, will tell you how the cast was selected, why he saw Sherlock in Livanov, and how Solomin became Watson. Professor Moriarty was supposed to be played by Innokenty Smoktunovsky, but the stuntman Viktor Evgrafov literally “stole” the role from the great actor – his image of the villain seemed more convincing to Maslennikov.
The mascot of the series was Rina Zelenaya, although her candidacy hardly managed to “push through” the commission of the Central Television, which was embarrassed by the age of the actress. Rina Vasilievna began acting in the film at the age of 77 and for the next eight years of filming she gave odds to everyone on the set. Instead of the reckless, reckless Sir Henry Baskerville performed by Nikita Mikhalkov, viewers could see a completely different character: Nikolai Gubenko was planned for this role, but he refused. The wife of the film operator Yuri Veksler, Svetlana Kryuchkova, then starred in Nikita Mikhalkov’s “Rodna”. The married couple invited Maslennikov to try Mikhalkov for the role of Sir Henry. And, as it turned out, not in vain!
It was extremely difficult to shoot real English nature without leaving for shooting in England. Therefore, the director’s group spent a lot of time thinking about where the shooting would take place in the USSR. Only the Thames Race was successfully combined by the director with the miraculously obtained video of real London. As for the rest, Holmes’ apartment was filmed in Riga, swamps – near Tallinn, many street scenes – in Leningrad. And the scene of the battle between Holmes and Moriarty is at a waterfall in Abkhazia, near Lake Ritsa. Cameraman Anatoly Lapshov will tell how, on the day of shooting Holmes’ fight with Moriarty, it rained in the mountains, and the small waterfall turned into a terrible raging stream.
The most important “role” in the film was played by props. Antiques for the painting were collected all over St. Petersburg – old candlesticks and trays, pipes, mirrors and jugs … No props, all things in the series are genuine, antique. Taken together, everything turned out so that even the English expert – well-known in the UK conductor Jan Latham-Koenig admits that the Russian props turned out to be more luxurious. Holmes’ real apartment looked much more modest. The audience will be shown the preserved props from the filming and will be invited to visit the literary Holmes’ home on Baker Street in London. The film crew also suffered with the animals on the set. Igor Maslennikov will tell about how the snake was forced to crawl along the cord, and how they tried to smear the dog with phosphorus.
In 2006, Queen Elizabeth signed a decree awarding Vasily Livanov the Order of the British Empire for the best classic screen image of Sherlock Holmes. Vasily Livanov will personally demonstrate this decree to the audience.
The film features Sergei Zhigunov (host), Igor Maslennikov (director), Vasily Livanov (Sherlock Holmes), Nikita Mikhalkov (Sir Henry Baskerville), Alexander Adabashyan (Barrymore), Victor Evgrafov (Professor Moriarty), Boris Klyuev (Mycroft Holmes), Georgy Martirosyan (King of Bohemia, Treasures of Agra series), Irina Kupchenko (Beryl Stapleton, Dog of the Baskervilles series), Anatoly Lapshov (cameraman), Arkady Tigai (second director), Vladimir Dashkevich (composer).”
A google translation from:

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